October 2, 2009

Treasure Island

Okay, this post is a little different. I've got three different illustrators' images of a passage from the novel Treasure Island, and I can't decide between them. So you get all three.

Wyeth's Jim is ready and composed, even though he's let Hands get mighty close while they chat.

1911, artist N. C. Wyeth

Godwin's Jim, though stabbed through the shoulder, knows exactly what he's doing.

1924, artist Frank Godwin

Dulac's Jim is much more a frightened little boy, injured and shooting out of desperation.

1927, artist Edmund Dulac

`One more step, Mr Hands,' said I, `and I'll blow your brains out! Dead men don't bite, you know,' I added, with a chuckle.

He stopped instantly. I could see by the working of his face that he was trying to think, and the process was so slow an laborious that, in my new-found security, I laughed aloud. At last, with a swallow or two, he spoke, his face still wearing the same expression of extreme perplexity. In order to speak he had to take the dagger from his mouth, but, in all else, he remained unmoved.

`Jim,' says he, `I reckon we're fouled, you and me, and we'll have to sign articles. I'd have had you but for that there lurch: but I don't have no luck, not I; and I reckon I'll have to strike which comes hard, you see, for a master mariner to a ship's younker like you, Jim.'

I was drinking in his words and smiling away, as conceited as a cock upon a wall, when, all in a breath, back went his right hand over his shoulder. Something sang like an arrow through the air; I felt a blow and then a sharp pang, and there I was pinned by the shoulder to the mast. In the horrid pain and surprise of the moment - I scarce can say it was by my own volition, and I am sure it was without a conscious aim - both my pistols went off, and both escaped out of my hands. They did not fall alone; with a choked cry, the coxswain loosed his grasp upon the shrouds, and plunged head first into the water.

All illustrations from Golden Age Comic Book Stories.


Steph(anie) said...

The first I think.

downtown guy said...

The only classic illustrator that I think did pirates better than Wyeth was Pyle. I'll post some of his stuff up soon.

Ms. Moon said...

Each and every human is so very different. I love that you posted the three.

downtown guy said...

I really had to. Godwin was obviously inspired by Wyeth, but Dulac was more inspired by the text.

B.E. Earl said...

Wyeth was a student of Pyle's, correct?

I dig the Godwin version the most. Bigger fan of pen and ink illustrations than paintings, especially when it comes to book illustrations.

And, of course, I'm a big fan of Joe Orlando's pirate work in "Tales of the Black Freighter"/"Watchmen". Which was inspired by these earlier great artists.

downtown guy said...

Yep, I've got a handful of reprints of EC's old Piracy comics, and Godwin seems to me to be an obvious inspiration for much of the artwork in those.