Discover the 15 Fears: An Exclusive with Rusty Quill and The Magnus Archives

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With incredible production, deeply chilling narratives, and a thrilling and captivated fan base, Rusty Quill and their podcast The Magnus Archives are definitely worth deep diving into, especially during this horror season.  

We’re thrilled to have Rusty Quill joining the platform as one of our newest affiliates and excited to have them take us through their latest designs, from their conception through their creation. Let’s take a deep dive with Rusty Quill themselves and learn more about their upcoming design drop:

Introduction

In celebration of Halloween this year, Rusty Quill, the premiere UK production company and podcast network, will launch with TeePublic an exclusive set of 15 designs inspired by their horror podcast The Magnus Archives, one of the most popular fiction podcasts in the world. 

The 15 pieces will drop simultaneously this Halloween and are interpretations of the “Fears”, known  for being the antagonistic forces supposedly ‘pulling the strings’ in the Magnus universe. This unique Rusty Quill collection is in collaboration with Maeltopia, a US media production company best  known for their award-winning horror novels and horror podcasts.

What is The Magnus Archives?

Magnus Archive Logo

Make your statement, face your fear.” 

The Magnus Archives is a weekly, horror fiction, anthology podcast examining what lurks in the  archives of the Magnus Institute, an organisation dedicated to researching the esoteric and the  weird. The series starts by joining new Head Archivist Jonathan Sims as he attempts to bring a seemingly neglected collection of supernatural statements up to date, converting them to audio and  supplementing them with follow-up work from his small but dedicated team. 

Individually, the statements are unsettling. Together, they begin to form a picture that is truly  horrifying as Jonathan and his team look into the depths of the archives, but something starts to  look back… 

The Magnus Archives is an audio drama podcast written and performed by Jonathan Sims and  produced by Rusty Quill. The show debuted back in March of 2016. The show is initially presented as a longform anthology podcast; however, a rich metaplot that will span 200 episodes begins to  emerge around the middle of Season 1, and definitely make The Magnus Archives a show that rewards relistens. Give it a listen here.

What are the 15 Fears?

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The Corruption

Little is known of the Fears, aka the Entities. One theory is that they form the various aspects of an amorphous force of fear that exists next to reality. They, if indeed ‘they’ are at all, are also referred to as ‘gods’ and ‘powers’ by those who follow or are followed by them. The influence of the Fears upon reality manifests as supernatural happenings, phenomena that can take various forms such as  people, animals, monsters, books or other objects and even places, all with the goal of evoking fear from all who encounter them. 

Each entity has a variety of names, though names derived from the research of architect Robert Smirke are generally the most commonly used: The Buried, The Corruption, The Dark, The Desolation, The End, The Eye, The Flesh, The Hunt, The Lonely, The Slaughter, The Spiral, The Stranger, The Vast, The Web - and, in theory, there exists a fifteenth fear known only as “The Extinction”. 

These classifications are much like colours. Near infinite fears that can be ‘conveniently’ grouped around a few key categories. Each entity can be separated to some degree, but the fears like shades and tertiary colours bleed and feed into one another around the edges. Within each entity are also different shades of the same hue. Fear of The Vast and The Lonely can be different experiences of  the same phenomena of being lost in a great and empty space and sometimes complimentary  experiences. The Vast and The Buried exist in opposition but it is possible to be buried under a vast  emptiness e.g. at the bottom of the ocean or the abyss of space. The comparison to colours also works to explain why some entities actively oppose one another, their colours ‘clash’ like red and  green existing as a spectrum. Or more simply put… 

“Like colours, but if colours hated me.” 

- Jonathan Sims, Head Archivist of The Magnus Institute, London, MAG 111

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The Stranger

Who is the Artist and who are Maeltopia?

“A New World of Horror” 

These 15 artworks were created by the talented Mark Anzalone, co-founder of Maeltopia, a  multimedia horror and dark fiction production company based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

Mark Anzalone, together with his brother Steven J. Anzalone and managing editor Walker Kornfeld, create dark fiction spanning several subgenres. The majority of their work takes place within the  literary world of Maeltopia though they are working on other productions, such as the podcast  October’s Children, which are separate standalone works. Highlights of their work include the  popular Maeltopia: A New World of Horror Fiction podcast which is currently surging past 25,000 downloads per month, and The Red Son by Mark Anzalone, an award-winning dark fantasy novel and  the first book of The Red Family trilogy. They continue to work on expanding these projects and new  podcasts alongside tabletop gaming, graphic novels and digital art based on the mythology of Maeltopia. Find even more about them here.

Design Inspiration

The artworks were created in a uniquely interesting way. Rusty Quill prepared an in-depth brief  some time back detailing what the entities should be and provided this information to Maeltopia as  more of an overview of what was required and what these entities meant to some people, than as a strict set of instructions and guidelines, leaving Mark and the Maeltopia team to interpret these  ideas with very high level of creative freedom.  

It was the view of Rusty Quill CEO Alexander J Newall and CMO Callum Dougherty that the Fears and  the Entities are very freeform and open to interpretation. It is also clear that one of the strengths of  Jonathan Sims’ work is the exploration and interpretation of fear as it relates to our everyday lives.  The Fears artwork project is to make a huge and abstract concept more physical through a very  personal relationship with fear whilst understanding further that the fears in The Magnus Archives are a lot of different things to a lot of different folks and fans. Furthermore, Rusty Quill wish to encourage the fears to be open to interpretation, so therefore there isn't going to be an official or  “correct” interpretation. With that criteria Rusty Quill needed to work with a talented and confident  artist to interpret the personal meaning of these 15 Fears to them as an artist and work around that.  

Take for example Mark Anzalone’s claustrophobic and original take on The Buried, a strict set of  guidelines never would have resulted in such a unique take that also fits so perfectly alongside the  rest of this complete set of 15 designs. In every sense to deliver these artworks in way that Rusty  Quill hopes will please their fans is to work on them as a full scale art project exploring fear, terror,  horror and paranoia, rather than necessarily commissioning a clear brief for a set of high-quality illustrations.

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The Buried

Conclusion

You can find all 15 designs in Rusty Quill's new TeePublic store from October 31st.