Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Necronomicon: Launet Edition

As mentioned yesterday, there's one artist who I think has truly captured the look and feel of the Necronomicon- Francois Launet. His whole site is filled with incredible artwork, but if you visit the "Goomicronicon" section of his gallery you'll find his unique interpretation of the Necronomicon's pages. His approach draws on real-world inspirations like DaVinci's journals, but adds a wonderfully evocative sense of the arcane and alien.

This is the artwork I see in my mind when I think of the Necronomicon, and when I win the lottery I'll be spending a significant portion of my winnings to have Launet create the illustrations for the Uber-tome I've always wanted.


Christopher B said...

Thanks for the link - I've had these images saved on my PC for who-knows-how-long, but could never remember where I found them.

While I agree that Launet's style captures the alien feel I would expect of the Mythos, I don't quite see the pages of the Necronomicon looking like this.

For one, I don't think Launet's work catches the essence of any of the eras/cultures the book was supposed to have been created/translated in. It comes closest, I suppose, to what one might expect from the original Al Azif, but not having ever seen Arab texts from the 8th century, I don't know. I know that it looks nothing like the sort of thing one would expect from John Dee - that book would be a product of Elizabethan and Enochian sensibilities, none of which I see exhibited here.

I think my biggest issue with Launet's work, however, is that even though it reflects the alien subject matter very well, I think it's far too clean and precise. Remember: this book contains all of the universe's most maddening, mind-fracturing secrets. Certainly, any edition of it would reflect the subject matter's affect on it's author. Launet's work is more reminiscent of a medical tome than an occult grimoire. It's a little too finely detailed, too crisp, especially for subject matter that - if we're to believe every Loveraftian story written - would blast a person's sanity to bits just looking at it.

Of course, this is just all my own opinion, based on my own mental image of what each of the book's editions would look like. To each his own, right?

Either way, I do agree wholeheartedly that Launet's stuff is top-notch.

Propnomicon said...

What? Someone disagrees with me? How dare you!

In all seriousness, the wildly differing interpretations of what it should look like is one of the things that makes creating a prop Necronomicon so difficult. Personally, I would hate a version based on actual occult works because I find them aesthetically bland. I have a bookshelf filled with "authentic" grimoires and tomes (and I assume a significant majority of the people reading this do too) that I've purchased in the hopes of finding good propmaking material. All of them, despite their historical accuracy, have been a terrible let-down. "Real" magic, such as it is, just isn't all that interesting.

On the other hand, I've fallen in love with consciously artistic interpretations of the mystical and arcane that use that real-world occult imagery as inspiration. Launet is one example, and Brian Froud's paintings for "The World of the Dark Crystal" would be another.

Christopher B said...

I doubt if I disagree with you as much as you think I do. Oh, there I go disagreeing with you again. :P

"Personally, I would hate a version based on actual occult works because I find them aesthetically bland."

I wouldn't want the book to look like your typical occult tome of yore, either. Ideally, what I'd like it to look like is a typical occult tome of yore on LSD. The core influences from the appropriate age should be there, but so should the maddening, alien influences.

Launet's art, while awesome, is also very anachronistic, IMO. It's not what I would expect of any of the time periods during which the book would have been published. (This is the same problem I have with Zarono's work, and much of the other interpretations I've seen.) I'd like to see pages similar to Launet's and Zarono's, but with artwork that is alien and production that is befitting of the period in question. So far, it seems like interpretations are either one or the other - mine would include both. Of course, there would also be the mad scribblings of subsequent owners in the white-space, missing pages, blotted out text and images, etc. - all the sort of stuff a sanity rending book needs to seem authentic.

So when I win the lottery and make my version, we'll have to compare and contrast the two. I bet you $10K they'll both be too cool for words. (Hey, if I'm rich anyway, what's a measly $10K if I'm wrong? :P)

[Geez - I really belabored the hell out of that point, didn't I? Sorry...]