Weekend links 126

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Mala Reputación (1991) by Dogo Y Los Mercenarios. Cover art by Nazario Luque.

Artist Nazario Luque was Spain’s first gay comic artist who’s also known for the drawing which appeared (without permission) on the sleeve of Lou Reed Live – Take No Prisoners in 1978. On his website Nazario says he’s been described as “Exhibicionista, solidario, provocador, agitador moral, rompedor, arriesgado, polifacético, transgresor, canalla, pintiparado, morigerado o simplemente superviviente…” Via Música, maestros, a two-part post (second part is here) about album cover art by comic artists.

The BBC Radiophonic Workshop Returns. And quite conveniently, Ubuweb posts some original Radiophonic creations by electronic music genius Delia Derbyshire. Ms Derbyshire is profiled along with her other pioneering colleagues in an hour-long TV documentary, Alchemists of Sound.

• Tor.com celebrates the fiction of Shirley Jackson. Too Much Horror Fiction has a substantial collection of Shirley Jackson book covers.

Phantasmagorical and all but plotless, Nightwood flings itself madly upon the night, upon Wood, and upon the reader. Its sentences pomp along like palanquins and writhe like crucifixions. They puke, they sing. Their deliriums are frighteningly controlled. […] TS Eliot loved Nightwood so much that he shepherded its publication and wrote the introduction to the first edition. Dylan Thomas complimented it with his left hand by calling it “one of the three great prose books ever written by a woman” and with his right hand by stealing from it. […] Nightwood’s Dr. Matthew-Mighty-grain-of-salt-Dante O’Connor, florid monologist and transvestite, seems to have been a model (along with Captain Ahab) for Judge Holden in Blood Meridian. The difference is that Cormac McCarthy’s Judge is essentially Satan, whereas O’Connor is essentially Christ; they’re only just on opposite sides of the border of madness.

Austin Allen on The Life and Death of Djuna Barnes, Gonzo “Greta Garbo of American Letters”. There’s a lot more Djuna Barnes at Strange Flowers.

• Out at the end of the month, Extreme Metaphors, interviews with JG Ballard, 1967–2008, edited by Simon Sellars & Dan O’Hara.

• The favourite Polish posters of the Brothers Quay. Over at Cardboard Cutout Sundown there are more Quay book covers.

The Mancorialist: people on the streets of Manchester are given the Sartorialist treatment.

The Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia takes place on 29th September.

The Caves of Nottingham are explored in a detailed post at BLDGBLOG.

• In Remembrance: Bill Brent, Groundbreaking Queer Sex Publisher.

Confessions of a Bookplate Junkie

The Uranus Music Prize 2012

Fuck Yeah René Lalique

Dr Who: original theme (1963) by Ron Grainer with Delia Derbyshire | Falling (1964) by Delia Derbyshire | The Delian Mode (1968) by Delia Derbyshire | Blue Veils And Golden Sands (1968) by Delia Derbyshire.

H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction

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Illustration by Sven Geier, design by Jo Obarowski and Rebecca Lysen.

HP Lovecraft would have been as surprised as anyone if he could have witnessed the tremendous posthumous triumph he and his work have achieved.

Thus leading Lovecraft biographer and scholar ST Joshi in the introduction to this suitably monstrous book. H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction was published in a new edition last year after first appearing in 2008 as part of Barnes & Noble’s Leatherbound Classics Series. My drawing of Dagon from 1999 adorns the silvered endpapers, and the reason for this belated mention is because I was only sent copies this week after moaning about not having seen a copy in a Tor.com post about the series. In truth the oversight was partly my own fault: one hazard of this line of work is that artwork is requested months (or even years) in advance of publication, so if the work in question is a reprint it’s easy to forget all about it as you get involved with other things.

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So anyway, this is a handsome volume of over a thousand pages, not quite leather, it’s more of a leatherette with the design blocked into it. Sven Geier’s cosmic illustration has been given an iridescent finish, and the copies I was sent have metallic silver on the edges as well as a purple ribbon which makes a better match with the colour scheme. The contents comprise all of Lovecraft’s solo fiction (no collaborations, in other words) from the juvenilia through to the non-fiction of his Supernatural Horror in Literature essay. In addition to the introduction there’s a short note from ST Joshi for each story. Needless to say, I’m very pleased to be associated with Lovecraft’s work in this way.

Anyone considered buying a copy should note that the book is currently cheaper at B&N than at Amazon. Also, complaints about typos would appear to apply to the earlier edition although I’ve not had a chance to read any of the stories.

My Dagon picture below appears here larger than it has done before. The drawing was done with a Biro pen, something I’ve always liked using, then tweaked slightly in Photoshop to blur the lines a little and bring out the highlights. I’m not sure now the tweaking was necessary so I may dig out the original at some point to see how it compares.

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Dagon (1999) by John Coulthart.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Heavy Metal, October 1979: the Lovecraft special
Cthulhu God
The monstrous tome

A Picture to Dream Over: The Isle of the Dead

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The Isle of the Dead (second version, 1880), Kunstmuseum, Basel.

In the sudden flares of light over the water, reflected off the sharp points of his cheeks and jaw, a harder profile for a moment showed itself. Conscious of Sanders’s critical eye, Father Balthus added as an afterthought, to reassure the doctor: “The light at Port Matarre is always like this, very heavy and penumbral – do you know Böcklin’s painting, ‘Island of the Dead’, where the cypresses stand guard above a cliff pierced by a hypogeum, while a storm hovers over the sea? It’s in the Kunstmuseum in my native Basel –”

The Crystal World (1966) by JG Ballard.

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A 1982 recording.

Today’s post is another guest piece over at Tor.com where I run through a history of some of the works in different media inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s The Isle of the Dead (1880–1886). The four versions of Böcklin’s painting are favourites of mine so I’ve touched on this subject a couple of times before but this is the first time I’ve gone into any detail examining their influence. Many artworks have become highly visible in the past century via copies, parodies and imitations: think of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, or Michelangelo’s David and The Creation of Adam. What’s fascinating about The Isle of the Dead is that it’s not one picture but four versions of the same scene, and they’ve all been very influential not as parodies but as direct inspirations for other artworks—musical compositions, feature films, a novel—yet few people would recognise the artist’s name. My post only scratches the surface by running through some of the more well-known works but there’s a whole website devoted to the subject for anyone wishing to investigate further.

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The Call of Cthulhu (1988).

Modesty prevented me from mentioning my own work in the Tor post but I’ll do so here. Among the many references ladled into my adaptation of The Call of Cthulhu there’s the 1886 Leipzig version of Böcklin’s painting in the background of a panel. A prefiguring of the end of the story and also an excuse to add to the list of works acknowledging one of the great Symbolist paintings.

Previously on { feuilleton }
The Isle of the Dead in detail
Arnold Böcklin and The Isle of the Dead

Crafting steampunk illustrations

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Today’s post is another guest piece at Tor.com where I talk a little about using collage to create steampunk illustrations and designs. The post is part of their Steampunk Week, and I take the opportunity to acknowledge the influence of some artists who have become familiar points of reference here, namely Max Ernst and Wilfried Sätty.

Meanwhile, in light of this news, I should say that I don’t own an iPod, iPad or iPhone but there are four Apple computers of various vintage in this place, all of which have been used to create the art and design work I’ve been producing since the late 1990s. Apple machines and Adobe software literally changed my life by allowing me to get involved in graphic design and create artwork that would have been impossible to produce using pencil, ink and paint. Many thanks, then, to Steve Jobs. And RIP.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Initiations in the Abyss: A Surrealist Apocalypse
SteamPunk Magazine
Morlocks, airships and curious cabinets
The Steampunk Bible
Vultures Await
Steampunk Reloaded
Wilfried Sätty: Artist of the occult
Illustrating Poe #4: Wilfried Sätty
Steampunk overloaded!
More Steampunk and the Crawling Chaos
Steampunk Redux
Steampunk framed
Steampunk Horror Shortcuts

Weekend links 78

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Struggle (2009) by Lindsey Carr.

• “Twilight Science is an imprint for sound, music and DVD editions initiated by artist Paul Schütze. We will progressively publish all back catalogue, new projects and collaborations. These will include works by Phantom City, NAPE, Schütze-Hopkins and others.” Related (because Paul Schütze remixed Main): Main Feed The Collapse, Neil Kulkarni talks to Robert Hampson.

• “You can’t really narrate or display this situation, you can only, endlessly, contemplate it. When the writer or director gets tired of the iterations, he tells us who the mole is.” Michael Wood on the novel, (superb) television series and recent film of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

• “Havin’ a dick is pretty fuckin’ awesome” says Horst, a new gay magazine limited to 1000 copies. Related (well, there’s a guy in and out of his underwear): Naked Lunch, a fashion shoot very tenuously based on David Cronenberg’s film.

“At first, I tried fighting bullies one-on-one, but they don’t fight fair; they fight two and three on one,” Bennett said. So the youths got together and “started carrying mace, knives, brass knuckles and stun guns, and if somebody messed with one of us then all of us would gang up on them.”

 “Gay black youths go from attacked to attackers” says the headline. A group of genuine Wild Boys; William Burroughs would have approved.

• Tor.com reminded me of Sally Cruikshank‘s amazing animated film Face Like a Frog (1987) which features a score and Cab Calloway-style song by Danny Elfman.

• It’s 1969, OK? Pádraig Ó Méalóid talks with Kevin O’Neill about the Swinging League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

• In the Tumblr labyrinth this week: Fuck Yeah St Sebastian and Gender is Irrelevant.

• For when you need some motherfucking placeholder text: Samuel L Ipsum.

• “Study finds ‘magic mushrooms’ may improve personality long-term.”

Solar Megalomania: paintings by Leonora Carrington.

• It’s all fun and games until Charles Manson turns up.

Firmament II (1993) by Main | Firmament IV (1993) by Main | Reformation (1994) by Main.