When I was a Rand fan back in the late 1970s, as well as a beginning fantasy artist, illustrating Rand's magnum opus ATLAS SHRUGGED was an Olympian dream that I hoped one day to achieve. In this drawing, in an "engraving" style I no longer use, I tried to depict Dagny Taggart, the heroine of the epic. I used the famous old film star Greta Garbo as my model. It isn't very good, but I was still an amateur.
Just today I finally saw the movie that was made of ATLAS. In those older days, ATLAS was considered unfilmable, what with its long explanatory dialogue and abstracted characters. But the crew here, under the command of producer John Aglialoro, has done a fair and faithful job re-creating the world, plot, and characters of Rand. Instead of setting it in the fifties, which I did with this picture (steam engine!) and my comic book adaptation of a couple of years ago, this version sets it in 2016, when trends we see today have reached catastrophic proportions. Rand's industrial world isn't quite like the "real" world; individual executives and company leaders seem to run their businesses with a personal hand, one by one. There are lots of juicy scenes of rushing trains and flaming steel mills, which I appreciate, while the hot consummation between steelman Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart takes place in near-total darkness, with appropriately industrial heavy breathing.
I used to believe that Rand's vision of economics would actually work. All you had to do was let the geniuses and the hard workers have their way without government interference, and prosperity would blossom forth. Now it seems that neither capitalism nor socialism nor any other system is working, and I'm not sure why. Is it because there aren't enough geniuses or hard workers? Is it because people are essentially greedy and dishonest? Do we need more trains? We'll find out how the Rand dream plays out in the next two installments of this movie, which is in three parts, just like LORD OF THE RINGS.
Dagny is ink on Bristol board, 8" x 10", July 1978. Klik as usual for a larger view.