Author Joe R. Lansdale may be a legendary figure amongst readers of genre fiction and fans of Elvis-y Bruce Campbell movies, but Brookside artist Nathan Fox had never heard of him before being asked to illustrate Lansdales Pigeons From Hell, adapted from the short horror story by Robert E. Howard.
Actually, I'd only known of Howard's stuff from the Conan stories, says Fox, And I started checking out Joe's stuff before I took the job. So I kind of learned all of this at once. A four-issue blast of postmodern Southern Gothica, Pigeons From Hell updates the story of a wicked old house in the Deep South in Lansdales characteristic dark, satirical mode. Foxs brushwork, at once organic, meticulously constructed and visually discursive, grounds Lansdales scary script with a strong sense of location derived from a lifetimes experience.
Joes in Texas, and I grew up in Houston. I'd traveled through similar areas, and used memories of driving through Louisiana, Boy Scout camp trips and creepy old houses, says Fox. East Texas is scary as hell, super-creepy. There's something wickedly spiritual there, and I don't mean in a godly sense. There's something else that lives out there that freaks me out. There were three scorpions that I swear were trying to kill me in Boy Scout camp. I'd hose them down with repellent and finally thought I'd killed them, but then I couldn't find their bodies in the morning.
A consummate illustrator with a bold style, Fox is in high demand. His commercial work has appeared in Wired, Heavy Metal and Time. He approaches his art with research-intensive professionalism; Pigeons From Hell entailed a study of Southern slave plantations and Louisiana swamps. Through the research, I'd get my head into it, had a lot of swampy dreams. I'm starting to realize that I treat it more as acting than just drawing on a page. That sounds like pompous bullshit, but when I draw a face or a figure, I make the expression or the movements. Fox will sign copies of his book today from noon to 5 p.m. and B-Bop Comics.
Sat., Jan. 24, 12-5 p.m., 2009