The punishment of Prometheus (he was chained to a rock and had his eternally-regenerating liver torn out by an eagle every day) has always been a popular topic for Western artists, and why not; it’s full of action poses and furious birds and gave everyone the chance to draw hands. A real win-win! And yet: Over time, folks got a little sloppy, and eventually, more often than not, Prometheus and the eagle looked like boyfriends on the cover of a supernatural-themed gay romance novel. Which is its own sort of greatness!
Here’s how things were supposed to look:
A terrifying, massive bird is actually wrenching physical pieces of liver out of Prometheus’ side. Gross!! Also Prometheus’ face is covered in claws and he’s clearly unhappy with the situation. He’s nude, yes, but in a heroic sense; he’s writhing around in fairly straightforward pain, and probably wishes he wasn’t getting his liver eaten. Theme: COMMUNICATED.
Mm: a little bit less the case here?
Definitely there’s some good torture happening in the background, and the look on Prometheus’ face is still “I wish this eagle were not ripping my flesh,” which seems historically accurate, but he’s also a little lither, a litte younger, a little more sexy reclining than strictly necessary. This is a slippery slope.
Which leads to:
I cannot sign off on this! The eagle’s claws are resting gently on Prometheus’ iliac furrows (I WILL NOT CALL THEM “CUM GUTTERS,” THAT IS TACKY), who is arching his back and leaning against his own hands in a way that suggests more of an erotically-induced attack of the vapors than any sort of organ loss. It could almost be the cover of a gay death metal album. Like, is the eagle trying to rip open some skin, or is he just whispering secrets into his abs??
“Maybe this will get better,” you say, because you don’t learn:
This is just “My Boyfriend’s Back”!!!! That is all this is! This is just, Oh, My Old Boyfriend, Who Was An Eagle By The Way, Is Dead, And My New Boyfriend, Who Is Even Sexier, Is Here To Role Play
Moving on to Some Day My Prince Will Come:
he is WAITING with LONGING and that eagle is SOARING up to meet him!! they will kiss somehow!!
And that, pals, is how we wind up with this:
This is NORMAL, DAD, if you can’t ACCEPT US then maybe you should just GET OUT, this is my BOYFRIEND and he’s an EAGLE and I like to get CHAINED UP and PASS OUT while he clambers all over me and if you can’t UNDERSTAND THAT then maybe you just don’t UNDERSTAND ME
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.