Friday, March 28, 2014

Samples of Art

Samples of Art
Bobby Derie

Dear Sir;

Not having much experience at this, I've drawn up a preliminary list of art suggestions and notes on why I picked them. 1-4 are some classic illustrations, some of the earliest to feature nudity and tie in with some of Lovecraft's comments on sexual depiction and weird fiction. 5-6 are rare depictions of Sonia and her relationship with HPL - not always accurate, but interesting in how they show how others used or understood them. 7-12 might push the bounds of "tasteful," though they're all in the public domain. Essentially a pictorial depiction of the evolution of tentacle erotica from Japanese shunga to European japonisme to the covers of pulps. Could easily be expanded with more examples, or cut back. Most of these examples are taken from art books, particularly Secret Images: Picasso and the Japanese Erotic Print (2010). 13-20 are various more modern works.

Bare-breasted revelers ring a shadowed idol; in the background, a man hangs upside down.

1. Interior illustration for "The Call of Cthulhu," Weird Tales February 1928, Hugh Rankin, B/W

The nude blonde's hands are tied to an iron ring, set into the wall above her head. Before her, the lithesome, scantily-clad brunette draws back the cat-o'nine-tails for another stroke.

2. Cover for Weird Tales September 1933, Margaret Brundage, Color

A starscape, crowded and close near the bottom, where individual stars reveal at their cores gods of ancient Egypt, bird-faced monsters, faceless tentacles, a buxom siren...

3. Cover for The Outsider and Others, Arkham House 1939, Virgil Finlay, B/W

Squat, amphibious creatures, human no longer, posed before a stone wall. The pendulous bosom of the rear creature is clear in profile. Beneath, the legend reads "One night, in frightful dream, I met two Ancient Ones under the sea..."

4. Interior illustration for "The Shadow over Innsmouth," Weird Tales January 1942, Hannes Bok, B/W

Six panels. Headshot of a woman in a lavish hat. The couple stand together looking out across the water at New York City. The woman embraces the man, perhaps too vigorously. They embrace again, in the dark, in bed. "The hat shop failed. We need money, Howard." she says, lying back in bed, as lewd as a covered pose could be. She stands at the door, prepared to leave; Howard cannot.

5. Panels with Sonia from "H. P. Lovecraft 1890-1937", Arcade #3 1975, George Kuchar, B/W

Five panels. A convention of amateur journalists; she spies him from across the room. She goes to speak to him, but he makes his excuses and leaves.

6. Top half of page 48 from The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and Other Stories 2011, Jason Bradley Thompson, B/W

A nude woman, the waves crashing over her; the lumpy octopus has her in its arms, one strand of itself between her lips, another buried in her hairy fundament. Dancing on the waves, lines of alien characters.

7. Diver and Octopus, 1786, Katsukawa Shuncho, B/W

In a cloud of Japanese script, the pale woman leans back. A small octopus wrapped around her neck, its mouth finding hers in obscene kiss; below, a larger, googly-eyed octopus holds body and legs, bringing its mouthpiece directly to her vagina.

8. Diver and Octopus, 1814, Katsushika Hokusai, color

The nude model's hands are hidden by the sign; it says something ..."Justitia"...there is more, but that is all that can be made out. Below, ropy fronds grope about her groin, reaching towards her navel; from some perspectives they look like a giant hand. Buried among them is a monstrous face, like that of a corpse. A variant exists which is more implicit, showing her penetrated by the tentacle.

9. Istar, 1888, Fernand Khnopff, B/W

A woman on a bed, clothed only in her garters and shoes. Something attacks her; a head like the skull of a bird set at the center of a mass of spaghetti-noodles topped with bulbous heads; she has not enough hands to deal with them all. The beak draws blood, the tentacles nestle at her nipple, prod at the entrance to mouth and pussy.

10. The Octopus, c.1880, Felicien Rops, color

The woman recumbent; background and foreground are mere shapes suggested by the darkness, given only the barest definition by the light. Behind the victim, the bulbous shape of the Martian, one tentacle hovering in the air above her, the other wrapped around her. Where it grasps her, a bloody wound, black blood contrasting against pale flesh.

11. The Martian Claims A Victim, 1906, Henri Alvin-Correa, B/W

Orange, white, and black. A woman in the background, thick pseudopod wrapped around her; farther back, an orange-black blob with eyes. In the foreground, a man with slick-back hair brandishes shotgun and dagger. The tentacle on the "Ooze" very clearly has suckers.

12. Cover for Weird Tales March 1923, R. R. Epperly, color

"I am not dead" the spiky speech bubble proclaims "I sleep and yet I do not sleep, for I have died...and yet I am not dead, I shall rise again for that which is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange eons, even death may die..." Human, in outline, with the googly-eyed head of an octopus or squid, the wings of a bat or dragon, fingers extending to long tentacles; strange eyes substitute for nipples, and at its crotch, a demure collection of tentacles. Below and to either side, two frog-men; the background is all clouds, a monolithic pillar, and a starry nightscape.

13. Interior front cover, Skull Comics #4 1972, Simon Deitch, B/W

A park, near a park bench. The trenchcoat pulls back to reveal the learing collection of eyes on stalks, tentacles, mouths, all in rows; the human head leers as the old woman gasps. The pants-legs are tied on with rope - what a detail! If the coat were closed, who would guess he was naked beneath?

14. "Flasher," Playboy Magazine March 1973, Gahan Wilson, color

The woman in profile, demure as a classical nude. In her raised right hand a pomegranate, hands and mouth stained red with its juices. The whole head above the nose and lower cheeks is decapitated, eyes lost as it dissolves into a thick mass of suckered arms, even the ear only a suggestion.

15. Cover for Cthulhurotica 2010, Oliver Wetter, color
Note: This is actually the original image sans title used for the cover, taken from Wetter’s deviant art account.

Medusas as in jellyfish, the great hooded caps like transparent, luminescent fungi; their bodies are those of nubile women. Behind them, bulbous eyes and arms like an octopus watch the beauties.

16. "Medusas of Cthulhu", Black Velvet Cthulhu 2010, Mike Dubisch, color

Pale grey form of Sandra Dee, supine and floating in the textureless void; above her, the monstrous face, eyes like a snake, wild hair from which emerge...necks? Tentacles? Something of that sort, scaly and segmented like an earthworm, tipped with claws and all manner of monstrous heads.

17. The Dunwich Horror (1971) movie poster, Reynold Brown, American International Pictures, b/w
- I got this one from The Dunwich Horror Press Book; it’s a rare variant that keeps Sandra Dee’s legs.

A human fetus in an amniotic sac; the womb attached to a collection of squid-like arms and tentacles. Below, the title burns like dry ice. A Stuart Gordon movie.

18. Dagon (2001) movie poster, Fantastic Factory, color
- From The Lurker in the Lobby (2nd ed.), hence the size; I haven’t been able to find another instance of this, so I don’t know if it actually went into production.

Green lighting gives a morbid cast to the still form of Joanna Angel, her cleavage stained with blood as she lies upon the table. Standing above her, one hand raised with the needle holding the potent reagent, Tommy Pistol as Dr. Hubert Breast smirks. To his right, a glimpse of some props: a hand in a jar, bits of bloody offal, somewhere in the distance the hazy glow of a lamp.

19. Front cover of Re-Penetrator dvd box, 2005, Burning Angel Entertainment, color

I could almost fill a book with comic images, if we could ever get the permissions, but if I had to pick one it would be this half-page panel from Alan Moore's Neonomicon. It's just a terrific, busy image that shows more imagination dedicated to sex and the Mythos than any half-dozen other artworks I could mention, without being grossly offensive in content.

Through the beaded curtain, to the forbidden underworld of Adults Only. A plastic blow-up doll hands on the wall, it's mouth orifice a star-like thing from a deep-sea anemone, the tits and slit of a vagina still very much human; boxed versions line the floor below. Leather masks with dangling face-tentacles hang to the left of the door, strict Etsy-fair; to the right, a shelf of boxed and unboxed alien dildos, some shaped like tentacles. One shelf holds what appears to be a three-pronged strap-on, a strange Sybian with a cock shaped like an Elder Thing on the floor; another box clearly states it holds Azathoth's Pipe. In the center of the room, a rack of pornography - DVDs, boxed sets, with titles like "C'Th'Orgy" and "The Dunwich Whore-r." They wander through smiling; the proprietor's smile is wider, like he knows something they don't.

20. Panel of the back room, Neonomicon #2 2010, Jacen Burrows, color

So those are my thoughts. I'm not married to any of them, but it's a start. 

- Bobby

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