Friday, 31 December 2010

Found Friday

Two more doodles from my sixth-form biology exercise book (no wonder I only got a D). Here we have a whale with feet and ... er... Wonder Wok. No idea who he is.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Saturday Matinee

Happy Christmas y'all. Watch out for them pesky Martians.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Found Friday late entry - Ralph Kidson

This suddenly came to light, and I had to post it: a Captain Dolphin Christmas card from the mid-90s. I wonder what Ralph Kidson's up to now? We corresponded briefly. I guess I'll just have to webicise him and see whether I can track him down.

Found Friday 5 - Alan Daulby

And finally a real antique (no, not you Alan!). This dates from the mid-80s when I was still well into The Stranglers. I think Jet Black, on the left, looks espcially creepy. This is a shop-bought card with cut outs of photocopies from Strangled magazine and then laminated. Although Alan's not an artist per se - he's a BBC producer - he's very good at creating witty and pertinent one-off cards using cutting and pasting of images, now of course on computer. Actual cutting out and real paste would have been used here!

Found Friday 4 - Anne Elizabeth Robinson

A selection of Christmas cards by my friend Anne (who also created the rather different winged monster I posted on Monday). Most of Anne's cards are printed in modest numbers and sold through local (to North Wales) craft shops, and also in Ireland somewhere, I think. Two of those at the bottom are multilayered with polythene overlays, applied sequins etc. I think the two at top, inspired by Anne's favourite artist Kay Nielsen, are particularly lovely; they're part of a larger set.

Found Friday 3 - Darryl Cunningham

These are going back more than a few years, too. Two appealing designs by someone who is set - at long last - for artist superstardom thanks to the critically acclaimed Psychiatric Tales and, I'm sure, the forthcoming Uncle Bob adventures.

Found Friday 2 - Jonathan Edwards

I always look forward to my Christmas card off Jonathan (and Louise aka Felt Mistress) every year. Here is a selection. The top two date from the mid 90s, 'the Christmas sound' from the late 90s (I think) and the rest from the 2000s. It's interesting to see how the increasing use of a Mac has altered Jonathan's style. I quite like the felt-tip shading on the earlier cards! Pen and ink doesn't affect the wit - I love the Mint Spies. The Christmas sound card was designed as an LP sleeve, with the message pulling out like the inner bag. They're all great but there's something about that monkey catching snow flakes that especially appeals to me. Some of these cards should definitely be made available commercially!

Found Friday 1 - Damian Smyth

First of a selection of Crimbo cards from the past, the first lot by my old friend Damian Smyth. The one above dates from 1995 and his art college days; above that is front and back of a card done while he was still at school; and above that a Christmas doodle dating from about the same time. But what happened to the card he did bearing the legend 'Set Phasers on Cake'? I must go in search of it!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Weird Wednesday

Santa Cthulu by artist Robin Levy. Pinched off somebody's blog and I've forgotten whose. Fun though, eh? There's nothing like a Lovecraftian Christmas.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

True penmanship stamina

Mark E Smith's handy hints on how to rid yourself of writer's block and start scribing 'out of sheer vexation'.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Monstrous Monday

Now that Paranormal Mag has come to an end I thought it would be good to revisit some of the monstrous illustrations I used in the publication. First off this superb 'birdman' drawn by my friend Anne Elizabeth Robinson for issue 33 in support of articles on Owlman and other Winged Humanoids by Janet Bord and Jon Downes. We also used it on the cover.You'll need to click on the image to get the full effect.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Saturday Matinee

'Body of a boy... mind of a monster... soul of an unearthly thing' - ie a typical teenager! Two schlock classics. The 'Frankenstein' make-up was based on Hammer's Curse of... which had shocked audiences with its unflinching technicolor gore so much that they went to see it in droves, making it the most profitable film of the 1950s.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Weird Wednesday

1940s enema erotica from Germany. These strangely glamorous images are a few of the tamest among an increasingly bizarre set I stumbled upon among a bunch of other nefarious stuff. Do nowt for me but I admire the artistry and the gentle perversity of it all. Porn, after all, is rarely chic.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Monstrous Monday

The Gnoles drag away screaming the unlucky Tonker from a story by Lord Dunsany. 'And where they took him it is not good to ask, and what they did with him I shall not say.' The illustration is by Dunsany's regular, Sidney Sime (1912).

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Spooky Sunday

The latest article to be posted on Uncanny UK ( is by Mark Greener, a science jourmalist who contributed a lot to Paranormal Magazine. Here he points out how easy it is for us to let our imaginations run away with us, especially out in the dark countryside. He offers cautionary tales involving screeching owls, distressed hares and a damp badger. The article has been posted in the More Uncanny section, which is for members only, so if you'd like to read it, you'll have to register.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Found Friday

Two slanderous toons of my biology teachers back in 1981: the hirsute Mr Hughes and the speccy Mr Evans. The scrawl next to Mr Hughes reads: I'm afraid we tried to tansfer Rhesus blood into your boy, Mrs Hughes.'

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Giant Claw movie trailer

How fab is this? Surely the shittest monster ever to make the silver screen. It makes the crap vultures in the Sarah Jane Adventures look sophisticated. I wanna see it!

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Sacred Sunday

Funny, doesn't look like a Catholic church.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Saturday Matinee

Two classic sci-fi B-movie posters on a similar theme. In a way they're both what would be considered 'good girl art', a phrase used by collectors of pulp paperbacks: The 50ft woman obviously so, but no more so, in fact, than the squirming figure clutched in Mr Colossal's colossal mitt.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Found Friday

Two Dr Who-related doodles from my biology textbook when I was 16. The top one must have been finished off at home: I can't imagine I'd have felt tips in school [although I would have done, given the chance - ho ho!]. The usual Tom Baker, Harry and Sarah-Jane group - Sarah is only visible by her enormous breast appearing round the side of the Tardis. I quite like the little biroed Tardis being menaced by a giant spider.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Weird Wednesday 2

A jolly illustration by the 15-year-old Dick Doyle who, just a couple of years later was working for Punch and shortly became their most popular illustrator. On January 1 1840 Doyle dad gave him a journal and commanded him to write in it every day - being Doyle he also filled it full of pictures. This picture - intended to indictate all the ideas that were crowding into his head, preventing him from sleeping - is expressive but doesn't convey the absolute brilliance of some of his sketches taken from life, such as the state carriage which rolled past with the young Victoria and Albert aboard. They are extraordinary enough for a boy of 15, never mind that they were basically just scribbled into a diary. Many others already show fully formed the grotesque style for which he would become famous.

This is fun though - dig the emo hair! -and it also shows his interest in fairylore, an enthusiasm he drew on for his few paintings in later life. As well as the illos, the facsimile Journal is written with great brio and shines a light on early Victorian society of the time, intriguingly from the perspective of such a young person - scuffles at the National Gallery, riots at the opera, and rambles in the countryside though places like Willesden, now very much part of London's suburban sprawl.

Weird Wednesday 1

Scandinavian electro outfit DU and 'So Hot'. So-so song but cool video.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Hurry! Hurry!

Don't miss out on your chance to buy Sketchbook Volume 1 by Jonathan Edwards at Just 100 printed. It's trad, dad!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Monstrous Monday

I've just started reading MS Bodley 764, the 13th century Bestiary in the Bodleian Library - er, in translation needless to say. The 2006 edition by Richard Barber (Boydell), set as closely as possible to mimic the original manuscript in dimensions and positioning of the illuminations. At first glance not as many monsters as I might have hoped, but here is a jolly manticore making off with somebody's leg.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Spooky Sunday

Finally reviving Uncanny UK (, although it still has some glitches. My boffin says he'll fix what's wrong with it now and then in January completely revamp into a whizzo site (hopefully). He designed and built the Paranormal Magazine website so should be cool. The latest posts are in regards to eerie tradtions involving crossroads. I couldn't upload an image (one of the glitches), so here is the one I would have used if I could.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Saturday Matinee

The Abominable Dr Phibes and Dr Phibes Rises Again - the last two great American International productions starring Vincent Price. Stylish, camp, full of black humour but also featuring some quite disturbing scenes, they are better than most of the Hammer films and all of the Amicus films of the period (early 70s), and Price is enjoying himself hugely. I love the top poster but it probably didn't draw the crowds.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Weird Wednesday

One more each from my books on Max Klinger and Alfred Kubin before I find space for them on my shelves. Each sinister image is on a similar theme - the exploitation of women by men. This is fairly obvious in the top image, Klinger's 'Caught', one of his 1884 cycle called A Life. Kubin, typically, goes much further in his horrible 'One Woman For All', dating from 1900-01, with those bestial sub-humans gloating over the bound and naked woman, who has apparently been offered to them.

Klinger was a big influence on Kubin and I noticed that another of the A Life series is entitled 'For All' - it shows the girl as a dancer on a floodlit stage, the admiration of all. Then she is 'Caught' (and ultimately falls into debauchery, poverty and a lonely death). Kubin appears to have combined the two concepts grotesquely, replacing the leering dandies with beast men who would out-Hyde Mr Hyde.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Monstrous Monday

For a few quid at a second-hand bookstall a few years ago I picked up a lovely book of Norwegian Folk Tales, published in Oslo in 1960 (but thankfully in English). These great illustrations of a terrifying tramp and some jovial trolls are by Theodor Kittelsen.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Weird Wednesday

Here are two etchings by Max Klinger. The top one is probably his best known image: it's one of a series telling the story of what happens to a lady's glove after she drops it while ice-skating. It's entitled 'Abduction'. When I first saw this picture I assumed it was drawn in the 1920s or 30s - unbelievably, it was actually done in 1881.

'The Glove' series in particular has a strong flavour of Max Ernst about it, so it was no surprise to learn from the book of 'Graphic Works of Max Klinger' (Dover, 2009) I've just bought that Ernst was greatly influenced by Klinger - as was, it would seem, every other surrealist. Notice how the two grasping hands have crashed through two panes of the window, but there is no hole caused by the pterodactyl - a proper paranormal monster!

I'd rather hoped the book would be stuffed with equal madness, but alas this is not so - not to worry, though, because it's all stunning stuff and further elements of weirdness are scattered throughout, such as in 'The Plague', reproduced above.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Monstrous Monday (belated)

There is the first of a two-part article going in Paranormal Magazine issue 55 (out at the end of the month) by Dr Karl Shuker on 'Frgotten Cryptids' - weird, as yet unidentified creatures that even most cryptozoologists seem to have forgotten about. One of the critters Karl highlights is an alleged giant, poisonous water shrew that used to live - of all places - Scotland! He writes:

'According to traditional lore in northern Scotland, certain deep pools and rivers in Caithness were once home to a small yet potentially dangerous mystery beast known as the lavellan.
Although likened in superficial form to a water shrew, it was said to be bigger than a rat and extremely venomous (interestingly, shrews are known to have a weakly venomous bite). Famous naturalist Thomas Pennant investigated reports of it in the 18th century while visiting Ausdale, and learnt that water in which the preserved skin of a lavellan had been soaked was popularly used as a cure for livestock ailments.'

As he points out, even if the tales were true the animal would certainly be extinct by now. Incidentally, Thomas Pennant lived at Whitford, near Holywell, Flintshire.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Spooky Sunday

Master of the Gothic Henry Fuseli with two illustrations of Shakespeare's plays: Hamlet's father's ghost and Richard III tormented by spirits, including the little Princes in the Tower. The latter was done in collaboration with William Blake, I believe, although how exactly I'm not sure.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Saturday Matinee

Blacksploitation at its most preposterous - and fun.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Weird Wednesday

Despite impending joblessness I have, of course, still been spending money on nice books. I decided I 'needed' a book of drawings by Alfred Kubin - and glad I did because it's fantastic, beautifully presented, stuffed full of plates I've not seen before and the artwork is stunningly insane. Hard to choose a couple of representative pix, so I chose these two just because they come under the bracket of 'weird' (and a bit disturbing): 'The Egg' from 1900 and 'The Hour of Death' from 1901-2.