earliest plan I had for work to appear through The Gorblimey Press
was centered around the state of modern day single picture art. Most
of the potentially good artists today, it seemed to me, were employing
themselves as de-coders for a writer's ideas. Illustrators for stories,
text material in magazines that, as Tom Wolfe observes, serve no other
purpose but to illustrate text and have no value beyond that premise.
In other words: Illustrations that if taken out of context were without
meaning, reason or even, and this is by far the least of all, personal
intensity. It was my intention (and still is) to create pictures that
either told their own story or needed no such backgrounds at all.
The initial pieces I produced were (chronologically) The
The Four Ages, The Ram and the Peacock and Judgement
of the Dead, by the Living. Apart from the Ages all were poster size. I was not at all used
to working big, in fact I had no experience at all, with the exception
of covers and title pages for comics (which average around 10 x 15) my
usual stint was panels of approximately 3 x 4 inches. Still, I felt quite
at ease with the new formats, I might even say very much at home (though
I can't say why).
Sepia Horseman was simple enough,
8 x 10 originally, I did it some months before simply as a sketch to
while away some time, I blew it
up, retouched it, printed it in brown and voila, not the most wonderful
thing I'd ever seen but it served a purpose, that of announcing to
whomever might be interested that I was still working and had a new
was interested happened to be Marvel Comics, initially, and after a
few wink wink, grin grin jokes from Roy Thomas, intimating the likeness of
Horseman to their registered Conan the Barbarian, I found myself naively
the threatened lawsuit they proposed against me could actually be justified.
This caused some bad feelings all 'round which still haven't settled down.
I received calls and letters from Cadence Industries' gangbuster lawyer
that Stan Lee had invented Conan, threatened to put us out of business. The
first dealer to handle The Sepia Horseman was offered
the same threat, and he promptly stopped selling the picture (I found
out a month or so later as he never found
it deemable to inform me). Having a fair knowledge of common law I knew that
the actions of the Cadence lawyer were not just out of line, but plainly unlawful.
I sought my own legal advice. The Sepia Horseman is now a
popular and successful picture. I regard Marvel less, and the freedom that
could have gone under with
my first picture, more valuable than ever.