Cover of the Week : The Traveler In Black

I don't really have a lot to say about this book. I read part of it several years ago and don't remember much other than it is a strange fantasy story about a guy in black who travels. I love this cover though. The art is by Leo Dillon who in addition to his book cover work is known for children's books such as "Why Mosquito Buzzes In Your Ear"

Well that's all I've got for now.

-Sean

 

Lean Times In Lankhmar

Lean Times In Lankhmar Copyright 1996 Borealis Legends

Artwork Copyright Mike Mignola

My first exposure to Fritz Leiber's characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser was actually through the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons supplement, Deities and Demigods.  The original version had several mythos that were later removed for copyright reasons and Fritz Leiber's creations was one of them.  Some of the creatures just fascinated me -  ghouls with green transparent skin so all you can see is their skeletons, the wizards Ningauble of the Seven Eyes and Sheelba of the Eyeless Face, etc.

Fafhrd is a hulking northern barbarian with wild red hair and beard.  The Gray Mouser is a slightly built and cunning child of the city streets.  Through fortune they find themselves allied in common cause in the crowded city of Lankhmar.  That cause, of course, being themselves.

I'm sorry to say that I didn't actually get my hands on any of the stories until Mike Mignola did a comic book version in 1991.  I was now fully hooked on the barbarian and his sneaky companion.  I fell in love with Mignola's art the first time I laid eyes on Hellboy and it lent itself so well to the mean streets of Lankhmar.

When White Wolf published this edition of Lean Times in Lankhmar with a cover by Mike Mignola I absolutely had to own it and all the other collections in the series.

I'm pretty sure I've got those comics in box here somewhere...

-Sean

Red Wall

 It has been over twenty years since I read Red Wall by Brian Jacques.  You can see those years on the cover of this copy.  I only ever read it the once but it's been bumped around a lot and been through many moves.

It is a fun book and remarkably accurate in it's depiction of life in a medieval abbey, despite the fact that all the characters are anthropomorphized animals.  The abbey of Redwall is a good place to live.  Various 'nice' rodents species live together in harmony. "Nice" being things like mice, rabbits, otters and so on.  One day a band of bandits consisting of 'bad' rodents shows ups - rats, weasels, etc.  Being an abbey the residents of Redwall are not very well prepared to hold off the bandits.  So it falls to Matthias, a hapless apprentice, to fulfill a prophecy by recovering the weapons of a great hero of the past.  Finally he must confront Cluny the Scourge, the one eyed bilge rat who leads the horde.

The cover of redwall has changed over time but I think I like this one best.  Not just because it was my first but because it evokes the flavor of the setting so well.

One of the things about this project is that I keep finding artifacts in these old books I haven't looked at in ages.  For instance I found this old bus transfer.  Turns out it's been nearly twenty four years since I read this.

 

-Sean

The Weird of the White Wolf

Ah, Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion.  To be honest I never actually read anything other than the Elric novels, and not even all of them. These books are good, old fashioned, swords and sorcery hack and slash adventure.  They are a bit unusual in that the hero of the stories isn't really so much a hero, or even an anti-hero.  He's an anemic albino kept alive by the sorcery, heir to a corrupt and decadent kingdom that he helped destroy.  In short, Elric of Melnibone is a mess.  Then there's his big black sword, Stormbringer. 

Having helped destroy his homeland Elric can no longer get the potions needed to keep him standing, now he has Stormbringer for that.  Stormbringer is a rune sword powered by Chaos that consumes the souls of it's victims to sustain Elric's strength.  Not a few of which are Elric's friends.  It may come as no surprise that Elric is a brooder.

This is one of the few vintage Elric covers I have.  Elric seems so at peace while Stormbringer sucks out the soul of his victim and feeds a portion of it to him so he might exist another day.