East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


The man who sculpted Cthulhu: Stephen Hickman (1949-2021)

I first became aware of Stephen Hickman’s work when I saw the Cthulhu idol the artist sculpted, and that has become to many the definitive look of Big C. In fact, Hickman’s work had been under my eyes for ages, starting with the Dragaera covers he did for Steven Brust, to illustrations for Tolkien and Conan comics and an iconic Harlan Ellison cover.

As a person severely impaired from a graphical point of view, I am forever fascinated by the ability some people have to express themselves through shapes and colors.
Stephen Hickman, who passed away this week, was a great artist and a visual storyteller.
Here is a small gallery of his works (click on the images to enlarge).


Volcano Goddesses, Golden Dawns and Sorcerer Popes

It’s Sunday, the countryside is silent and dreary, yesterday people in decontamination suits walked the streets of our village decontaminating the area – a scene out of too many SF/horror movies – and today I decided I’ll be lazy, recharge my batteries and go through a collection of Athena Voltaire comics a friend sent me – I’ve been through Athena Voltaire and the Volcano Goddess this morning, I’ll devote the afternoon to Athena Voltaire and the Sorcerer Pope, leaving Athena Voltaire and the Golden Dawn for the evening
Because I meed a little of high-octane pulp adventure in my life.

And here’s a gallery of covers, for your entertainment (If you’ve not read the Athena Voltaire comics… you should)


The Deadly Lady from Madagascar (and other dames)

I am experiencing some technical issues (and a bout of bad health), so I’m not doing much these days. I’m falling behind with my writing and with my post, and everything else. But I was browsing some old paperback art and I happened to spot this picture…

… and I thought, wow, that’s a story I’d like to write.
Turns out this is a Robert Maguire cover for a novel called The Deadly Lady of Madagascar, bt Frank G. Slaughter (nice name for someone writing about deadly ladies) that I will try and find somehow.
If I can’t write it, I can certainly read it.

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Silvano Campeggi, a small gallery

Yesterday we lost Silvano Campeggi, aka Nano, one of the greatest movie poster artists to have graced the field.
Born in Florence in 1923, Campeggi created many iconic Hollywood posters – and a measure of his staggering production can be gleaned from the fact that sixty-four of the movies for which he created posters were nominated for Oscars.
It’s been calculated that all in all, Nano Campeggi created theposters for a total of 3000 movies.

What follows is a small gallery of his work.
He will be missed.


Dean Cornwell

It usually starts with a painting. I chance upon an image somewhere and I decide to learn more about the artist.
In this case, the image is this one…


… and the artist is Dean Cornwell (1892-1960), an illustrator for a number of American magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar and Cosmopolitan.
He had started as a cartoonist for the Chicago Herald, and was also a respected muralist.

Here is a small selection of his art. Continue reading

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Darwyn Cooke

I’m going on with my sketching course, and it’s good to see I don’t suck as badly as I remembered.
Now, having the time, a good practice when one wants to learn how to draw, is to check out the works of some artist they like, and start copying them. This is both a good training for eye-hand coordination, and a good opportunity to learn about composition, lighting and volumes.

So, as usual, I did a quick survey of my favorite artists.
Back when I was in high school, I guess I would have given an arm or a leg to be able to do the sort of things that Frank Frazetta or Boris Vallejo did. Or Chris Achilleos. Or, sure, Michael Whelan. Continue reading

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A Jack Vettriano Gallery

I like Jack Vettriano’s art a lot.
Probably because it reminds me of the atmospheres of old pulp stories, and the style of certain old paperback covers. And I mean that as a compliment.
A self-taught former miner from Scotland, Vettriano is now one of the highest paid artists in the field.
I love a painting of his, called The Road to Nowhere.
It’s this…


So here’s a gallery of some of my faves from this wonderful painter.
(as usual, click on an image to see it enlarged)