'Tis the Seasoning

The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck

I remember picking this book up at a local bookstore. It was a wonderful old copy. You know, the kind that has a cover retail of 25¢? I love those.

I felt like reading a short war-related book, so this fit the bill perfectly. I read this book, All Is Quiet on the Western Front and Storm of Steel in short succession. Nothing like bleak war novels to scare/depress the heck out of you.

Anyway, The Moon Is Down is about a small coal-mining town that gets overrun and conquered by an invading force. As with all military-occupied areas, there can be no true peace where freedom is taken away. The army that has invaded the town knows it but still tries to keep order. Things come to a slow boil: soldiers go missing, equipment keeps "breaking," some townsfolk are executed.

The novel does an excellent job of showing us characters on both sides of the conflict. They are all people, after all.

About the illustration:
I like how this composition turned out. Steinbeck made certain to not point out any specific groups of people, though he was most certainly targeting the Nazis as the invaders. The book was published and snuck into Nazi-controlled areas.

I kept the faces out of sight, instead focusing on the character's intent. You can see a soldier kicking back and expecting some food. He's not really expecting a dose of poison, however. In my head, the lady making/bringing the food to the soldier (who has taken residency in her inn) just found out that her husband was taken by the invaders and executed for being a "conspirator." So she's taking a little revenge. Maybe she won't give a lethal dose. Maybe she'll just add in enough to make the man sick, and then she'll have some friends "take care of him" when he is incapacitated.



The Lord of the Rings novels by J.R.R "Orc-in Man" Tolkien

In my head, the Ringwraiths wore orcskin boots.

They were pretty fly for some dead guys!

Anyway, the Ringwraiths weren't always scary bad-asses. In their former lives, they were "entrusted" with the seven Rings of Power that were given to mankind. Who would have thought that the power would corrupt them? Sauron, of course.

If you killed one, he'd spawn back to "life" in Mordor. His ride, however, would stay dead. So eventually, after their horses were killed, flying creatures were procured to help the evil war effort. Go, team, go!

I want those boots.

Here's what it looks like scanned straight from my moleskine:


The Lord of the Rings novels by "Fantasy Fire-hydrant" J.R.R Tolkien

Here's everyone's precious: Gollum. From corrupted Hobbit to superstar celebrity, Gollum has come quite a ways to frantically burrow his way into our hearts.

Gollum appeared The Hobbit and kept sneaking around throughout the LOTR trilogy. When he wasn't eating raw fish, Gollum liked to conspire and plot to get his Precious back. Well, half of this character's personality would plot, anyway. You see, all those years under the power of the One Ring had deformed what was originally an upstanding hobbit named Sméagol. Extending his life and ravaging his body, the One Ring asserted itself as Sméagol's master.

After Bilbo happened upon the Ring (it had been momentarily misplaced by a certain slimy little character), Gollum set out in search for his Precious (the One Ring). He was eventually captured by the forces of Mordor and through torture revealed the words "hobbit" and "Shire." This pretty much put events in motion for LOTR.

Anyway, above is a drawing of Gollum being all "GIVE ME MY PRECIOUS. IT BELONGSES TO ME!"

Here's the b/w version, just so you can see how it looked before the coloring process: