More stuff in print

“Colossus Arise,” a DCC Adventure written by Harley Stroh has a drawing in it by me and has just hit the store shelves — this is a full page ‘front piece’ on page one; the black upper half is where the title, author’s name, etc., are superimposed in white text:

ink colossus arises frontispiece  sized 72i

Richard Ramirez

The other day I posted that Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker, had died and I mentioned that I had done a drawing of him but couldn’t find the scan. Well, I discovered that I had never finished the Ramirez drawing; I started it over a year ago, then set it aside and forgot about it.  This weekend I finished it:

rramirez portrait 6

I like the ‘rotten teeth’ border and think the likeness is pretty good — not sure about the pentagram on the forehead, though — might have to white that out.

Richard Ramirez is dead

Richard Ramirez, aka the “Night Stalker,” has died in San Quentin. I did some drawings of him a while back; I’ll have to find them and scan them for public consumption. Bet it’s hot as hell down there, eh Richie?


In the meanwhile, here are drawings of Albert Fish and Earle Leonard Nelson I did a while back:

  Albert Fish the CannibalEarle Leonard Nelson 10_2011 72dpi

Ramirez himself was an artist; here is a sample of one of his works:ramirez drawing

Jack Vance R.I.P.

cugelAll three people who read this blog probably already know that Jack Vance, author of The Dying Earth stories and so much more, died last month at the ripe old age of 96. If you are looking for the facts, the LA times can tell you what you need to know.

The first Vance book I remember reading was “The Gray Prince.” I remember finding the cultures Vance described as very interesting, and after I started reading the Dying Earth stories, I began to understand that Vance wasn’t just another science fiction/fantasy author; I think he was a social commentator in the style of Swift or Twain. In “The Gray Prince,” Vance presents us with fictional world in which numerous intelligent species claim to be the original inhabitants with a moral claim to primacy; by the end, we discover that nearly all of the sentient races of the world are the descendents of colonists who have been practicing generations of self deception and selective editing of their own history and the real ‘original inhabitants’ are the ‘morphotes,’ a race of bisexual savages that all the other species have previously agreed to collectively look down upon as utterly degenerate. Stories like Rhialto the Marvelous or the Cugel saga seem (at least to me) to have more in common with Twain’s “Roughing It” or Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” than the offerings from George R.R. Martin or other science fiction/fantasy genre authors. Maybe that’s why Vance isn’t as well known as most of his contemporaries; with it’s social satire elements, Vance’s work might have been too ‘highbrow’ for the science fiction and fantasy crowd who wanted pure escapist fiction, but, since it was also associated with the pulps genre fiction, it was too ‘lowbrow’ for the academic world. I don’t know if lacking the household name status of some of his near contemporaries irked Vance; to his credit, he didn’t seem to try to change his style or his content to pitch his fiction to a wider audience.

But I think Vance was, to a large extent, a satirist who happened to work in sci-fi/fantasy. Consider this humorous exchange from Vance’s “Cugel’s Saga:”

“The folk are peculiar in many ways,” said Erwig. “They preen themselves upon the gentility of their habits, yet they refuse to whitewash their hair, and they are slack in their religious observances. For instance, they make obeisance to Divine Wiulio with the right hand, not on the buttock, but on the abdomen, which we here consider a slipshod practice. What are your own views?”
“The rite should be conducted as you describe,” said Cugel. “No other method carries weight.”
Erwig refilled Cugel’s glass. “I consider this an important endorsement of our views!”

I also love Vance’s baroque prose and imagery. In any case, it’s been a while since I have read any Vance; now might be the perfect time to dig out some of his books and read them again.