Michael Vance’s latest novel, Weird Horror Tales – Light’s End, is being heralded as a page-turning suspense thriller. Often compared to the writings of H.P. Lovecraft, Vance’s work is not for the faint of heart, featuring ten interior, outré illustrations by extraordinary artist Eric York who was recently interviewed by Richard Vasseur of Jazma On-line.

Vasseur: How did you meet Michael Vance?

York: Michael had reviewed my old comic Eldritch Pulp Adventure and contacted me a few years later to do some illustrations and book cover for some of his horror tales. Haven’t actually met him in person.

Vasseur: Why did you decide you wanted to work on Weird Horror Tales: Light’s End?

York: I enjoyed working on the earlier projects with him and like the creepy atmosphere of his Light’s End setting. He asked me to illustrate the third volume of his Weird Horror Tales trilogy and I happily agreed.

Vasseur: What type of monsters do you get to draw in Weird Horror Tales: Light’s End?

York: The only monster I got to draw was Vance’s main antagonist, Jake Horne. The guy’s pretty grotesque looking, and even worse on the inside. There’s also a mermaid illustration, but she’s not really a monster. The publisher, Airship 27, has talked to me about future projects which I hope contain lots of monstrosities. Drawing humans is fine, but I prefer to draw creatures (the weirder, the better).

Vasseur: How would you describe your art style?

York: It’s influenced by late 19th/ early 20th Century decadent illustrators (Aubrey Beardsley, Harry Clarke), mid-20th Century pulp illustrators (Virgil Finlay, Hannes Bok, Lee Brown Coye), and various comic book artists from underground to mainstream. I mostly work in black and white, but have done color pieces in the past.

Vasseur: What do you think of Light’s End the place?

York: I’ve always liked stories connected by a common locale and characters (such as Lovecraft’s Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth, etc.). Light’s End is another such place, full of dark secrets and sinister occupants.

Vasseur: What do you think of H.P. Lovecraft?

York: He made such a strong impact on my poor fragile nervous system when I was 11 or 12 that I’m still trying to shed his influence. He casts a very long shadow on contemporary weird fiction, art, film, etc. that it’s almost impossible to get out from under his gaze. I’ve been referred to as a “Lovecraftian artist”, which can be a mixed blessing. I’m obviously influenced by him but don’t feel that my work is completely defined by his aesthetics.

Vasseur: Why should someone pick up your Eldrich Pulp Adventure?

York: If they like kooky underground comix, they’ll probably like EPA. It’s influenced by some of the old undergrounds like Skull, Slow Death and Twisted Tales. It’s a bit transgressive in parts … definitely not for young kids. Michael Vance had this to say about it: “Wildly imaginative art, perverse sex, violence and profanity inspired by a man who would have abhorred it, horror master H.P. Lovecraft. Imagine Batman as a demon in Hell.”

Vasseur: What is Maggot Global Publishing?

York: It’s the name that I’ve published my various zines (The Hungry Maggot), comix (Tillinghast’s Moribund Fairy-Tales, Eldritch Pulp Adventure), coloring books (Vermis Rex) and tarot decks (Erebus Tarot) under. It’s been dormant for a few years, but I’m getting ready to publish again.

Vasseur: What is Zygote’s Fables and will we see it published again?

York: Zygote’s Fables was a weekly comic strip that I did for the local paper, Flag Live. I described them as horror stories disguised as nursery rhymes (they’re all done in verse). I did it for three years before the editor realized that it probably wasn’t the most appropriate thing for him to be printing in their respectable community paper. I’ll do more in the future, but not for a paper and not on a weekly basis.

Vasseur: Why do you find playing bass is something you want to do?

York: Drawing only covers part of my creative impulse … I have several muses that compete for my attention. Right now I’m focusing on art, but I plan on devoting more time to music and writing in the coming year.

Vasseur: You like movies that are a little different, what are a couple of your favorites and why?

York: I generally go for dark fantasy and supernatural horror such as The City of Lost Children, Pan’s Labyrinth, Naked Lunch, The Shining and director Tim Burton’s work. I don’t really like splatter flicks or torture porn type movies … not because I’m squeamish about gore, but because they’re generally unimaginative and redundant.

Vasseur: Where can people see your artwork online?

York: I have about 700 pieces up at tillinghast23.deviantart.com. I have other sites that host my art, but my Deviant Art page is the one to go to.

Vasseur: How can someone contact you?

York: I can be contacted at:

hungrymaggot@netscape.net
tillinghast23.deviantart.com
and on Facebook under Reginald Braithwaite (Flagstaff, AZ)

Vasseur: Any last words for those who admire your art?

York: I appreciate any admiration … thanks for the interest!

The publisher of Weird Horror Tales: Light’s End, Airship 27 publishes anthologies and novels in the pulp magazine tradition. In the past, Airship 27 has released Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, Weird Horror Tales, and Weird Horror Tales: The Feasting.

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