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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In Memoriam: Ray Harryhausen

Today I learned the sad news that special effects master Ray Harryhausen has passed away.  This was big news to me, really leaving me reflecting on all of his great work and visionary talent.  My favorite scene must be the skeleton army fighting in Jason and the Argonauts (1963).


Jason and the Argonauts fight scene

Virgil Finlay, the pulp illustrator of the 40's and 50's, is my main artistic influence, but there are quite a few others, including Ray Harryhausen.  He was my first exposure to cowboys versus dinosaurs (Valley of the Gwangi), flying saucers attacking the White House (Earth vs. the Flying Saucers) and a multitude of other fantastic imaginative visions that surely still influence my artwork today.


Moebius' passing last year and Harryhausen now...I am feeling like my virtual mentors are leaving for good and leaving me looking more and more into the past, into their incredibly prolific catalog of treasures.

One of my own "toys", a Harryhausen action figure from Sci Fi Revoltech.

One reason I am so happy to go to comic conventions, science fiction art shows and the like, is to meet the legends who have inspired me.  I think one of my happiest memories of meeting an artist who amazes me is Basil Gogos.  He painted so many Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine covers...mind food for a ten year old male.  I absolutely know that his paintings helped get me interested in science fiction and monster movies, and especially, art...and through Famous Monsters magazine, introducing me to movie magicians, like Ray Harryhausen.  It's all connected.  I even bought an issue of the refurbished Famous Monsters of Filmland last weekend when I was a guest artist at Sarge's Comics for Free Comic Book Day.  My first purchase like that in about 35 years.  I am experiencing a period of man-olescence.

It's sad to lose visionaries like Ray Harryhausen.  He will always be remembered in SF fandom.

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