Sunday, January 17, 2010

Is it Wrong ...?

... to want to see an old school product illustrated entirely by Virgil Finlay artwork?

What I wouldn't give to make something like that happen. Seriously, what could compare to it? Just amazing stuff.


  1. This reminds me of one thing I like about older pictures from the newer ones - less of a template appearance.

    Take dragons in 3e and 4e. Each type looks exactly the same.

    Here we have demons looking not like a Hollywood demon, but a composite of the creepy and sorta normal (man-like bodies with bird-like heads with insect features, brrr..).

  2. Man, what are you getting into after 12:30?

  3. I've always felt there was a kinship between the art of the old pulps and the art of the old school D&D scene of the 1970s/early 1980s, despite the thirty-year gulf that divides them.

  4. > "...despite the thirty-year gulf that divides them."

    Could you define that a bit better, please, since I see no particular "gulf" and indeed a good number of artists (of varying expertise) transitioned smoothly across that period; Alan Hunter is one obvious example given this stylistic thread.
    SF&F 'zines /still/ had "pulp artwork" post-1950, although moreso for the internals and, increasingly, more to the fanzine side.

    As to Finlay, well James you're going to have to find someone with a love of scratchboard first since, as noted before, it very much out of favor these days.
    With regards to "what could compare" well, if you're on a SF gaming streak one answer at least is kinda obvious; ;>


  5. "Could you define that a bit better, please, since I see no particular "gulf" and indeed a good number of artists (of varying expertise) transitioned smoothly across that period..."

    I'm referring to the pulps themselves. They pittered out of existence in the 50s. Of course, some artists found work elsewhere and the style of art found in the pulps survived. But the heyday of the pulps was over.

  6. Gotcha... read "art of the old pulps" literally here vs. the format, as such. :)

    Think we could do with digging out some $ for James's Christmas presents this year (series from , onwards ;)

  7. Make it happen in your next publication.

  8. That picture looks like Finlay was channeling Edd Cartier...

  9. Marvelous. Thanks for bringing this guy to my attention, James.

    Among many other incredible images I love this 50s housewife menaced by a grell:

  10. I don't know if this is 100% true (or just grumblings against the establishment by illustrators), but many of the illustrators like Finlay had a really hard time with money because:
    a) the pulps paid poorly
    b) the publishers of the pulps (like many illustration buyers) were notorious for saying, "The check is in the mail!" when it clearly wasn't (as an amateur illustrator who has dipped a toe into the rpg market, I have found this to be true on more than one occasion. One RPG publisher took over 2 years to pay me $100.00 for 4 drawings, one of which they had me do over 3-4 times. One other publishers never paid me at all, and a third gave me partial payment, never gave me the balance.).
    c) the pulps would sometimes change ownership and management and go into bankruptcy, thus artists and writers again would get the short end of the financial stick.
    d) Finlay was cursed with perfectionism and his trademark technique was extraordinarily time intensive --- since he was paid by the drawing rather than by the hour, he spent more time earning the same wage that a more 'bada bing, bada boom, it's done!' artist might have.
    e) Many of the artists of those early pulps did not retain the rights to their work and I think many of them did not get the work returned to them.

    So, James, I would encourage you to find some aspiring artist and commission them to make the drawings you want! Sadly, Finlay died years ago... but he is one of my heroes...

  11. No, in fact, it is not wrong at all.

  12. Stephen Fabian is someone who's always seemed very much in Finlay's tradition to me, and he's even worked for RPG Publishers, too:


  13. Jim Holloway has often told me that he enjoyed his artwork and was influenced by it as well.