Waaagh! This week on the Vintage RPG Podcast, we look at orcs. Particularly pig-faced orcs, but also monstrous humanoid orcs and mushroom people orcs. We also talk about Pig-Head from the Yla Eason’s Sun-Man toy line, the swine-things from House on the Borderland and door-shaped shields. It’s another odd-ball episode!

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We only scratched the surface here. Of particular further interest, Stu neglected to mention William Blake’s diabolical character Orc, who likely also influenced Tolkien in the creation of creatures that wholly embody conceptual evil. Also missing is the demon Orcus, who has interesting folkloric connection here, though we did cover that in a previous podcast episode.And while we discussed some of the ways orcs can be seen as perpetuating racial stereotypes, we totally neglected to talk about how some folks, particularly in queer communities, have reclaimed the orc. Grant Howitt’s Big Gay Orcs is a good example of, well, gay orcs. It’s right there in the title.

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6 thoughts on “Orcs

    1. Argh! I meant to mention this, but got so focused on trying to remember my Winkies theory I forgot. Excellent catch!

  1. I had a smile on my face this entire episode. Toys and Orcs are deeply my jam.
    I wanted to point out in regards to GiJoe that I believe a lot of the diversity and inclusivity came from having Larry Hama in charge of the character bios. As a kid I was so stoked that we had a character from Hawaii as Torpedo…arguably the coolest figure until the cobra scuba guy, but then Cobra kinda always has the cooler looking guys. Anyway, thanks again, great show!

    1. I mean, the bad guys are almost always cooler, its almost a universal truth! Good point about Hama — his comic work for GI Joe is super nuanced, but I never honestly thought about how it might have in turn influenced the toy line. I always assumed it was siloed off, but this make so much more sense!

  2. Pig-faced orcs come from ‘The House on the Borderlands’ – William Hope Hodgson’s 1908 novel.
    They’re not identified as such but pig-faced creatures attack the house.

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