Here are some pretty good doodles I just came across in one of my notebooks from USC. Something tells me these are from around the time that 300 and TMNT came out.
My short story “Cats in Victory” will be appearing later this year in the new online science fiction mag Lightspeed, edited by John Joseph Adams. For more on the origins of the story, read this post here. Basically the story is a response to some of the stuff that bugs me about the Saturday morning cartoons I grew up with.
And here’s a colorized version of Jandan’s fan art for the story. This is a prequel image, sort of her concept of what the character Lion might have looked like in his early “Anakin Skywalker” phase, before he turned into the person (er … cat person) we see in the story.
Here’s an illustration for my short story “Family Tree” (which will be appearing later this year in the John Joseph Adams anthology The Way of the Wizard):
This was a birthday/Christmas present from my parents. It was done by a staggeringly talented young artist named Michael J. DiMotta, who I picked out after randomly coming across his website. I came up with the basic (triptych) layout, but most of this was all him — the mammoth, baroque design of the tree, the sunset sky, the pyrotechnic magic. Obviously he put an insane amount of work into this thing, but I guess he’s not sick of it yet, because now he’s interested in adapting the story into a graphic novel, which we’re currently pitching to editors.
Here are some details:
Garrett, Elizabeth, Sebastian (baby), Bernard, Simon
Malcolm, Meredith, Meredith’s mother, Nathan
The Tree of Victor Archimagus
A month later Simon stood and regarded the tree of Victor Archimagus.
It was gigantic, its trunk as wide around as a castle wall. A good way up, the trunk split into a great V — the two branches that had grown upon the births of Victor’s sons, Franklin and Atherton. From there the branches continued to climb and divide — one for each legitimate male heir — and now over a hundred descendants of the late wizard resided within the tree’s luxurious chambers. (Female children were married off and sent away — Victor had never been a terribly enlightened sort.) The tree was a virtuoso feat of spellcraft, the first of its kind, and upon its creation Victor had been so impressed with himself that he’d taken the surname Archimagus — master wizard. Simon was the only one to have successfully replicated the spell. Families that possessed the rare gift of magic seemed always to be afflicted with low fertility, but the fact that Victor’s tree grew larger and grander depending upon the number of offspring had ensured a frenetic effort to proliferate his adopted surname, and had also — perhaps inevitably — led to a rivalry between the descendants of Franklin and the descendants of Atherton over who could produce the greatest number of male heirs. At the moment it happened that the two halves of the tree were in perfect balance. Today’s presentation ceremony for Bernard’s infant son would change that.
Note: Firefox has a bug which causes it to display colors wrong, so for the full effect use other software to view these images.
She writes, “I’d been meaning to listen to ‘The Skull-Faced Boy’ ever since listening to you read ‘The Skull-Faced City,’ but only got around to it lately, now that it’s cold outside and school is out. I drew while I listened, and it ended up being Ashley, freshly skull-faced.”
So here we have Dustin (the skull-faced boy), Jack (now a decapitated head), Ashley (Dustin’s bride), and Park (a former scout sniper who works as a sort of bounty hunter for Dustin and who goes masked when outside the city to hide his skull face):
And here’s Park without his mask:
Here’s some great new fan art I just received. The first piece, by Blazeblackwing, depicts the characters from my story “The Skull-Faced Boy” as they appear at the end of that tale. It’s funny, I don’t know if anyone remembers what my website used to look like back in 1999, but the main graphic looked almost exactly like the half-skull smiley face on Ashley’s T-shirt there.
The second piece, by Jandan, is a sort of prequel image for my story “Cats in Victory,” in which she imagines what the characters Lion and Tiger might have looked like ten or fifteen years before the story takes place, when the deadly and vainglorious Lion was just a shy pupil.
Cats in Victory was a long-running series of mostly unfinished cat vs. dog picture books I did starting at about age 4. I recently rewatched season 1 of Thundercats, which just came out on DVD, and found the show nowhere near as good as I remembered, and I was actually kind of irritated by a lot of the unexamined subtext of the show re: ugly and/or different = evil / mindless deference to authority (especially supernatural authority) / reflexive violence, so I decided to resurrect Cats in Victory, which in its original incarnation was wholly shaped by these messages I absorbed as a kid, and repurpose the fictional world as a critique of some of the values (or lack thereof) of children’s television.
DarkAlley001, creator of the second image, says, “Recently I’ve become a maniac about podcasts — can you blame a person when the news is so depressing? One of these would be Pseudopod, an amazing source of horror/suspense/thriller short stories. I’ve been thinking of creating something for these stories for awhile, and with Halloween just around the corner, I feel inspired.”
I just set up a deviantART profile and posted some of my drawings there. Anyone else on the site? If so, friend me.
While there, I came across this cool story: deviantArtist to Work With Simpsons! Basically, an amateur artist posted a really cool manga-style illustration of the cast of The Simpsons. The image became super-popular, and eventually attracted the notice of Bongo Comics (founded by Matt Groening), who hired the artist to do some work for them. She was also contacted by 20th Century Fox about potentially working on a Futurama relaunch.
Here’s an illustration I did for my short story “Family Tree.”
Jandan’s spectacular fan art for my story “The Skull-Faced Boy” gave me an idea, so I’m going to try a little experiment. If anyone out there wants to do an illustration for one of my stories, I’ll post it on my blog and link to your website and probably also talk about how cool you are.
This blog gets a fair amount of traffic these days, including a lot of people who work in publishing, and illustrations I’ve posted appear pretty high in Google and get a lot of random people looking at them every day.
So if you know an artist who would be interested in the modest exposure of being featured on my blog, pass the word along.
Check out my Stories page to see what I’ve published. Stories that are free to read online are marked with a “Read” link.
Here a complete gallery of fan art I’ve received so far.
The artist writes:
So I got the anthology The Living Dead about two weeks ago. DEVOURED the book. And this is the one story that really sticks out. I’ve had this image in my head ever since I read the short story … I don’t think I quite did the image justice, but for the most part I am happy with it nonetheless. If you are a zombie nut, GO READ THIS STORY. Hell, GO BUY THE BOOK. You will NOT be disappointed.
Check out the rest of her portfolio over on deviantArt.
Merlyn’s Pen has posted the full text of my short story “The Sorcerer & The Charlatan.” This piece, which I wrote when I was about fifteen, was the first story I ever wrote that got published.
Merlyn’s Pen was a long-running, high-quality magazine of writing by teenagers. Two of my stories appeared there, and I’m now listed as one its “success stories,” along with folks such as Curtis Sittenfeld (Prep), Amity Gaige (O My Darling), Dara Horn (In the Image), and Asma Hasan (Why I Am a Muslim). I guess this means I’m now officially a “success story.” Awesome. I can’t wait to tell my parole officer. He’ll be so proud. Anyway, my story “Pomegranate Heart,” which appeared in Merlyn’s Pen, is available on their site, if anyone wants to read something I wrote when I was in high school.
One of the best parts about being published in Realms of Fantasy was seeing the beautiful artwork they did for each story. Here are the illustrations for my stories that appeared in the magazine:
“Seven Brothers, Cruel” by Kyle Anderson and Myunghee Lee
“Seeds-for-Brains” by Scott Goto
“Blood of Virgins” by Huan Tran
“Save Me Plz” by HyeJeong Park
“Transformations” by Rob Johnson
Now with pretty colors:
We arrived at the spaceport, parked the car, and strode into the bar. As we passed through the front door, Don suddenly shrieked and leapt behind me, his eyes darting wildly about the room.
“What?” I said. As far as I could see there was nothing to fear here other than the happy hour crowd — your typical assortment of lowlifes and deadbeats who would frequent a place like this.
Don cried out, “Aliens, man!”
“Don,” I said. “There’s no such thing as aliens.”
“Oh yeah?” he said, pointing to an empty chair. “What do call that?“