Leather Cthulhu

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A couple of the projects I’ve been working on for the past few months have yet to be made public but this one from last September has finally shambled into the light of day. The Complete Cthulhu Mythos Tales is a collection of 23 weird tales by HP Lovecraft (some of which are his collaborations with other writers) published by Barnes & Noble in their leatherbound Collectible Editions series. Anyone who’s held one of these volumes will know that they deserve to be called tomes rather than mere books; they’re heavy and lavishly produced, with detailed designs embossed on the front and back boards in a variety of metallic inks.

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One of my drawings was used a few years ago inside the big B&N edition of Lovecraft’s collected fiction; more recently I also designed a cover for a B&N paperback edition of the Cthulhu Mythos tales but the brief on that occasion was for something quick using pre-existing artwork. Given that the Mythos stories are my favourites in Lovecraft’s oeuvre I would have preferred to have done something more elaborate so I was very pleased when asked last year to create a new design for this hardback edition. The design on the front panel presented some challenges as I didn’t want to have an isolated head with wings but I also didn’t want to reduce the Cthulhu figure to such an extent that detail would be compromised. (This type of embossed printing imposes a limit on the amount of detail you can put into the design.) The compromise was a frontal view of what I consider to be another Cthulhu Sphinx, after the more elaborate sculpted design in my adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu. I find myself wondering now how this creature might look from the side.

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The photos of the boards are courtesy of Betsy Beier at Barnes & Noble, and they show how much more effective the printed design is when you have the light reflecting on it. I’m now eagerly awaiting the arrival of a physical copy. The book will be out at the end of the month, and among the extra features there’s an introduction by Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi, my drawing of R’lyeh on the endpapers, and (if that wasn’t enough) a poster reproduction of my Cthulhu Rising picture.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
The Gods of HP Lovecraft
Lovecraftiana calendar
Providential
NecronomiCon Providence 2015
Yuggoth details
A Mountain Walked
Lovecraft’s Monsters unleashed
Lovecraft’s Monsters
JK Potter and HP Lovecraft
Cthulhu Labyrinth
Tentacles #4: Cthulhu in Poland
Cthulhu Calendar
S. Latitude 47°9, W. Longitude 126°43
Resurgam variations
De Profundis
H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction
Heavy Metal, October 1979: the Lovecraft special
Cthulhoid and Artflakes
Cthulhu for sale
Cthulhu God
Cthulhu under glass
CthulhuPress
The monstrous tome
Cubist Cthulhu

Weekend links 271

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Environment Transformer/Flyhead Helmet by Haus-Rucker-Co (1968). From Hippie Modernism at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

• From 2006: Weird Tales: The Strange Life of HP Lovecraft. Geoff Ward examines Lovecraft’s life and work for BBC Radio 3 with contributions from Neil Gaiman, ST Joshi, Kelly Link, China Miéville and Peter Straub. Meanwhile, Ned Beauman wonders whether Ford Madox Ford is “as scary as Lovecraft”.

• Alexei German’s years-in-the-making feature film, Hard to be a God (previously), receives a UK release this week. Paul Duane reports on an overwhelming viewing experience, while Nigel Andrews says it “may be the greatest film since the millennium began”.

• Mixes of the week: Adventures In Sound And Music, 30 July 2015, hosted by Joseph Stannard, and RCMIX9 by worriedaboutsatan.

As Nabokov insisted, “Literature is invention. Fiction is fiction. To call a story a true story is an insult to both art and truth.” The genre thrives because its deceptions are liberating. For Wood, the thrill of reading fiction is intimately connected with the awareness that fiction constitutes “an utterly free space, where anything might be thought, anything uttered.” The excitement comes when, as readers, we’re allowed to participate in this freedom and experience the fiction imaginatively, without being required to believe that it is true.

Joanna Scott on The Virtues of Difficult Fiction

• “Writing used to be a solitary profession. How did it become so interminably social?” asks Meghan Tifft.

• The original, real-life dystopian cityscape of Kowloon Walled City, and the artwork it inspired.

• The Long, Lonely Walk: Nick Ripatrazone on hallways in horror films.

New cover designs for the Essentials range from Penguin Books.

Lemi Ghariokwu: “How I designed Fela Kuti’s album covers”.

• “Do CDs sound better than vinyl?” asks Chris Kornelis.

• Magic Fly (1977) by Space | Human Fly (1978) by The Cramps | I Am The Fly (1978) by Wire

A Mountain Walked

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Art by David Ho.

This may be a frustrating post for some since it concerns a limited edition anthology that sold out almost as soon as it was announced a year or so ago. Even though the book was published last year it’s taken a few months for my copies to arrive. A Mountain Walked is a collection of Cthulhu Mythos stories compiled by leading Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi, and published in the US by Centipede Press. Anyone familiar with Centipede’s more luxurious volumes will know that they don’t do things by halves, and this weighty tome is no exception: a large-format hardback (the signed edition is also cased), with heavy paper stock, colour printing, tinted sheets and a bulk that runs to almost 700 pages.

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Art by David Ho.

Many of the stories are reprints but there’s also new material from contributors including Thomas Ligotti, Neil Gaiman, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Laird Barron, the late Michael Shea (to whom the book is dedicated), Patrick McGrath, TED Klein, Gemma Files, Ramsey Campbell and many others. The artwork also ranges widely; I’d not seen anything by David Ho before but he’s very good, hence the samples shown here. But there’s also a variety of other work, even a Lovecraftian Peanuts comic strip by Julien Baznet. I was pleased that my Cthulhoid picture was placed with the introduction, it makes up for my never having responded to Mr Joshi when he wrote to me years ago asking if I’d be interested in contributing something to Necronomicon Press.

Since the book was so successful there’s been talk of doing a cheaper reprint. In the meantime, bloated Lovecraftian plutocrats (Yuggothcrats?) will find very expensive copies for sale on eBay. A few more page samples follow.

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Continue reading “A Mountain Walked”

Weekend links 229

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Untitled (2007) by Remko van Drongelen.

• Another week, another Kickstarter project: Frank Woodward’s 2008 documentary, Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, was an excellent study of HP Lovecraft’s life and work featuring interviews with John Carpenter, Neil Gaiman, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Peter Straub, Guillermo Del Toro and leading Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi; the film also included a few examples of my Cthulhoid artwork. Disc copies of the film have been out-of-print for a while so Frank’s fund is hoping to raise money for a new Blu-ray edition featuring extended interviews and other extras.

• David Cronenberg’s debut novel, Consumed, “reads somewhat like a mashup of William Gibson, the king of near-future SF cool, and 1970s horror maestro James Herbert,” says Steven Poole. I’d have thought a more obvious analogy would be with JG Ballard; descriptions of Cronenberg’s narrative make it sound like Ballard’s concerns repurposed for our current era of electronically-mediated everything. Related: Crash by Sanyú, “adaptación de un fragmento de la novela de J. Ballard”.

• “To commune with the music of Cyclobe is to enter not just a strange world, but strange constellations – interdimensional, atemporal zones of carefully cultivated auras bordering wild, unstable forces.” Russell Cuzner talks to Ossian Brown and Stephen Thrower about Derek Jarman, hurdy-gurdies and the deceptive nature of time.

…there are no rules in fiction even if creative writing programs everywhere have tried to make people believe there are. When I read fiction that has passed through the filter of too many workshops, I often get the feeling that I’m reading the same novel over and over again: the same way of being humorous, the same way of being candid, the same way of creating empathy.

Valeria Luiselli talking to Jennifer Kabat about fiction, cities and maps.

• The rationale behind Silent Partners: Artist & Mannequin from Function to Fetish is “to explore the way that the artificial human figure has routinely provided artists with the most direct and reliable route to visual realism. And then to work out why that makes us so upset.” Kathryn Hughes on a new exhibition.

• “It immediately throws up some interesting thoughts: Bowie as the young dandy and the obvious comparisons with Oscar Wilde and The Picture Of Dorian Gray, with the portrait that ages.” Designer Jonathan Barnbrook on the cover photos for David Bowie’s forthcoming album Nothing Has Changed.

• October brings all the music mixes. This week there’s a choice of FACT mix 463 by Dntel, Autumn’s Whirr by Café Kaput (aka Jon Brooks), and Suspected Rural Telephone Box Poltergeist by The Geography Trip.

• “…when you first go into the room it’s like entering a furnace… a furnace of sound.” Scott Walker talks to John Doran about recording with Sunn O))). The new album, Soused, is out on 20th October.

We are the Martians: the Legacy of Nigel Kneale, a new collection of Kneale-related essays and appreciations, edited by Neil Snowdon.

• Kim Newman is one of the contributors to the Kneale collection. Here he is on the main types of ghost story, and how to recognize them.

Issue 7 of Glitterwolf magazine is out on the 15th, and it’s a Halloween special.

Etai Rahmil makes mask-pipes from glass for weed smokers.

Accidental Cool Art

Hurdy Gurdy Man (1968) by Donovan | Hurdy Gurdy Man (1970) by Eartha Kitt | Hurdy Gurdy Man (2009) by Patrick Cowley & Jorge Socarras

Weekend links 218

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The End of a Thousand Years (2014) by Hilary White. Via Phantasmaphile.

• It’s taken a while to shamble into the world but A Mountain Walked, an anthology of Cthulhu Mythos stories edited by leading Lovecraft scholar ST Joshi, will be published by Centipede Press next month. The publisher’s page for the book shows that my contribution will be facing Joshi’s introduction which is something I wasn’t aware of until this week. It also says the 692-page limited edition is sold out, although book dealers often buy collectible volumes such as this to sell on after adding their own markup. Be warned that it was listed on Amazon at $160 so if there are copies available anywhere they won’t be cheap.

• It’s not such a surprise to hear that magic mushrooms were an inspiration for Frank Herbert’s Dune. David Lynch’s film of Dune receives passing mention in this profile by Jeremy Kay of Lynch and the Twin Peaks film/TV series.

• “Whitechapel station is one of Giambattista Piranesi’s imaginary prisons, colonised by frantic electrical engineers and watched over by CCTV.” Will Wiles on the chaos and tangled energy of modern cities.

The word perfume comes from the French root “fume”—smoke—and where there’s smoke, there’s fire! I think most people are turned on sexually by scents and smells. Certain body odours can be very sexually stimulating. We purposefully chose certain ingredients for my Obscenity perfume that are associated with occult or religious rituals, including vetiver, labdanum, and oud, and others that are considered aphrodisiacal, including patchouli and sandalwood. The point of Obscenity is that there is no conflict between the religious and the sexual, and in fact they should be completely complimentary. The fragrance is meant to stimulate you sexually, but it also literally contains water from Lourdes, so it also has religious notes and perhaps even healing properties!

Bruce LaBruce talks to Kathy Grayson about his new fragrance, Obscenity

The Baffler, “a journal of iconoclastic wit and cultural analysis” relaunches with full access to its archives from 1988 to the present.

Pineal, the new album by Othon, is dark and “properly, brilliantly queer,” says David Peschek.

• At Core77: How to improve the audio quality of vinyl records with wood glue.

• P. Adams Sitney interviews Kenneth Anger on WNYC’s Arts Forum (1972).

• At BibliOdyssey: Le Bestiaire Fabuleux by Jean Lurçat.

• Mix of the week: Secret Thirteen mix 123 by Evol.

Meawbin the Creepy Cat

Perfumed Metal (1981) by Chrome | Fragrance (Ode To Perfume) (1982) by Holger Czukay | The Perfume (2006) by Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil, Tom Tykwer