The early part of the 20th century was a wild time in fiction, when publishers would try just about anything to see if it sold. Nowhere was there a more formidable challenge than in the pages of the pulps, which often chewed up and spat out would-be writers faster than new ones could step forward. Out of his fiery crucible came three giants: Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H.P. Lovecraft.
These legendary authors forged names and reputations that still echo decades later. In turn, they have inspired many creators across the generations. One such creator is Overstreet Hall of Fame inductee, Inkpot, Mucker, Gem, Speakeasy, and Eisner award-winning writer-artist Mark Wheatley, and the result of that inspiration is Songs of Giants, a new Kickstarter project that launches on Monday, March 11, 2019.
Resurrected from crumbling pages of old pulp magazines, Songs of Giants cuts straight to the heart of the look, feel, and language of the pulps as it highlights the often forgotten poetry of these unforgotten masters. For his part, Wheatley expertly captures the essence of the beauty, horror, and adventure of Howard, Burroughs, and Lovecraft’s words. He brings their poems to life with a fine line illustration style that is clearly inspired by the early, classic, golden age illustrators. The book also features an introduction by Nebula Award-winning author Jack McDevitt, creator of the Academy and Alex Benedict series.
Songs of Giants is a limited edition, 8-1/2” x 11” 72-page deluxe hardcover printed on super heavy stock. The accompanying Kickstarter rewards range from screensavers and wallpapers to an exclusive signature plate, audio books, and one of a kind original art. Reward levels start at just $15 for a digital version of the book and only $25 for the printed version.
“I’ve spent more than a year crafting this art. And while I’ve been working, I’ve had a major pulp art show of my illustration originals. Based on the public reaction to that show, I’m thrilled to finally share Songs of Giants art with the public. The few people who have seen the work so far have convinced me that this is possibly my best work, ever. Because of that, it was difficult to keep the project quiet, so now I’m truly happy that the news is out,” said Mark Wheatley.
Working on his originals at a very large size in a traditional brush, pen and ink approach, Wheatley spent hours savoring the poems in order to bring them to life in this new way. Characters, dangers, and whole worlds became embodied in his illustrations, in turn reflecting the full flavor and power of the works that inspired them.
“Our initial goal of $5,500 is intentionally set very low. This money will cover the cost of printing the book. From our past experience on Kickstarter, having successfully raised money for the Doctor Cthulittle book and fulfilled the rewards, we believe that hitting this goal is very possible and quite likely. If we do not hit our stretch goals, we will still have enough to print the book and we are in a position to ship the rewards with our budget. Of course, the stretch goals offer a good many perks that we would like to be able to share with our backers,” Wheatley said.
For those who chose the reward levels that include the audio book, the masterful voice actor Mark Redfield is on full display with many of the poems from Songs of Giants. His readings of Howard, Burroughs, and Lovecraft are augmented by the outstanding original musical score and sound design by Jennifer Rouse. It provides a truly stirring dramatic experience.
The Kickstarter project for Songs of Giants launched on Monday, March 11 and is scheduled to conclude on April 20. If successfully funded, the books and other rewards are expected to ship in June 2019. The Kickstarter project is listed under ComicMix, LLC, Wheatley’s frequent publishing collaborators.
For more information visit the Songs of Giants website.