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May 15, 2007

Nerdstalgia: The Erol Otus RPG Illustration Shrine

I wasn't a real fan, and was often put off by his seemingly deliberately-crude illustrations. I couldn't tell a lot of the time if he was some kind of artsy-minded adherent of the naive school of art or just a bad illustrator.

His good pieces show he had talent, so I guess he had some kind of manifesto of the ugly and crude in art working. I mean, what the hell is this?


Is this supposed to be a worthy opponent in a dungeon or the world's least popular Muppet character?

But a lot of people loved him. He could do more conventional stuff when he wanted. Of course his best work was done in the Cthulhu chapter of Dieties & Demigods -- his weird, ugly style perfect for the weird, ugly things of Lovecraft's writing. Like this guy:


A little complaint from my 12-year-old self: Otus drew a lot of impossibly-erect nipples, but the effort was often ruined by the fact he drew them on some repulsively cartoonishly creature that only had a chance resemblance to a woman. I mean, come on. Help a brotha out, Erol.


Would I hit it? Yes. Would I brag about it? No.

For a lot of old-school Otus, check out the shrine. Damn, no psychadelic pic from the Top Secret module Rapidstrike. Would have liked to have seen that one again, just for shits and grins.

There's no James Holloway shrine on the web. There's stuff about David A. Trampier, mostly about his mysterious disappearance from the business and long-presumed death, at least until his mysterious reapperance as a taxi driver who attempts to keep his previous occupation of D&D illustrator a secret. Even when people are just asking to pay him to reprint old Wormy comics, he tells them to lose his phone number and never call again.

I guess all of us reformed, recovering, or even unregenerate geeks know that feeling... but most of us don't take it to that kind of Eddie & The Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! extreme.

Then again -- do we dare dream? -- perhaps he's plotting his back-from-the-dead comeback with the RPG illustration equivalent of Eddie's Fire Suite, or whatever the hell Eddie's "groundbreaking" album was called.

Thanks to Asher.

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posted by Ace at 06:37 PM

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