If I had to choose one favorite Clark Ashton Smith story (apart from “The Tale of Satampra Zeiros”, of course) it’d probably be “The Seven Geases.” The story is just so imaginative and dark and full of memorable monsters, and the structure, in which the whole thing is essentially a big shaggy-dog story escalating joke (and yet is completely serious within the world of the story), is so audaciously ridiculous.
Here is my attempt to draw the final monster of “The Seven Geases”: Abhoth, the Source of Uncleanness, perpetually spawning and reabsorbing verminous life in the depths of the underworld. Sadly, only after I drew this, giving it my all, did I realize that my drawing was but a pale shadow (or perhaps a floppy, crawling spawn) of Erol Otus’ illustration of the same thing in the first edition 1980s “Deities & Demigods” D&D sourcebook, which was one of my first exposures to the Cthulhu Mythos back when I was a kid. They renamed it “Shub-Niggurath,” but you know it’s Abhoth. I love Erol Otus’ work with a passion, and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather imitate (unless perhaps… Erol Otus x Hirohiko Araki? Or Erol Otus/Hirohiko Araki/Kazuo Umezu? Is this possible??!?), but next time I draw Abhoth, I PROMISE I WILL SURPASS YOU, EROL OTUS!!
It’s a good time to be a Clark Ashton Smith fan: some folks have just started The Double Shadow, a Clark Ashton Smith readings-and-discussion podcast modeled openly on the original Weird Tales horror-writer podcast, the awesome HP Podcraft. It sounds like a cool group of people, the music & Foley effects are good, and I am thrilled to see Smith starting to get some of the attention he deserves! I can’t wait to just listen to the podcasters’ reactions to the sheer eldritch weirdness, exotic cruelty and nihilism, or to put it another way, the sheer f*cked-uppedness, of Smith’s fiction! I’ve only listened to their first podcast and already I want to read Smith’s letters & poetry, which I’ve never gotten around to. Check out this podcast NOW!! (And of course, you should be listening to HP Podcraft as well, if you aren’t already!)
As usual on Fridays, there’s a new King of RPGs strip over on the King of RPGs website! And if you’re going to Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, Oregon this weekend, please come by and say hello! I’ll be splitting a table with my friends at the Couscous Collective, and I’d love to draw a sketch in your book, talk about Lovecraft, maybe play a RPG, or generally engage in artistic discussion and debauchery.