February 13, 2014
It was a huge shock to hear that Mark Rogers died on February 2 of this year while on vacation, and even though we kept in touch infrequently the news hit me pretty hard. I first met Mark at the University of Delaware, when he, his good friend Sam Tomaino, and I were in a winter session class on Tolkien and Lewis. It wasn’t long after that Sam organized a science fiction club at the University, and The Galadrim came into existence. Like-minded students (and other, non-University folk) were drawn to the group which resulted in lifelong friendships, and the occasional falling-out.
Mark had a huge personality, and dominated pretty much any discussion; and it seemed like he always had something in the works. I was lucky enough to take part in his play “Waiting for Gomot” featuring the Three Stooges in a hilarious takedown of Beckett. There was a movie, too. There were Vikings and, if I remember correctly, zombies. It was a long time ago.
After I moved to the wilds of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton corridor the old connections got more tenuous, but every year Mark would call or email to invite us to the annual holiday parties. We saw him last at Philcon, about 2010. It as fun to see him again, and I picked up a copy of Yark which, by the way, I highly recommend. Only Mark could reimagine the Lord of the Rings from the Orcs’ perspective and do it with such hilarious style.
The simple fact is that Mark was a great person and a true artistic original. Those who knew him can count themselves fortunate.
Illustration from The Caves of Augrim (I think); acrylic on paper, 9″ x 12″.
November 29, 2010
I loved comic books when I was a kid, and bought and read them through college. Still have most of them.
A Broadway play about Spider Man?
With tickets up to $500 a seat?
November 27, 2010
Last weekend I did something I’d been threatening to do for a few years: I went to a convention, specifically Philcon, and dragged Elaine along. I was always more of a fringe fan than otherwise, and have probably attended less than half a dozen cons since Robert Whitaker introduced me to active fandom in 1972 or 73. In spite of having heard some less-than-enthusiastic reports about Philcon, I have to say that we both really enjoyed it. Peter Beagle was the Guest of Honor, and all of the events he participated in were great fun. Got to see some old friends. I actually like the fact that Philcon is now a pretty small convention; I don’t know how many attendants there were, but it felt pretty comfortable. The fact that it’s still primarily a literary con is a plus, too. In fact, we’re thinking about going again next year. Who would’a thunk it?
June 20, 2010
One of the finest artists in or out of the genre and one of the nicest guys in the world has passed on. Anyone who ever had the pleasure of meeting Al Williamson would say the same. Good friend Robert Whitaker sent me this link to the obituary at the Locus website on Friday.
I think the first time I saw Al’s work was an article in Castle of Frankenstein about Wally Wood’s seminal prozine Witzend. The article showed a panel from Al’s Savage World that just blew me away. Later I came to more of Al’s work through my interest in Alex Raymond and Flash Gordon. Over the years I picked up a couple of the King Features comics, which just reinforced for me Al’s stature as the consummate draftsman.
There wasn’t much not to like about Al’s work. It was elegant, dynamic, classic, economical. I was always impressed by his ability to suggest the drape of fabric with a single brush line; by his use of flat tones against modeling; by the way he would drop out contour lines unexpectedly. And, of course, by the women he drew. The other thing that distinguished Al’s work was his inexhaustible love of his chosen field, which imbues even a simple Williamson drawing with vibrant life.
In the later years, Al turned almost exclusively to inking. His doing so was a huge boon to Marvel and DC, as I’m sure they were aware, since he was able to make any penciller’s work look good. And he did, book after book, like the pro he was. He had an incredible career, and we’re all the richer for it.
May 23, 2010
A couple of favorite shorter Vance:
– The Moon Moth
– The Gift of Gab
Some longer favorites:
– The Dragon Masters
– The Last Castle
– Maske: Thaery
– Showboat World
– The Demon Princes Cycle
– Space Opera
Some least favorites (I’d gladly explain why if anyone were really interested…):
– The Grey Prince
Also, here’s a link to an interesting article on Vance, thanks to the good folks at the Jack Vance Message Board.
March 17, 2010
What does one do when juggling a time and a half job as a self employed craftsman, being married, helping take care of a horde of cats and a geriatric Shiba Inu? Why, one starts a new blog, of course.
The title, for those who might not be familiar, comes from “The Dirdir”, third book in Vance’s Tschai sequence:
The sun Carina 4269 had passed into the constellation Tartusz, to mark the onset of Balul Zac Ag, the “unnatural dream time,” when slaughter, slave-taking, pillange and arson came to a hald across the Lokhar Highlands. Balul Zac Ag was the occasion for the Great Fair as Smargash, or perhaps the Great Fair had come first, eventually to generate Balul Zac Ag after unknown hundreds of years.
So, welcome all to this very small corner of the Great Fair; I hope you enjoy the visit.