Monday, 14 October 2019

Elric Of Melnibone: While The Gods Laugh



Elric Of Melnibone is, after Conan, THE major Sword & Sorcery character, and in many ways is almost the anti-Conan. He's a sorcerer as well as a warrior, and spends an awful lot of time brooding about the bad lot he's been dealt in life. Two things our favourite Cimmerian would never be seen doing.
He's also the main entry point for most readers into creator Michael Moorcock's vast Multiverse of characters, and is everybody's favourite version of that particular cycle's Eternal Champion.
He's one of the great characters in fiction, endlessly fascinating and three-dimensional, but hasn't always been served well in comics. Possibly because his saga has a definite ending, it's hard to do a lot of stories about him, so those that have been done are perhaps seen with a more critical eye than a longer lasting character like Conan.
One artist absolutely born to draw Elric is Craig Russell, who joins with ace adapter Roy Thomas here for While The Gods Laugh. Not only is this the archetypal Elric story in terms of it's definition of both his and his world's view, it's a perfect introduction to the doomed prince, telling you everything you need to know about him.
Russell here contributes an absolute tour de force, and rarely is an artist so well suited to a character. Every once in a while, talk of an Elric movie is banded around, and last time I checked Paul Bettany was up for the role, apparently a choice Moorcock himself was keen on. Although, of course, no less a thesp than Luke Goss played what was really a version of the albino warrior in the 2nd Hellboy movie:


Whoever ends up with the role, and if it ever even gets made, could do worse than study Russell's art here. This is Elric in the absolute, living flesh.


































14 comments:

  1. Strictly a white man's power fantasy.

    - Neil

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  2. I painted a pic of Pete as Elric back in 1983... http://theartofseanphillips.blogspot.com/

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    1. Now yer tawkin'! I like this more than Russell's candy colors. Good job!

      - Neil

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    2. It is indeed Pete.
      So when's the crossover with David the Barbarian coming?
      We your readers demand it!

      -sean

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    3. So many crossovers, so little time...

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  3. Heh Heh, I was wondering when we'd get round to that...

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  4. This is the perfect version! Later Russell ruined it changing the gorgeous colors, for whatever unknown reasons.

    Manuel Ruiz

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  5. I agree with Neil; the colours are a turnoff for me. They are too middle GREY, for one thing. Not enough contrast in values (black, white, & grey) in the colouring. Also, there are too many oversaturated colours. Too garish for my palette. Some of the drawing is interesting, though.

    Regards,
    Chris A.

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  6. This was made in a time when Russell did some great experiments on coloring, specially in The dreaming city, his series of Elric with Michael Gilbert and this posted.

    Later he seemed to change his technics for coloring, and his approach or instructions when somebody else do the work. You can see the difference by just comparing a page of Siegfried and the dragon for Epic Comics and a page of The ring of the Nibelung by Dark Horse. Or a page of his series with Gilbert and another of Stormbringer.

    For me, the peak of his experiments in color is The dreaming city. His drawings never looked THAT beautiful. He confesed that approach, however, to be very risky and he never used again.

    In this particular case, I still don't get what happened to replace this gorgeous colorings for something much more conventional, as can be seen in The weird of the white wolf graphic novel by First Comics.

    Manuel Ruiz

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  7. If Sean had colored this I would've loved it.

    - Neil

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  8. Interesting there's a lot of nays for this one. I love it, me, I think it's one of the best things artwise PCR ever did, though his best colouring for me is his later work like Fairy Tales Of Oscar Wilde, whereas I'm not that keen on later, later work like Stormbringer.
    If only Sean had the time to do Elric! We'll have to settle for David The Barbarian meets Pete Of Melvinbone...

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  9. For me, more than interesting, it´s strange to read "nays" to a masterpiece like this, but well, tastes are tastes!

    And about best coloring job after this, my proze would go to "Pelleas and Melisande", another masterpiece. For my tastes, of course ;)

    Manuel Ruiz

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