Mar 30, 2013

AM Portrait: The other Swamp Thing

Illustration © Chris McLoughlin
In the following you can read a short article written by Dylan Horrocks and included in Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (2003, Abiogenesis Press, page 59). In the piece Horrocks remembered a "lost project" about comics creators and their creations and... Alan Moore. With illustration by artist Chris McLoughlin (page 58).

Posted on this blog with the authors' permission.  

The other Swamp Thing
© Dylan Horrocks

Not long ago I was developing a series for Vertigo, centered on the exploits of a comics company and its various employees. The twist was that all the comics they published were entirely true and their stars (Doctor Occult, Adam Strange, the Phantom Stranger, the Swamp Thing and other such DC-Vertigo characters) were all real people. There was a small team of cartoonists, each of whom was given the job of following around one of those heroes and recording their adventures and everyday lives accurately and truthfully in the form of a monthly comic book.

One of those cartoonists was going to be a thinly disguised version of Alan Moore (or at least the 1980s Alan Moore), who would shamble into the editorial office once a month, his legs caked with mud from the Louisiana swamp, his long hair and beard full of twigs and leaves and nesting insects, his breath sweet with whatever hallucinogenic fruit he’d recently chewed, to drop a pile of paper on the editor’s desk. Then with a grunt, this mysterious cartoonist would turn and go, heading back to his beloved swamp, leaving behind a trail of mud and strange aromas and, of course, the latest issue of Swamp Thing.  His comic, of course, would be beautiful – a magical, moving masterpiece, full of philosophical musings and profound insight into the human condition and our place in the natural world. It would also be trippy, sexy, pungent and disturbing.

When I described this project to the incredibly talented young cartoonist Chris McLoughlin (who’d drawn a guest-artist issue of  Hunter: the Age of Magic), he was so taken with it that he went home and drew this sketch, which summed my idea up perfectly. Needless to say, the project was eventually turned down, although I still intend to do it one day (stripped of its DC properties, of course). But here, for posterity, is Chris’s perfect sketch of the other Swamp Thing: the mystical magus of Louisiana…
Illustration © Chris McLoughlin

Mar 27, 2013

Alan Moore and Tripwire 21st anniversary

Cover of Tripwire Vol. 4, N.11, June-July 2002
Tripwire was one of the best comics-related publications produced in the past 20 years. It was created by talented and brave editor Joel Meadows and featured great materials from industry's top authors, articles, never or rarely seen art and also... included several interviews and pieces about Alan Moore and his work.
Even if the magazine ceased regular publication, 2013 marked its 21st anniversary and so it’s crowd funding at Kickstarter in order to produce a paperback and a hardcover collection.

The Kickstarter page is HERE: only 17 days left to pledge the project!!!

"Clocking in at 176 pages and A4 in size, the book will include classic TRIPWIRE interviews with creators like Mike (Hellboy) Mignola, Alan (Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) Moore, Frank Quitely (All-Star Superman, Batman & Robin), Grant Morrison (Batman Inc., Joe The Barbarian), Peter Milligan (Hellblazer, Justice League Dark), James (Starman, The Shade) Robinson and more. Also, it will feature a lot of brand new material like a selection of features looking at the key trends and issues of the past twenty years like the best and worst comic and genre movies 1992-2012, the twenty comic creators who have come to prominence over the last twenty years and topics like digital comics, the rise of the independent graphic novel and much more.
It will also include a gallery of images, a selection of rarely seen and new for the book, from a stellar line-up of the best comic artists and illustrators in the business including: Tim Bradstreet, Howard Chaykin, Dave Dorman, Garen Ewing, Duncan Fegredo, Henry Flint, Phil Hale, 
Jon Haward, Michael Kaluta, Joe Kubert, Roger Langridge, David Morris, Mike Mignola, Mike Perkins, Sean Phillips, Frank Quitely, Greg Ruth, Walter Simonson, Drew Struzan, Dave Taylor
, Ben Templesmith, Chris Weston."

You can see more previews on Meadows’ blog.
The Kickstarter page is HERE.

Mar 20, 2013

AM Portrait: A small sense of not belonging

An old map of Northampton
In the following you can read a piece written by well-known and prolific Italian comics writer Alessandro Bilotta (currently working on Dylan Dog and other stories for Italian best selling comics company Sergio Bonelli) originally included in Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book (2003, Abiogenesis Press, pp. 185-190).
Personally I always considered Bilotta's contribution as one of the most interesting in the book... and, telling the whole truth, a bit spooky, too. I am sure Alan liked it. Enjoy!

Posted on this blog with the author's permission. 

A small sense of not belonging

Dear Sir Alan Moore,
I hope you will forgive me because I do not exist.

I arrived in Northampton in July of 1985 on a local train which took a strange route, stopping in a lot of small towns in the south. On the last exhausting part of the journey I fell asleep, breaking all the solid principles of diffidence and prudence which, to a great extent, are responsible for what I am today. Or, if you prefer, for what I am not. Just a second to realise that my Prince of Wales jacket was still folded in four on the seat in front of me, and I started running down the narrow corridor looking for a ticket inspector who could tell me if I had missed my stop. The train stopped at yet another town. “Bedford” the sign said. A man with good manners, but with clay on his shoes, explained in an apparently kind way that we would arrive in Northampton in half an hour’s time. But I didn’t trust him and so I asked the inspector who confirmed what he had said. Once back in my compartment I checked that the suitcase was still in the space above the seat in front of mine and then stayed standing so I would not fall asleep again.

The house was welcoming, shabby and clean. You got a smell of newness yet of already used. I don’t know if you, Sir Alan, have ever bought a brand new car. Up to a little while ago I was not able to afford one. What you feel is something very like opening the box of a toy when you are a child. You are sure that that thing is yours because nobody has ever touched it before you. It is an inexact conclusion because someone will have taken that toy from the production line to put it inside the box.  But the difference between that one and another bought in a flea market is, in my opinion, the smell. I can say that the sour smell of a material which has been kept in a box or in an environment which preserves its original characteristics can give the impression of being virgin. And give the apparent omnipotence to do with it what you will. Prints, shoes, motorcars and apartments are all part of this same olfactory category. To walk into a rented apartment or buy a used car is an experience which leaves no smell because someone has already consumed it.

The first time I saw you, Sir Alan, was in the Grosvenor Shopping Centre. I would tell a lie if I were to say it was intentional. It was one of my first days in Northampton and I was still trying to settle in, I was almost not thinking about you. Later this would make me reflect on the strange way human destinies pursue one another.
That hair, that beard and that dragging walk, what seediness, I thought. You were   wearing a green spring jacket, with a military late-Seventies cut, the kind of jacket which was very popular with anti-militarists. Certainly not a designer jacket. And so I got the idea of following you as you made your way along the main aisle of the centre, your head down with that touch of agoraphobia which suits artists, like someone who is afraid that another person can pinpoint his own diversity. Like me who, in the midst of dozens of people, was afraid of losing you, and followed your unmistakable silhouette.
You went into the bookshop of the shopping centre and asked an assistant at the cash desk if the book you had ordered had arrived. The assistant apologised for the further delay and added that it was not easy to find but that they had guaranteed it would be there on the Friday of the following week. I pulled out my notebook and made a careful note of the title and author of the book. You went towards the exit, stopping for a second to peep at the first of a series of calendars on sale next to the door, then you left disappearing from my sight. This time I did not follow you. I went over to the shelves of novels which were piled up according to the author’s surname and searched for one which was not there, but could be easily found. I went over to the cash desk and asked if they had Camus’ “The Stranger”. The cashier got up and went over to the same point where I had looked for the book that was not there. That point which the inflexible alphabetical order had assigned to it. Returning to the cash desk he told me they did not have it, but that if I ordered a copy it would arrive in a short period of time. A question of two or three days. I left my surname and telephone number and headed towards the door. I took a step back to take a peep at the calendar which had caught your attention. It was illustrated by a certain Hokusai.
Three days later an assistant took a copy of “The Stranger” from a shelf on which the books ordered by clients were piled up neatly behind the cash desk. The shelf was clearly visible and within everyone’s reach. I peeped to see if your book had arrived, but it was too early. The bookshop was punctual in its delay.
On the Thursday evening of the following week the book was on the shelf. I could get close to it without any problem. You would pick it up only the next morning.
Returning home that evening I thought how much one of your fans would have envied me. Does the logic of the fanatic exist in the world of comic strips? I had met you, followed you, and got close to you. My glance had fallen on you recognising you as being different in the midst of hundreds of people. But I was not the slightest bit interested in your work, nor had I ever read anything you had written, because I don’t read comics. Indeed I thought you were an illustrator, I didn’t think there was a difference between the two roles, the person who writes the comic and the person who draws it. All this stimulated me and as soon as I got home from my suitcase I pulled out the last Superman Annual I had bought shortly before leaving. I read it and let it drop on the couch. I went over to the window and pulled the curtain aside a little to see your house on the other side of the road. The lights were on.

Did you know there is also a Northampton in America, in Massachusetts, and that there is even one in Australia? During my entire stay I always asked myself what they could have in common with yours. If, by some contorted destiny, they had illegitimately taken possession of some other detail which was not the originality of the name.
I found the neighbourhood horrible. A long row of houses which stretched as far as the eye could see like a long spinal chord of the fossil of a brachiosaurus disappearing around the curve of the horizon. These kind of panoramic monstrosities do not exist where I come from. They cannot even be compared with Hell, because there you imagine things to be in perpetual motion and constantly changing like inside the crater of a volcano. Northampton, on the other hand, looked like a motionless advertisement for a Fifties white goods company. Yet I liked it.
For my job I have travelled and still travel often. But I never get used to that feeling of being a stranger. Funny isn’t it? How can someone who does not exist feel part of something? Every place I visit remains at a distance from me, everything is lovely and sometimes even welcoming, but it remains at a distance as if waiting for me to go back to where I came from and take back my own place. And so, when you travel, everything is like an invitation to a party, you are enjoying it, but you can’t take off your shoes and fall asleep on the couch, because the very reason you feel well is because you do not belong to that place. It rolls off your back. And so, Sir Alan, I don’t know if you agree, but finding oneself in another city, be it on business or holidays, makes it even more enjoyable, perhaps only because it is easier to accept. We don’t belong to it and it does not belong to us. The next morning, after waking up, there is no traffic to make us late and no work to go to. Because we come from somewhere else. We are not there. In my case we do not even exist.
And so Northampton could even have poured cement over those few flowerbeds left along the road, the little houses could have squeezed even closer together like packets of cigarettes, that grey sky could even have made me keep the light on at ten in the morning. I was a spectator.

Next to the window Hokusai’s calendar stared at me, open at the first page, January 1986, although it was July 1985. I stared at it in a dream while the lights of the house on the other side of the street filtered dimly through the design on the curtain and were imprinted on my retina. Two men crossed a bridge which seemed to be suspended in space. It must have been a rope bridge because under their weight it was bent almost into a V. Except for a detail which struck me about the two men, it would have been possible to lose oneself in the scene depicted. The impression was that of finding oneself higher up than the mountain tops, so much so as to be surprised that the birds managed to be so high up, violating an apparently virgin place. The bridge seemed to be beyond the clouds. But the two men caught my attention more than the rest. They both seemed to be intent and decided on the same destiny. Perhaps they barely knew one another, but they were both certain they had to go where they were going. Together and for the same reasons. But then why was only one of them carrying an enormous weight on his shoulders while the other following him was carrying practically nothing? Maybe the direction was the same, but the determination was not.
From the headphone I listened carefully to your conversations, you, Phyllis, Amber, Leah and Deborah. Presumably the book was at a transit point of the house, perhaps at the entrance. I waited until you had gathered all your conversations and left. I saw you get into the car, that embarrassing heap of tin which looked like a coffin. I waited a few minutes. Then I crossed the road and entered.

I have to admit it was a rash thing to do. It was not my business yet I felt it was my duty. As soon as I was out of your house I didn’t head straight for my house, but turned left and once again recalled all the details of that strange experience. I started with those which were closest. Your living room, the bedroom and the smell of the clothes in the wardrobe. The bathroom, the children’s room and the view from the window. The glass was a perfect frame for the house on the other side of the road, it was the same as all the others, yet at the same time more anonymous. The lights were off and maybe the person who lived there was asleep, but no, it was too early. There was nobody at home. Perhaps the lodger was at a party with friends, in a restaurant with a woman, or perhaps quite simply by himself at the cinema, comfortably seated watching the lives of others on a white sheet. Or better still, nobody lived in that house. Yes, that was probably the assumption closest to the truth. Often there is no need to travel with fantasy to seek the reality of facts. Sometimes the facts just don’t exist.
Then I was distracted by the thought of that huge horrible painting which hung on your wall. But I had learned that your genius often goes arm in arm with bad taste, although it is something I find unpardonable. In the meantime I had come close to a fence which enclosed a park. I sat down on it and fixed my gaze on a small lake inside the park. Then I picked up the thread of my thoughts again. What infinite coincidences had brought me there? Among the people I had just got to know in Northampton some of them had even been willing to become friendly with the newcomer. But I had not arrived, I was merely passing through. I even remember, Sir Alan, the time a policeman came round and wanted to use my house as a look out for your house. Really crazy, don’t you think? Forgive the irony but don’t worry, I refused.
Sitting on that fence I was overcome by a profound sense of sadness and I remembered that Superman Annual you had written and which I had read a short time earlier. When Kal stops the fluctuations in the crater and descends to think, his gaze lost in space, followed by the anxious eyes of his son Van. The son asks for explanations and looks for a concrete word or gesture which only his father can give. But Kal, on the other hand, feels that everything is unreal, he himself is making contact with what is around him, he can no longer perceive a relationship with the outside world. Just as when one is desperate. And so he feels the world is moving away, although at the same time he is moving away from the world. Does this ever happen to you, Sir Alan? Do you ever get the impression, at times of great difficulty, that you are cut off from everything else? Do you get the impression that the more you try to recapture a rapport, the more it draws away like a floating feather when you try to grab it too violently? Do you never get the impression that you cannot even pronounce a word which comes close to describing all this?

I got down from the fence and returned to the two houses. One facing the other and so different. Yet so dependent one on the other, more so than you perhaps can even imagine. I opened the door of my house and crossed the hall without turning on the light, holding out one hand so as not to run into the door of my room. I opened it banging it against the almost full suitcase which was lying on the ground. I turned on the light. I gave one last look at the notes I had written carefully in pencil on a very long sheet of paper, of the kind they use in printers, and then threw it into the suitcase. I got undressed and sat for a while on the side of the bed stroking my thighs the wrong way up, letting the many little needles wake up and straighten up on my skin. I turned off the light and slept.

I don’t know why I am telling this story of my brief stay only now, Sir Alan. Maybe because it concerns you very closely, maybe because I think you can understand. I hope you will forgive me because, after all, I have neither a face nor a soul. I hope you will forgive me for having allowed myself some boring dissertations, but then the people I used to know always said I was verbose. Ironic isn’t it. After all, it is the people around us who are historians and biographers and, as historians and biographers, give their version of us. Which is the version that lasts in time. Now only a few people surround me, and the things I have told you are perhaps something of a liberation for me. I hope that one day, Mr Moore, you will want to tell the small story of a man who does not exist.

Mar 14, 2013

Mouse Guard/Watchmen mash-up

Art by David Petersen
David Petersen mixes his popular Mouse Guard with... Watchmen!
For more info about David Petersen visit his site here.

Mar 11, 2013

AM Portrait: Moore Morality

Alan Moore as Tom Strong by Dylan Horrocks.
In the following you can read a piece originally written in 2002 by New Zealand comics artist and writer Dylan Horrocks, included in Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book (2003, Abiogenesis Press, page 75).

Posted on this blog with the author's permission.

Moore Morality

I still remember the first time I noticed Alan Moore's name. I was 15 or 16 and an avid reader of the British weekly comic 2000AD, which I would pick up every Thursday on the way home and happily lose myself in for half an hour with an after-school snack. This must have been around 1982, because ET was going great guns at the boxoffice and I guess the editors of 2000AD wanted to cash in on that with a cheap imitation of their own. To their credit they gave the job to Alan Moore. The resulting serial was called SKIZZ and by the end of the first episode I knew this was much more than a cheap Spielberg ripoff. I looked up the name of the writer (or 'script droid' as 2000AD wryly put it) who'd taken such a lame brief and turned it into a tense, funny, moving and politically provocative story (complete with witty references to Alan Bleasdale's searing indictment of the unemployment-economy, "Boys from the Blackstuff"). It was an easy name to remember: "Alan Moore". Before long, it was a name no-one could ignore.

American fans usually view "Swamp Thing" and "Watchmen" as Moore's breakthrough stories - the books with which he changed comics forever. Personally, I'm struck by how the key elements of what makes Moore so special are there from the very beginning: the ability to take a trashy formula or forgettable character and shape them into something fresh, profound and beautiful - while at the same time managing to impart a genuinely respectful sense of what was precious about the original. The humour, the literacy, the intelligent political analysis, the technical virtuosity, the sincerity and warmth. And above all (for me), a deep and genuine moral core to his work.

I don't think it's possible to overstate how influential Alan Moore's work has been in the English-speaking comics world. I still hear echoes of "Marvelman" in almost every superhero comic I pick up these days - usually pale, shallow echoes, but they're there nonetheless (and don't get me started on "Watchmen"). "Swamp Thing" effectively gave birth to the entire body of work known as Vertigo Comics (though it's still better than any of them). And now ABC Comics is hauling the mainstream comic in a whole new direction again - actually in two or three new directions (and how many retro-styled tribute covers have we seen since "Promethea" and "Tom Strong" started the trend?).

The extent of this influence is our blessing and Moore's curse. A curse because most of the work that has come in his wake has stolen some superficial elements of Moore's narrative style or tone, while failing to notice what makes his comics REALLY good. Because by trying to make mainstream comics grow up, all he managed (in many cases) was to push them into a rowdy, obnoxious, pretentious adolescence. I love the fact that now, with "Tom Strong", Moore is gently leading us back to childhood again.

But as influential as Moore has and continues to be, that's not what really makes me love his work. It's the work itself. From odd forgotten 80s gems like "Captain Britain" to the phenomenal "From Hell", from ephemeral humour strips like "The Bojeffries Saga" to the deeply serious political manifesto "V for Vendetta", from accessible 'mainstream' adventure stories like "Tom Strong" to the labyrinthine, intensely personal "Birth Caul", Moore's work is always a masterpiece. Sure - he's one of the greatest craftspeople we've ever had. But even that's not the real issue for me.
Top Ten N.8 cover by Gene Ha.
Let me tell you about the moment I realised just how lucky we are to have him in our strange little literary ghetto. You remember the issue of "Top Ten" when there's been an accident at a teleportation pad? Much of that issue consists of one of our heroes sitting with two of the accident's victims as they slowly die. They talk, they cry, they struggle with fear, they wait for the inevitable. This came as something of a surprise to me, since the previous issues of "Top Ten" had basically been an entertaining and playful spin on TV cop shows. Suddenly, out of the blue - this! At first, I even thought Moore had inserted the incident as black comedy - which seemed uncharacteristically callous of him. But as the issue unfolded, I realised - with that shiver up the spine I associate with so much of Moore's work - that he was putting me through something much worse - and much more valuable. I don't know if this issue was written out of the same impulse that led to "The Birth Caul," but it had the same effect on me. By the last page, I was in tears. It was genuinely moving in the way that only the most sincere and meaningful work can be. Moore was facing the reality of death, not unafraid but free of illusions and sentiment. The closest thing to that issue I can think of is the long passage in "War & Peace" where Andrei is dying.

It was impressive, sure - but ultimately I don't give a shit about impressive. I wasn't crying because Moore had written the thing so damn well. I was crying because he'd taken all his own grief and the lessons he'd learnt from it and had distilled them into this crazy little comic about superheroes and interdimensional travel. He'd given us a gift, carefully copied from the scars on his own heart.

That's what I mean when I say that what really makes Alan Moore's work special is its morality. His work is pure and sincere. And utterly, deeply humane. It was clear in SKIZZ and it's clear in everything he's written since. It was radiantly clear in "This is Information" - his contribution to one of the 9-11 benefit books. Moore's story was intelligent, moving and profoundly mature. He even managed to express perfectly my own complex ambivalence towards the American comics industry's response to the events of September 11. Once again, I was grateful to the man who could pull this off - not because it was a good comic; but because he said what someone needed to say.

I don't care if he worships an ancient snake god and summons demons in his spare time. I would trust Alan Moore with my soul. And every time I pick up one of his comics, that's exactly what I do. 

The League comes to Berlin!

Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil at Gosh! Comics.
Last Saturday, 9th March, during the signing at Gosh! Comics, Alan Moore said that the next League book is set in 1941 and called The Roses of Berlin. Then another stand alone book is planned before going back to League Volume 4." [from Bleeding Cool]

Mar 7, 2013

Patron Saint of Comics

ALAN MOORE, Patron Saint of Comics, Servant of Anarchy and Glycon.

Mar 6, 2013

An extraordinary Nemo screenprint

Art by Kevin O'Neill
From Gosh! site: "We have a Nemo screenprint by Kevin O’Neill (signed by Kevin and Alan Moore) and it’s also on sale now for £90. We’ll ship anywhere in the world. [...] go straight to our online shop and click the “buy” button. And be quick! Only 250 of these exist in the world."

Mar 3, 2013

AM Portrait: Antonio Solinas homage

Alan Moore portrait by Darkinc1
From the sold-out Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman book (2003, Abiogenesis Press, page 64), in the following you can read a short text written by friend and comics expert Antonio Solinas.
The text has been posted on this blog with the author's permission.

Wearing Alan Moore
© Antonio Solinas

It is always the same old story. Think about when either famous pop stars or attractive TV presenters are interviewed about the last book they read. It is always, invariably, something by Hermann Hesse, Stephen King, or The Manifesto of The Communist Party (strangely enough, nobody ever reads Das Capital…).
Probably they think (and the same holds for the public, or so it seems) that there is no chance that you can be considered stupid, if you have read Hesse. Or, better, if you say that you have read Hesse.
The use of the literary “name”, in the head of the VIP, becomes analogous to a fashion brand: something comfortable, often to be shown off in public. Like a Ralph Lauren jumper or a Versace suit…
It seems like a ridiculous behaviour, something to joke about (maybe taking the piss out of Beckham), but if we reflect carefully, something similar has been happening in comics for about 15 years.
Whether preview editions, interviews or collections introductions, the result does not change. In comics, the name that needs to be brought up is the one of Mr. Alan Moore from Northampton.
Moore, amongst the comics cognoscenti, has obtained this status, almost embarrassingly so: if his name is not mentioned during an interview, it’s a mistake that’s almost a crime.
The fact that Moore is (almost) a compulsory reference, though, demonstrates the greats skills and immense talent of the Man with the Beard.
In fact, while the previously mentioned TV personalities try to ease the pressure using lazy references, who mentions Moore’s name does it as a precise choice and, most of all, after he’s read his book. It is not a minor distinction. Moore is acclaimed first among equals by both his colleagues and the readers. This has been going on for over a decade. In the very fickle world of entertainment, where trends and taste change very quickly (too quickly, if you ask me), I think it’s not too bad, really.
The late great Italian actor Carmelo Bene liked to define himself “a living legend”.
Today, this definition can be attributed (at least, this is the case in comics) only to Alan Moore.
The production of the great English writer has covered, sometimes in an almost schizoid fashion, every sub genre of comics available on the US market. It is probably a well known fact in Europe (but maybe not in America) that Moore wrote everything between the groundbreaking From Hell and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
The “living legend” Moore holds a very remarkable record: not only does he unite critics and fans in the unconditional praise for his work, but the man from Northampton also makes fans among any kind of audience. As it is always the case for a true Prince of Darkness, Moore’s aficionados range from the flaccid sixty-something to the spotty teenager.
Moore’s public is really unclassifiable, from loyal mainstream superhero readers (the ones who enjoy only the trendiest Wildstorm comics) to radical “indie” supporters. In any other mass media, this is simply inconceivable.
Today fame and respect seem to be obtainable only by selling out, trying to please the vilest instincts of the masses. Check the TV, if you don’t believe me. What is supposed to be “popular” becomes “vulgar”.
But there is someone who reminds us it does not have to be this way.

Long live, Mr. Alan Moore, and thanks for everything.

Mar 2, 2013

AM Portrait: The Moore the Better!

Art by Duncan Fegredo
From Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman (Abiogenesis Press, 2003), page 118 of the sold-out volume.

Above, you can admire an amazing illustration featuring Halo Jones, one of Moore's best creations, realized by British Master artist DUNCAN FEGREDO.

The illustration has been posted on this blog with the author's permission.
For more info about FEGREDO visit his site: here.