James Cawthorn / 1929-2008
As for my own thoughts about Cawthorn--he and I never met, but because I'm currently doing illustrations for Del Rey's new editions of the Elric series, I almost feel like we have because I've studied his early Elric drawings so intently. When I visited Mike while preparing to illustrate the Del Rey edition, ELRIC: THE STEALER OF SOULS, I kept pressing him for his favorite visual takes on Elric. He was reluctant because he wanted me to be free to follow my own unbiased path, which is typical of Mike's generosity. Finally, he pointed to the image you see here and said he would always see Cawthorn's Elric as the definitive interpretation. It's a testament to Mike and Jim's genius that Elric so explosively fires the engines of all creators who encounter him. My work doesn't look anything like Cawthorn's, nor does Yoshitaka Amano's, Michael Whelan's, Robert Gould's, or any of the other illustrators that have added to the visual legacy of Elric. We've all tried to contribute our own unique vision to Elric. The angst, majesty, and power of the character never ages. Today, as Mike related the bad news of Jim's passing, I'm working on more Elric illustrations for the forthcoming ELRIC: THE REVENGE OF THE ROSE. The goodness of Jim Cawthorn's Elric drawings will remain in my thoughts as I finish the rest of this work. Thanks for lighting that first match, Jim.