Skeleton Slime – The Nature of Charlie Immer’s Jellatinous World

Fine print: I am not affiliated in any way with Charlie Immer, the artist. I nearly stare into his amazing artwork and decipher my own stories. Imagine the following in the voice of David Attenborough or Stephen Fry, if you please.

I’d like to introduce you to my friend Charlie. Charlie’s a pink jellynoid from another realm, a world made almost entirely of various jelly substances. Charlie spends most of his time exploring his world and taking photographs of the various goings-on. It’s all pretty standard stuff for the jellynoids, but once he discovered that these scenes are an absolute novelty in our subdued 3-dimensional universe, he began to bring his photos across into what we call the “real world” for the enjoyment and education of all. It’s a very colorful cartoon world similar to ours but different in certain key respects. Let’s see if we can sort out some of the nature of this fascinating world.

"Swimmer" by Charlie Immer

Here’s Charlie going for a swim in a tendril foliage lake. Good form, Chuck! The sea here is a lighter-viscosity jelly substance, close to the density of some naturally-growing tendrils. Tendrils are like the plants of this world, but they have nervous systems and are fully conscious. How this works is mostly unknown, but it’s been theorized that they share a kind of diffused, shared mental computation, lacking a focused brain organ. Some of these tendrils that grow in the jelly-waters live in a partially-melted state, so in fact most of the lakes and oceans of this world are at least partially conscious, if fairly inexplicable to comprehend.

It's what's on the inside that countsHere’s Charlie on a particularly obese and sweltering day. See how his torso’s jelly-skin is see-through? That happens sometimes. You can really see what people are made of in this world – Charlie’s species can have trouble expressing emotions using facial features, so this sort of adaptive display helps communicate a great deal of information. These creatures’ outer shells are highly malleable and can take on a wide array of forms. Each one has to be ‘grown,’ much like a crab’s shell. Wow, look at how rich and full Charlie’s insides are! This is truly a grand jellyman, right at home on a brisk jog through the technicolor tendrils.

"Shape Fitter" by Charlie ImmerOh, here’s an expressive fellow! This one’s learned to modify his shell in a playful manner. It should be noted however, that he clearly does not have the rich insides that Charlie boasts. Don’t let the cheerful visage fool you – This one’s mostly an empty husk, and highly untrustworthy. Such a figure in Charlie’s world should be approached with a high degree of caution. What’s most likely happened here is that this is an old jellynoid who’s mostly dead, and is left without a skeleton but only a hardened shell and the vestige of a highly-demented brain. His husk, when it hardens, will make a great molding ground for other smaller jellyfolk to shape new heads and bodies.

"Scare Glow" by Charlie ImmerHere’s a cheerful bit of mischief! Charlie calls this photo “Scare Glow” – it’s a friend who’s currently in the process of forming a new jelly-shell. He’s managed to make his insides glow different colors (likely by ingesting certain jelly substances which occur in the wild), putting on quite a show for the tendrils in the foliage forest. You might think those are lightning bolts in the distance, but in fact they’re just regular old glowing, dangling stormcloud nerves.

"Splitting" by Charlie ImmerPeekaboo! Here’s what it looks like when a jellynoid decides to discard his current jellyshell. Shells can get overly stiff and inexpressive after a while. You don’t want to be a social outcast, do you? Well then you’d better discard your jellyshell when it starts getting stiff! Don’t worry, a new jelly membrane will begin to grow almost immediately. You can shape it however you want! The longer you wait to discard your jellyshell, the less this process hurts. It’s generally inadvisable and can be harmful to the identity and organs to discard a membraneous shell that hasn’t had time to form with a jellynoid’s “personality.” This appears to be a perfect time to discard – the nerves have no trouble separating from the husk, which separates very cleanly.

"Face Off" by Charlie Immer Uh oooh! This is a bit of brotherly teasing in an autumn meadow. “Look at me! I’m YOU! hahahaha!” Don’t let it disturb you too much. Although if the brother took off his face as well and then they switched faces, there would be some small risk of total identity shifting, but this is something that isn’t terribly out of the ordinary in this world, especially under the influence of the tendril meadows.

"Rainbow Drops" by Charlie Immer It’s a little-known fact that the creatures Gumby and Pokey are based on hail from the Jellynoid world. This is a rare shot of a Gumby-jelly taming a wild Pokey-jelly. Notice the rainbow rain. Most drops are delicious, but some are positively poisonous. Fuschia, for example, tastes like candy, whereas hot pink drops will actually turn your insides into candy, promptly making you food for certain species of tendril.

"Headrip" by Charlie ImmerOh, dear. Here’s a rather gruesome scene. This is the inverse of the Shape-Fitter husk from earlier. Here there is only the skeleton and a vestigial jellybrain, which takes a long time to fully die off. It’s unknown exactly how jellybrains work, but one theory says that the actual substance of the brain, when it eventually lowers in viscosity enough to melt fully will eventually grow into tendrils, and that all tendrils are the stuff of former jellynoid brains.

There aren’t too many of these skeleton “fixtures” but it should be noted that their almost total lack of any visible jelly whatsoever can be seen as an abomination to many jellypeople. This one, which has lost its lower torso completely, is permanently grown into the edge of the Western Tendril Woods near the coast, and has been nearly totally overtaken by tendrils. It mercilessly eats tiny jellybean people to feed the foliage tendrils which now constitute its innards. This is a peek at an interesting facet of the Jelly Kingdom – symbiotic ecosystems occuring around single intelligent (or formerly-intelligent) organisms – similar to ourselves and the bacteria in our digestive tract, but with far more diversity. We’ll focus more on these on a future blog entry. If you want to take a look through more of Charlie’s fascinating photographs, check out charlieimmer.com.

About Thom

So young, so angry.
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