Monday, October 15, 2018

Adventures Currently in Progress...

Welcome to the Dungeon. Peter Mullen. Delightfully cheeky and reminiscent of Tom Wham's meta level D&D illos. Descending into the Underworld is barmy on the face of it. That's humanity for you, though. 

Peter Mullen's cover for Swords & Wizardry core. The rest of the party seem to be trying to stop or deter the halfling from grasping the sword, or the pommel. Maybe they just think he's going to fuck it up. The guy in the helmet and red shirt appears to be reacting to something else, off to the left. The Wizard on the right might be egging the halfling on. There's a lot of skeletons in this room. Their fingers are all clawed and they have horns. Something ancient, pre-human, even anti-human is represented. Green is everywhere, even on the red clothing and flesh of those present. The party is descending into depths of time, history and creation. They are in the Underworld. For Gold. And Power.

Maybe my favorite Frazetta piece. Conan's aggression and energy is so explicit in his face and even more so, in his hands, preparing to grasp the sorcerer with their indomitable strength. Demons meander about the edges of the scene in indistinct gloom. The smoky cup is dropped and cocked on it's side. The sorcerer's fist clenches the chain of the thurible. He seems utterly unaware of Conan's presence. Perhaps he is too caught up in his invocations to pay attention to anything other than the ritual working he endeavors to complete. The green, reptilian crocodile and alien octopus at the bottom. Very inhuman, primordial, Lovecraftian. The unclean nature of magic and trafficking with dark powers is a common theme in Howard's writing. There's very few examples of "good" magic. The sorcerer, like the adventurers in the previous illustration, has descended into the underworld and moves in the depths of hell! And Conan has followed him here. To rescue his queen, though he's certainly undertaken similar adventures for not so different reasons than the sorcerer. For Gold. And Power.

Sanjulian's depiction of Conan standing before Yag-Kosha in Howard's Tower of the Elephant. One of the strangest and most ambitious of the author's Conan stories. This highly evolved and powerful being is trapped in a hell devised by the sorcerer Yara. Here, Conan does not find the treasure he was seeking. But, he does leave this adventure with a little more knowledge and wisdom than when he began it.

Is that an Otyugh? More tentacles. And notice the snake on the right.

I've always thought this dude was totally fucked!

The cover to Matt Finch's Primer. More green, nasty things trying to eat adventurers. Notice the slime, dripping from the ceiling. I've always wished Matt would do some more illustrating.

The naked greed on the face of the dude on the right is almost obscene.

There's an art term for when someone in a picture seems to be looking at the viewer, but it escapes me at the moment and Google wasn't any help. His face seems to portray relief, as well as encouragement and satisfaction. If someone were making recruitment posters for dungeon delving, this is what one would look like.