Friday, November 11, 2016
Snakepit: Remembering Mark Rogers
A tunnel made entirely of hideous, venomous snakes, a floor of poison, and one undersized Orc (or "yark") to brave his way through them to deliver a package. Nothing about real life here, folks. It's an illustration from a fantasy/humor/horror book titled "Yark," written by the late Mark Rogers. "Yark" was published by "Infinity Publications" in 2010. It's a parody of Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings," told from the perspective of an Orc, one of the monstrous humanoids in the Tolkien tale. I found "Yark" on my dusty shelf, where I had deposited it after buying it, honestly, as a favor to the author, my fellow artist. To my surprise, I'm enjoying it a lot! Mark did his own illustrations but that doesn't mean I can't doodle a couple as well.
Mark is gone now. He died in 2014 of heart disease, despite having an athletic lifestyle. He was a memorable guy, very creative and full of ideas. But he was also notoriously ill-tempered and angry all the time. He would stomp around conventions and break into rants with potential customers. He was best known for his "Samurai Cat" series, which seemed to be his road to fame before the project fell apart. Of course he was best known for his painting, and he always showed at Balticon. He did marvelous pin-up girls, and I admired his human figures greatly. He was also a fast painter; he could do a painting in just one night.
I don't know why Mark didn't go farther in the fantasy art world. I thought he would, but things didn't turn out with film or animation, and he didn't seem to want to illustrate other people's work. He wrote and published a lot of pulp-style fantasy adventure fiction, which he marketed at Balticon. I don't go to Balticon any more, and (sometimes) I miss Mark the Yark.
Illustration is 2 ink drawings, combined into one with Photoshop and some extra digital inking. 8" x 4", November 11, 2016.