Monday, March 06, 2006

Gahan Wilson and Robert Bloch

Gahan Wilson has been a Lovecraft devotee for much of his life. I recently acquired a 1978 collection [1] of Robert Bloch stories and found these excerpts.

“Bloch started out, as did many authors drawn to the macabre, by selling [2] to Weird Tales Magazine, a unique publication now long since in its grave despite brave efforts [3] at resuscitation. Weird Tales gave shelter to such renowned owners of tripartite appellations as Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Robert Erwin Howard, and Clark Ashton Smith, and regularly provided a grateful nation the best all-round ghoulish read available on the newsstands.
“{Bloch's} earlier work was heavily influenced by Lovecraft, with whom he had a lengthy and affectionate correspondence. Their friendship also produced one of the brightest moments in the magazine's history when it published a series of stories written by the two in which they killed one another off with appalling ingenuity.

“Also, though Bloch has toyed very effectively with the scholarly recluse and the academic environment with which Lovecraft was so comfortable, he tends to gravitate toward quite another sector of the population ... a marvelous knack of conjuring up cheap grifters, sleazy wanderers whose heads are full of shoddy schemes for robbing their fellow humans of possessions or dignity, and who richly deserve the horrendous fates which Bloch lovingly prepares for them.

“Another, and totally unLovecraftian, aspect of his work is his preoccupation with that branch of demonology presently recognized as science, namely the varying forms of psychosis with all their strange delights.”

Then there is this extract from Bloch:

“And so will be the belief in ancient myths and legends, or the more modern mythology created by recent writers. H. P. Lovecraft was a twentieth-century materialist, but his wholly imaginary Cthulhu Mythos is actually accepted as figurative if not literal truth by some readers. My story “The Unspeakable Betrothal” derives from his earlier tales. I decline to take responsibility for the title which was tacked on by some editor without my prior knowledge and sounds like something dreamed up by the late Queen Victoria after a bad night.”

1 Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made Of, DelRey, 1979, Introduction by Gahan Wilson (August 1978) , Afterward by Robert Bloch. Includes the 1948 The Tunnel of Love published as Hell is My Legacy in New Detective Magazine; and the Mythos based story The Unspeakable Betrothal of 1949 in Avon Fantasy Reader #9.

2 Bloch says he sold 69 stories to Weird Tales.

3 Weird Tales is currently in circulation under new ownership.

2 comments:

Julilla said...

Just wanted to let you know that I've been checking out your blog and that I really dig it. Keep up the good work!

Chris Perridas said...

Thank you for visiting and reading!

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