Over at Golden Age Comic Book Stories there’s a terrific collection of Virgil Finlay illustrations for The Complete Book of Space Travel by Albro Gaul (1956).
Yes, it might have been a little premature to call it "Complete" – it would still be premature to call it that, after all – but nonetheless it’s a great opportunity for Finlay to explore everything from cross sections of space ships, construction, astronomy, space stations, and even the occasional dinosaur.
I never fail to marvel at that guy’s inks.
Speaking of ink, today’s offerings at the site also include some early 1960’s Frazetta illustrations and a great batch of Edgar Rice Burroughs illustrations by J. Allen St. John. That Mister Doortree. He just can’t be stopped!
Now if you’re of a cynical bent I know that you’ll look at this picture and tell yourself "That’s it, then: he’s just sitting around in the Secret Laboratory and playing poker with his robots". But that would be so unfair!
This morning I got oh, so close to the halfway mark on my draft for The Lair of the Clockwork Book. And although it is a draft – and has all the problems you expect from such an animal – I’m really pleased with the way it’s shaping up. It all needs polish and there are at least two scenes that need some important rework. But I’m happy so far.
It’s a complicated beast: viewed one way, it’s an anthology of short stories from Retropolis. But all of the stories are tied together by a common thread: so viewed another way, it’s one big, meandering story. Add to that the not-quite-rigid formats for the web version (updates twice a week) and the print version (a frightening relationship between the page count and the cost of the full color books) and the whole thing becomes a sort of ecosystem whose parts need to stay in balance. Which sounds sort of scary, but in fact is kind of neat.
The math for the production schedule is likewise interesting. Once the script is ready I’ll start in on the illustrations. When about two dozen of those are done, the story will go live at the Thrilling Tales web site and I’ll reformat my brain to get back to work on Part Two of The Toaster With TWO BRAINS. When I start to run low on Clockwork Book updates I’ll do another reset and work my way through another two dozen Clockwork Book illustrations. And so on.
If everything works out you’ll see twice-weekly Clockwork Book updates at Thrilling Tales of the Downright Unusual while I still manage to complete Part Two of The Toaster With TWO BRAINS. And there won’t ever be a hitch or delay. Or so I think.
Starting… when? I still don’t know. I hope to start illustrating The Lair of the Clockwork Book sometime in the next few weeks. How long, though, before the updates start at the web site.. this I can’t yet predict. My best guess is that the story will start before the end of this year, continue to its end in Spring of 2012, and then transmogrify into a book. In fact, at least the second TWO BRAINS book should be out long before the complete Clockwork Book sees print.
We’ll see if that’s how it happens :).
I hadn’t exactly planned on it, but most of my Thrilling Tales work over the Summer turned out to be making and setting up a new group of characters for the upcoming stories. I finished up the seventh character on Saturday, and on Sunday and Monday morning I celebrated by doing something completely different: this animated shot of one of my open cockpit roadster rockets in flight. It’s just a disconnected shot, of course: I think it wants to be part of a promo for my Retropolis web site. I’ll probably let it have its way, eventually.
But as fun as this was to tinker with… I do have actual work to do on the Thrilling Tales stories. During some re-rendering and compression this morning I did just what I probably should have been doing all along, which is to get back to work on the outlines and scripts for the stories.
What I did over the Summer really was productive, though, and not just because I needed the characters for my illustrations. Because as I worked on them my brain was exploring just how I want the two stories to work. And it was only when I started to know these characters better by working on them that I truly saw what they were about, and what they’d do, and how they’d do it. Al Bowwly and his rocket pack were a major revelation.
So this morning I wrote up a new, more complete outline for Part Two of The Toaster With TWO BRAINS. I’m now looking forward to working on the script itself… but the highest priority, as I’ve said before, is the script and the first illustrations for The Lair of the Clockwork Book. That non-interactive story is the one I need to get up on the site first, with regular updates every week, as I start to illustrate the new Toaster With TWO BRAINS story. Whatever its name is. I still don’t know.
So anyway it’s on to the Clockwork Book outline next, and then to its script(s). That means there won’t be much work to share just yet… maybe I’ll work up some set pieces with the new characters in the meantime. For now, though, I recommend a quick trip in my rocket. It did wonders for me!
I’ll be celebrating Labor Day by laboring, which is just how I roll. But in the meantime I’ve got a pretty sweet 20% sale on much of the merchandise in my online shops – at the both Celtic Art and Retro Future sites. Through midnight on September 6 you can get the 20% discount by checking out with the coupon code LBRSALE.
Here’s where you can use the sale code:
Celtic Art & Retro-Futuristic Design
Retropolis (just the Celtic/Retro departments)
Celtic Art Books
The Non-Conformists Union, Local 404
An awful lot of my merchandise is included in the sale, from my posters, blank books, and my Celtic knotwork book, to the mugs, greeting cards, gift boxes and who knows what all that you’ll find on those pages.
[tags]sale, celtic art, celtic design, retro future, retropolis, vintage, retro, posters, mugs, books, labor day, sci fi, science fiction, fantasy[/tags]