Archive for the 'Larry Todd' Category

Larry Todd Art: Moby Gleep (Circa 1978)

Moby Gleep Larry Todd Circa 1978

Moby Gleep Ad Circa 1978

Epic head trip by Todd, who painted several other scenes involving mariners and mythical beasts, according to Last Gasp’s Ron Turner. The ad is probably from a Krupp Mail Order Catalog.

The giant poster (20″ x 26″) was on sale fairly recently at Last Gasp Publishing, although it’s out of stock now.

(Images by appleclub and jl.incrowd)

Larry Todd Art: ‘The Warbots’ (Galaxy Science Fiction, 1968)

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The selected illustrations are from a story Todd wrote called “The Warbots: The History of Armored War from 1975 to 17,500 A.D” published in Galaxy Science Fiction (October, 1968). The first “mecha“—a robot or machine of humanoid appearance controlled by a smaller humanoid from a cockpit—is generally considered to be Mazinger Z, from the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Go Nagai. Perhaps that designation needs to be reevaluated. Todd’s designs are reminiscent of a number of mecha from the 1970s and 1980s, including the Zentraedi Battlepod in Robotech.

Todd updated his illustrations (below) for 1986’s Body Armor: 2000, edited by Joe Haldeman.

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(Images via archive.org and iamanangelchaser)

The Pleasures of Cocaine by Adam Gottlieb (Twentieth Century Alchemist, 1976)

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“Snorting the Cocaine”

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“The Assisted Blow”

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“Setting Up Lines”

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“Liquid Lady”

The illustrations are by Larry Todd, the underground cartoonist who created the drug-addled Dr. Atomic, along with some pretty incredible fantasy and sci-fi art. Todd also illustrated Gottlieb’s The Book of Acid and Ancient and Modern Methods of Growing Extraordinary Marijuana, both from 1975.

Todd by himself wrote, illustrated, and self-published Dr. Atomic’s Marijuana Multiplier (1974)—complete with some very complicated chemical engineering instructions—which you can read in its entirety at Count Your Culture.

(Images via eBay and Tumblr)

Harlan Ellison’s Chocolate Alphabet, 1978

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“From A to Z, in the Chocolate Alphabet” is a short story—a series of short shorts, really—written by Harlan Ellison and first appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (October, 1976). The inspiration for the story came from a Larry Todd painting called “N is for Nemotropin,” which Todd showed to Ellison in 1974 (see the title page above). Ellison wrote the story two years later while sitting in the window of the dearly departed A Change of Hobbit bookstore in Westwood, California.

The comic book adaptation was published by Last Gasp Eco-Comics in 1978, with Todd responsible for all artwork. The original “N is for Nemotropin” painting (below) appeared on the back cover. Note what Ellison calls Todd in the introduction: “one of America’s premier visual technicians.”

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Cotati Con Program, 1973

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Frank Brunner and Larry Todd splash the front and back covers with their signature characters, Dr. Strange and Dr. Atomic, respectively. Cotati is about 45 miles north of San Francisco.

(Images via eBay)

Larry Todd Art: Infinity #5 (Summer, 1973)

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Todd, who created the notable underground comic Dr. Atomic, was very active in the sci-fi/fantasy zine circuit of the 1970s, including Warren (Creepy, Eerie) and Skywald (Nightmare, Psycho) Publications. He and friend Vaughn Bodē did a number of terrific cover collaborations as well.

The above work is a smashing example of the intersection of counterculture themes (psychedelics, Native American culture, the American biker lifestyle, anti-authoritarianism, sexual freedom, and so on) and the expanding sci-fi and fantasy community. Per psychotropicis ad astra!

The “Aircar circa 1989” on the second page kind of reminds me of the Spinner cars in Blade Runner.

(Images via The Golden Age and Comic Attack)

Tales of Fantasy by Larry Todd (Troubador Press, 1975) (Part Two)

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In part one I give some background on the book and publisher Malcolm Whyte explains how it came to be. The material Todd covers is a very eclectic mix of ancient myth, fantasy, horror, sci-fi, pulp, children’s literature, and even poetry (Lewis Carroll, whose work was a drug culture keystone). Many of the works represented, including Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle, had recently seen new editions as part of Ballantine’s popular Adult Fantasy series.

Tales of Fantasy by Larry Todd (Troubador Press, 1975) (Part One)

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I’ve briefly talked about Tales of Fantasy before. It’s one of the formative books of my youth, and I was very fortunate to find a copy in good condition. I asked Malcolm Whyte, founder and longtime director of Troubador Press, whose idea it was and how the project came together, and here’s what he said:

Tales of Fantasy was my idea. I wanted to round out a trilogy—a fantasy trilogy—that started with Monster Gallery (1973) and included Science Fiction Anthology (1974). All three books were then marketed as a set: if someone had one of the books, he must have the other two. I was also interested in having some of the underground cartoonists illustrate Troubador books. I knew of Larry Todd’s interest in science fiction from the underground comix he wrote for and especially his wonderful Dr. Atomic character, and signed him up for Tales of Fantasy.

As we were discussing which tales to include in the book, I was astounded by Larry’s depth of knowledge of great fantasy authors and realized that he had to write the book as well as illustrate it. Tales of Fantasy has more text than most of the other Troubador coloring albums.

Larry is a sweet, engaging, literate, post-hippy eccentric… Last I knew he was one of the few of a dying breed of hand-done sign painters.

Troubador’s `fantasy trilogy’ marks a high point not only in coloring books (fine art coloring albums, actually), but in the kind of intelligent entertainment publishers and culture creators once offered young people. Todd’s descriptions of the various tales are exciting and comprehensive, and his art is as enthralling today as it was then.

Fantasy became a genre proper when the young people of the 1960s embraced and popularized The Lord of the Rings. In fact, there’s an important passage about Tolkien’s influence in Theodore Roszak’s definitive analysis of the `youth opposition’, The Making of a Counter Culture (1969):

The hippy, real or as imagined, now seems to stand as one of the few images toward which the very young can grow without having to give up the childish sense of enchantment and playfulness, perhaps because the hippy keeps one foot in his childhood. Hippies who may be pushing thirty wear buttons that read “Frodo Lives” and decorate their pads with maps of Middle Earth (which happens to be the name of one of London’s current rock clubs). Is it any wonder that the best and brightest youngsters at Berkeley High School… are already coming to class barefoot, with flowers in their hair, and ringing with cowbells?

The allure of fantasy literature was (and still is, to many) that it offers a vision of “the days when the world was uncrowded and unregulated and ‘natural’ man flourished.” Emulating Middle Earth and its intrepid adventurers—even channeling the Cthulhu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft—was a form of protest against the crass industrial establishment, which Roczak called the ‘technocracy’.

Most of the territory geeks claim today was inherited from literate post-hippies like Larry Todd, thanks in part to literate, daring publishers like Malcolm Whyte.


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