The art of Grant Gould

Grant Gould is probably most well known for his Star Wars trading card art and illustrating two Star Wars books, Draw Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Draw Star Wars: Rebels. He's also the creator of the original comic series Wolves of Odin and has done awesome art from just about every fantasy and scifi series out there (and even some pop culture characters too). Read the rest

Meet the man who remade Middle‑earth

Ethan Gilsdorf interviews John Howe, Tolkien Illustrator and Conceptual Designer of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogies
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Original Ballantine book cover concept art for J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings on eBay

Tolkien, perhaps rightly in marketing terms, though with the insistent literalism that makes writers writers (which is to say: not artists), demanded, of Barbara Remington's cover art for Lord of the Rings, "What has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why a Lion and emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with the pink bulbs?" Read the rest

Dune endures, but why isn't it a phenomenon?

At The New Yorker, Jon Michaud looks at why Frank Herbert's space opera, Dune, endures despite failing to ender the public consciousness the way Lord of the Rings and Star Wars have.

There are no “Dune” conventions. Catchphrases from the book have not entered the language. Nevertheless ... With daily reminders of the intensifying effects of global warming, the spectre of a worldwide water shortage, and continued political upheaval in the oil-rich Middle East, it is possible that “Dune” is even more relevant now than when it was first published. If you haven’t read it lately, it’s worth a return visit. If you’ve never read it, you should find time to.

A good article, which points out how the first novel's brilliance has been obscured by a distinctly second-rate franchise. A more salient reason Dune didn't penetrate massivedom, though, is simply that the movie wasn't good enough and it bombed. To seal the pop culture deal—and popular culture isn't quite the same thing as mere success or awareness—the screen is all-important. It's the moment of translation, the emergence of a story from the cocoon of literature to the glare of popular culture in all its splendor and squalor. A brilliantly-imagined but confused movie by David Lynch made Dune too weird, and a SyFy TV series made it too cheap. This puts it where Lord of the Rings was before Peter Jackson: pregnant with cinematic possibility, but misshapen by prior efforts.

But hey, it could be worse! You could be into Earthsea, which has had two movies made of it, each terrible in entirely different ways except one: both replaced the protagonist of color with a white dude. Read the rest

The social science of Middle Earth

The Lord of the Rings Project collects and analyzes data on all the characters inhabiting Middle Earth, to produce statistical comparisons of life expectancy, age distribution, population, and more. Read the rest

I, for one, welcome our dork overlords

Somebody named a dinosaur after the Eye of Sauron. Sauroniops pachytholus got its moniker because (so far) only one specimen of this species has been found — the upper part of a skull, eye socket included. Read the rest

Lord of the Rings: The Orcs' side of the story, told in LEGO

[Video Link] A short LEGO parody telling the Orcs' side of the story from Lord of the Rings, Directed and Animated by Kevin Ulrich. Read the rest

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