First art from the Wardenclyffe Horror!
Well, here it is: the first piece of promotional art from the Wardenclyffe Horror.
And who else should have the distinction of being in the first piece of art from the Wardenclyffe Horror, but Mark Twain?
This piece was done by our most excellent collaborator Robert Rath, as a concept drawing of Twain, who features prominently in the Wardenclyffe story. Robert did an amazing job of capturing the aging Twain’s thoughtful demeanor. The set of his jaw reflects a sort of weary resolution. His slightly furrowed brow denotes focus on matters of vital importance. But his eyes have a spark in them that really speaks to the wry wit and sharp intellect that Twain is most renowned for.
In short, Robert nailed it. And fast too!
Which, by way of contrast, sorta highlights the challenges we had writing the damn thing.
It goes without saying that trying to put words into Mark Twain’s mouth is no mean feat. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that if we had to name the one, most critical challenge in writing the Wardenclyffe script, it was doing Twain even a modicum of justice. As the principle narrator (because who else could it be?), Twain gets a lot of time on the page (his prominent role is actually why I would go so far as to call this project ‘ambitious’). Consequently, David and I both spent quite a bit of time with our noses in Twain’s body of work, hoping (praying?) that some of his literary panache would rub off. That we’d be able to capture his personality, at least to some small degree…
Like Steinbeck, Twain’s writings are so quintessentially American, that it’s hard for me to imagine how their absence would alter the historical fabric of the country (or rather, the imagination thereof). I mean, who more than Steinbeck constructed the popular imagination of the dustbowl? And who more than Twain has informed our imaginings of the post-bellum South? [Answer: no one. Not really, anyway.]
That said, Twain was a world traveler, and I am a HUGE fan of his travel writing. In particular, I’ve enjoyed Twain’s own The Innocents Abroad, and the edited volume, Mark Twain on Travel (which includes excerpts of the aforementioned). I find the essay format and the subject matter (what with travel being such a personal experience) really let Twain’s own preferences and predilections shine through in a way that his other works don’t so readily. From pieces like these we got a sense not only of his great persona, but also of the man behind it.
In the end, I’d say we pulled it off—copping Twain, that is. Or at least, that we managed to curtail serious embarrassment. After all, we’re talking about Mark Fucking Twain…
I invite you to read and draw your own conclusions.
That said, our tale could be amply described as ‘irreverent.’ Supernatural horror-thrillers were not exactly Twain’s bailiwick. But we’d like to think that if they were, they’d have come out looking a bit like the Wardenclyffe Horror…
And stay tuned. More of Robert’s kick-ass art is soon to follow. And if you dig this piece—spoiler alert—it will appear again as limited edition print, when our Kickstarter goes live. This is going to look mighty fine in a frame. Perfect for your personal library, man cave, woman… place, medicine lodge, garage, office, shrine to the spirits, or wherever else you like to hang stuff up. Subscribe for updates!