Who is Richard Upton Pickman?

In honor of my story ‘A Pickman Original’ appearing in Ulthar Press’ newest anthology ‘Pickman’s Gallery’, I thought I would take a dive into the character that the anthology is centered on. The original call for the book asked for stories centered on or connected to the infamous artist. If you’re interested in this anthology (you should be!) I think it would help to know a little more about it’s strange subject.

Who is Richard Upton Pickman?

The character was created by renowned horror author H.P. Lovecraft. He first appeared in a story entitled, ‘Pickman’s Model’, written in September 1927, and published in the October 1927 issue of ‘Weird Tales’.

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If you haven’t read the story, I suggest you check it out. It’s available for free online here. I think it may be one of my favorite of Lovecraft’s stories. Here’s a quick synopsis, taken from www.yog-sothoth.com:

The story revolves around a Bostonian painter named Richard Upton Pickman who creates horrifying images. His works are brilliantly executed, but so graphic that they result in the revocation of his membership in the Boston Art Club and he is shunned by his fellow artists.

The narrator is a friend of Pickman, who, after the artist’s mysterious disappearance, relates to another acquaintance how he was taken on a tour of Pickman’s personal gallery, hidden away in a run-down backwater slum of the city. As the two delved deeper into Pickman’s mind and art, the rooms seemed to grow ever more evil and the paintings ever more horrific, ending with a final enormous painting of an unearthly, red-eyed and vaguely canine humanoid balefully chewing on a human victim.

A noise sent Pickman running outside the room with a gun while the narrator reached out to unfold what looked like a small piece of rolled paper attached to the monstrous painting. The narrator heard some shots and Pickman walked back in with the smoking gun, telling a story of shooting some rats, and the two men departed.

Afterwards the narrator realized that he had nervously grabbed and put the rolled paper in his pocket when the shots were fired. He unrolled the paper to reveal that it is a photograph not of the background of the painting, but of the subject. Pickman drew his inspirations not from a diseased imagination, but from monsters that were very much real.

According to H.P. Lovecraft’s text ‘History of the Necronomicon’, Pickman vanishes from his home sometime in 1926. He does appear again in ‘The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath’, but this time as a ghoul.

I think ‘Pickman’s Model’ works so well because Lovecraft captures the breathless horror that he’s known for so perfectly. We feel like we’re there with Thurber as he descends further into his friend’s studio. While the descriptions of the art and the ghouls feel quaint by today’s horror standards, it’s hard to deny the sense of terror that Lovecraft creates. At first we assume that Richard Upton Pickman is mad. But the truth is so much worse.

Want More Pickman?

I can’t blame you. He seems like a cool guy. Little eccentric, but who isn’t? Here’s where you can find him:

‘Pickman’s Other Model’ by Caitlin Kiernan

This is one of my favorite short stories ever. This story acts as a sequel of sorts to the original story, but with some added bite. I read it when it was reprinted in ‘New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird’, edited by Paula Guran.

‘Pickman’s Gift’ – A quest in the game ‘Fallout 4’

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A quest in Bethesda’s massive RPG has you helping/hurting a murderous artist that shares a name with our subject. The Fallout franchise loves a good Lovecraftian reference, and this one is a corker. Though this isn’t the exact same character, it’s the closest you’re going to get digitally. It’s one of the better side quests in the game, so I suggest you step out into the Commonwealth and seek it out if you haven’t already.

And lastly…

Pickman's Gallery

I mentioned it above, but I can’t let you go without one last plug. I can tell you now that this collection will be worth every penny that you lay down. Matthew Carpenter has put together an incredible TOC that deserves your attention. When this drops later this month, I’ll let you know. I’m also considering having a give away for a copy, so be ready for that.

That’s everything you need to know about Richard Upton Pickman. I didn’t mention everything (I didn’t talk about the Night Gallery episode because I have not seen it *gasp*), but I think I hit the highlights. Am I missing any good Pickman stuff? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Monthly Review (June 2018)

Are we in the Dog Days of Summer yet? It certainly feels like it. My leg surgery that I mentioned last month went very well and I’m back to work (ugh). My submissions dropped off a bit this month because I’m still waiting to hear back on so many. Here are the numbers for June…

Story Submissions:

Submissions: 1

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 4

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 0

What Else I’ve Been Doing:

E3

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Video games, video games, video games. I watched every conference that I cared about and got very excited about some upcoming releases. I have some favorites and a few disappointments as well (Fallout 76). You can see more of my thoughts here.

Tune in next month for a pretty exciting interview with author Pete Rawlik! It will be the first of a new feature here. I’ll be interviewing authors and creators about their newest works, their lives, and what influences them. The first interview is incredible and I think the rest will be as well.

That’s it for now. Thanks for coming around. Stay cool everybody.

 

Monthly Review (May 2018)

Happy spring! I hope you’re enjoying your time and enjoying lots of good fiction and film. I’m here again just to give you a snapshot into my own going adventures in the writing world.

Story Submissions:

Submissions: 4

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 4

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 2

My Hotmail Rejection Folder just got two new friends. The good news is that I sent the stories out basically right away and edited two older stories that have been sitting unused for a little while.

My novella outline is still coming together and I hope to have a good chunk of it done in the coming weeks.

What Else I’ve Been Doing:

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

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I have a new gaming obsession and it’s called Assassin’s Creed: Origins. This is a beautiful game world with the addictive gameplay that the franchise has cultivated over the years. The new RPG elements that they’ve added make the ‘sneak-kill-sneak’ loop infinitely more fun. Add in a bunch of new weapon types (including giant battle axes!!!) and I can’t believe how much fun I’m having.

Rear Window

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My wife and I have decided to fill in some of our classic film blanks lately. We’ve done some Hepburn, some Monroe, and now it’s time for some Hitchcock. I’ve seen most of the classics (Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo) but this one has long slipped by me. We rectified this on a stormy afternoon in the beginning of the month and I’m still kicking myself for WAITING so long. This thing is a masterpiece of suspense and design from top to bottom. Stewart is excellent as always. The neighborhood and the stories told around them builds this narrative to its eventual breaking point in the most fascinating way.

I’ll be having leg surgery early on in June, so I should have some time to catch up on reading and writing. I’ve been reading some great novels lately and I’ll be posting some reviews when I get a chance. Take a moment to follow me on Twitter (@logan_noble). Keep writing and reading everyone.

 

Monthly Review (April 2018)

April has come and is (nearly) gone. I’m back again for my Monthly Review. It was a big month for me across a bunch of mediums. Let’s get the business out of the way first:

Story Submissions:

Submissions: 2

Stories Still Out in the Wild: 2

Acceptances: 0

Rejections: 2

My submission chickens from last month have come home to roast, which results in the 2 rejections that we have here. I still have several out and about so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the results are a bit more positive for them.

The legendary Tor.com are holding novella submissions in May and July. I’ll be working on completing a novella to submit for the July timeframe. I’m working with the editor of last month’s acceptance to get my story edited (thanks for being so patient!) and ready to see print. More on that soon!

What Else I’ve Been Doing:

Avengers: Infinity War

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I took off Friday to witness this incredible event. I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe with all my heart and this giant-mega mash-up showdown lived up to nearly all of my wildest expectations. The film is head and shoulders above all the others in the genre. What Marvel/Disney have done here will go down in history as a cinematic event like any other.

God of War

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I recently wrapped up the campaign on this one. What a ride. The God of War franchise used to just be a dude-bro power fantasy. This soft reboot feels like a step into something far deeper. I think video games deserve more respect as a creative medium. God of War is a perfect example of that. The gameplay is tight and the story is awe-inspiring across the board.

That’s it for April. Take a moment to follow me on Twitter (@logan_noble) is you want more nonsense like this. Keep on writing and reading everybody. I’ll see you again soon.

My 5 Favorite Batman Villains

I am a huge Batman fan. No. Seriously. I own way more Batman shirts than any adult man has any right to. I finished up a recent play through of Rocksteady’s Arkham video game trilogy and I’m currently loving everything Batman. So, because it’s fun and because I want to do it, I’m sharing with you my five favorite Batman villains (ranked!). Ready? Let’s go!

5. Ra’s al Ghul

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“I deem it my mission to purify this planet, to restore it to its former beauty… a mission I will brook no interference in.”

The Demon’s Head. The head of a cabal organization called the League of Assassins. He has possession of a device called The Lazurus Pit that makes him immortal. Most villains only want to see Batman dead. Ra’s al Ghul is different because he respects The Dark Knight and sees him as a worthy successor. It’s a fascinating relationship that leads to some truly awesome battles.

4. Bane

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“I shall simply BREAK YOU.”

He is the man that broke the Bat. As cunning as he is powerful, he is well trained and very brutal. A childhood spent in a South American prison will do that to you. He’s as driven and determined as Batman but with none of the ethical hang-ups. Not many enemies can match The Caped Crusader punch for punch. Bane does that and more.

3. The Court of Owls

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“Oh, don’t worry, my dear. We have so many MORE of them.”

Batman is Gotham. The Court of Owls are awesome because they question that very notion. They are well funded and have an immortal army at their disposal. Not only that, but those masks are CREEPY. Their systematic attack on the Wayne family over the decades makes them a unique enemy for Batman to face.

2. The Scarecrow

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“Shhh… it’s okay to be afraid.”

Fear. It’s Batman’s ultimate weapon and Doctor Jonathan Crane’s obsession. Often portrayed as cunning and cold, his weapon of choice challenges Batman in a way most of his rogue’s gallery cannot. I love Scarecrow because he’s a intellectual opponent for Batman in a very real way. Many of Batman’s foes serve as physical manifestations of his attributes. Fear toxin. It just sounds cool.

1. The Joker

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“This time. No more games. No more jokes. I’m just here to close up shop.”

Everyone loves to hate The Joker. He’s completely insane but at the same time COMPLETELY aware of every action. His every action is part of something bigger. He’s often one step ahead of Batman, which is pretty hard to do. He’s been the star of dozens of some of the greatest Batman storylines (including my personnel favorite, ‘Endgame’). A crazed Ying to Batman’s logical Yang in every way. When The Joker shows up, you never know what you’re going to get. He has no weakness. And that’s why he’s my favorite Batman villain.

Those are my top 5! What do you think? Do you love these nasty bunch of bad guys? Sound off in the comments below!