Today’s ROCKETEER is a review of Fredric Brown’s brilliant short story, “Letter to a Phoenix” from 1949. It’s about atomic war and collective insanity. A real mind-bending thought experiment. You can read my review of the story here.
In this week’s ROCKETEER I’m talking about a character from the “Captain Future” pulp stories, the android—Otho. More people today know him from the Captain Future anime from the 1970’s than the original stories. The anime takes some liberties with the character’s original design. In my post I talk about those changes and how Otho was originally conceptualized. You can read “Reconstructing Otho” on Substack. I’ve been noodling around with some Otho drawings using the original design from the 1940’s. Because he’s supposed to be a master of disguise and…
Inking Round-up May 2023
Art is all about practice, and I practice all the time! My father used to marvel at the fact that I didn’t need any impetus to do art, I just do it. This month I’ve focused on improving my line and brushwork with ink. In this week’s ROCKETEER I show you what I’ve been up to, including a short video, detailing my practice pieces for the month of May. You can read this week’s newsletter here.
Pulp Fantasy: Not like Tolkien, at all!
In this week’s ROCKETEER I discuss the differences between the pulp and contemporary fantasy genres. I also present a reading list of my favorite pulp fantasy stories and where to find them. (All of these magazines can be found online for free.) Read my Substack here.
Dystopia take a hike! Tales of the Space Patrol.
In this week’s ROCKETEER I talk about how I came to write my illustrated new pulp novelette, Landscape of Darkness. It’s also about something I call Neotopia which is another way of talking about the Age of Aquarius. I’ve been waiting for Aquarius to dawn since the late 1960’s when I became aware of the musical, Hair. Phew, it’s been a long wait but I’m glad it’s finally arrived. According to astrologers, this new age will be quite different from the previous Age of Pisces. And that’s fine with me!…
Linework and New Pens
Recently, I have become frustrated with the quality of my brush and ink linework. I was aware that the type of lines I wanted to create should be created with a real brush and ink but I stuck to my brush pens. They are more convenient, certainly more tidy than dipping a brush into ink. Plus, I have good control over them. Decades ago in graduate school I used a dip pen and brushes with ink. Honestly, when good quality brush pens became available I was glad to make the…
Edd Cartier’s Cramped Panels
I have been in love with black and white interior illustrations for a long time. In the late 1980’s when publishers started pushing for color wherever they could, I refuted the claim that black and white illustrations were uninteresting and uninspiring. At that point it was rare to see interior book art in anything but children’s books and graphic novels anyway. But I never gave up on interior illustrations for all types of stories. Now that they’ve begun to come back around it’s nice to see stories illustrated again. But…
From the Dark Side: Pulp Master Criminals
I must tell you, it’s a bit weird getting so deeply into detective stories. I’ve always been a fan of Ellery Queen mysteries but this recent deep dive has me wondering how I will feel about writing one. Will I like it as much as science fiction? I guess I’ll know soon. In this week’s ROCKETEER I take a look at where the Moon Man fits on the pulp master criminal spectrum. You can read it here.
The Moon Man Rises
I’ve been obsessing lately about Frederick C. Davis’ “Moon Man” stories from the mid-1930’s. That all came about through a series of synchronicities, the kind that make you think you have something important sitting in your lap. I’m a big fan of Davis’ writing in “Operator No. 5,” another 1930’s series. I like him so much I wanted to read more of his works. I noticed that he had a crazy character with a globe on his head that reminded me of Spiderman’s “Mysterio.” But this seemed a bit different…
Two items of interest today
I just finished a pulpy commission for a fellow writer of science fiction, Sarah Anderson. She wanted an alternate cover for her new book, as well as something she could use for postcards. I was happy to oblige and here is the result. I have to admit that it’s fun to paint people with dramatic expressions. Screaming and running from a creepy monster…what’s more pulpy than that? You can find out more about Sarah’s new book here. Next, on this week’s ROCKETEER I talk about how I conceptualized my award-winning…