“Words could not adequately convey the repulsiveness of the thing. It was endowed with a trunk and great, uneven ears, and two enormous tusks protruded from the corners of its mouth. But it was not an elephant. Indeed, its resemblance to an actual elephant was, at best, sporadic and superficial, despite certain unmistakable points of similarity. The ears were webbed and tentacled, the trunk terminated in a huge flaring disk at least a foot in diameter, and the tusks, which intertwined and interlocked at the base of the statue, were as translucent as rock crystal.”
One of the reasons that I’m so fond of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos is its breadth and diversity. H.P. Lovecraft may have originated it but it has long since outgrown his writings. Howard Belknap Long was a writer who added to the Mythos during Lovecraft’s lifetime. His most notable creations are the Hounds of Tindalos and the fellow above, Chaugnar Faugn. All of Lovecraft’s work is in the public domain, easily found and therefore easily read. Long’s work is still under copyright and, because Long has not retained a lot of posthumous popularity, requires some effort to track down. As far as I can tell, the Seattle Library has nothing by him in its collections. As such, I haven’t read The Horror from the Hills, the story that first features Chaugnar Faugn.
But what the hell, I have read T.E.D. Klein‘s Black Man with a Horn, featuring a version of Chaugnar Faugn that only vaguely resembles the original, and I felt like drawing an eldritch abomination so … here he is.
Back in 2011 I illustrated two stories for THE AKLONOMICON, an anthology of Lovecraftian stories and poems. The print run of the book was very limited and it has long since sold out. Sadly (for me) I only have a PDF of the book, not a print version. PDFs and ebooks may be the way most things get published (now and) in the future but I can’t put them on my shelves so they just don’t seem real.
Below is my illustration for “If Company Should Come” by Edward Morris. I don’t think the story has seen print yet anywhere else. That’s unfortunate. Ed is fine fellow and his way with words makes me very very jealous.
Here are some of the sketches I plan to turn into colored illustrations over the next few months. No doubt I will get distracted and work up new sketches before all of these get completed. I’ve also started work on a graphic novel commission that I expect will take up most of the time that isn’t currently filled by my day job. This week I’m just posting these previews and a few other, older illustrations that haven’t made it to this site yet. There may be some weeks where I don’t post. Hopefully not but …
The more I think about it, the less likely it seems that these folks would get together protect humanity from … anything. So what are they doing? Wilbur might still be interested in calling his “father” to Earth but I doubt that Frank (I’m just going to call him that – typing “the Frankenstein Monster” every time is tedious) or Helen would think that was great idea. Maybe they are planning a heist?
I didn’t plan to post this image on Christmas Day. I schedule posts for Sundays and Wednesdays. I finish coloring an image and then put both the black and white version and the color version into the queue. I finished coloring this one on November 7th. The next available slot for posting was today.
Three beings of improbable, one might even say miraculous, birth sharing fellowship. We are all monsters to someone. And we all need a place to call home, if only for moments. So, no, I didn’t plan to post this image on Christmas Day but it seems like an appropriate choice.
Merry Christmas to all you monsters. May you have rest and companionship today. Amen.
“We met, many years ago,” said the Black Man, “in the Burning City at the World’s End. I gave you a charge. Do you remember?”
I nodded. I said, “I carried your package in my dreams and passed it to an ancient queen.”
“Yes,” he said. “I have a favor to ask of you. If you agree to perform it, I will be in your debt. If you decline … well, I make no threats. I will seek another champion but the chances of success will be lessened in the hands of another.”
I frowned. “That still sounds like a threat.”
He smiled, bluish white teeth standing out between black lips. He said, “It is no threat. Your chances of success are slight. But you have spoken with dragons and walked away unburned. It gives you a meager advantage.”
The road stretched out into the late night blackness. The automobile’s headlights illuminated so little. Above us the star filled sky contrasted sharply with the blank emptiness of the surrounding landscape.
Rosa stirred and lifted her head. I heard her taste the inside of her mouth and find the experience unpleasant. “Where are we?” she asked.
“About two hours farther into the middle of nowhere,” I replied.
She reached for the radio knob and began to seek a broadcast. Mostly static rewarded her efforts. Occasional echoes of a voice were caught and quickly lost. And then she found the music.