Welcome to the First Day of Your Bad Job…

Words you will never hear in real life but happen every day. We a think of the future being this lovely techno-utopia where peace and intelligence reign supreme over society. Where all our highest ideals and plans for generations to come can reap the unlimited benefits from. Where even the crappiest vending machines can produce the the most decadent morsels of endless delights. Ahhh the glorious future indeed!

Too bad our main character ended up in the opposite day universe.

Cry for poor Stellar Babe and her friends.

Dear Michael Whelan…

How we get to Stellar Babe in one easy scenario. It was the early 90’s and I was part of a company called DOC’S GAMES, which had made a line of micro RPG and boardgames, Dinky Dungeons © being the core system. One of the games was a Sci-Fi product called Small Space© (written by Craig Sheeley). One of the supplements we were getting ready to do was a book of powered NPC space heroes. Doc (Denton Elliott) and myself were dividing the creative duties on the various characters. That night on the early version of the SciFi, now SyFy channel was a special on book cover artist Michael Whelan. Mr Whelan is a really talented cover guy, definitely a high end talent like Olivia, Alex Schomburg, the Bros Hilderbrandt, etc…

Well, being a more inexperienced artist, this was a good thing to catch since he was covering not only techniques, but the industry as well. It was a really good show to be honest. At the end of this was a gallery of his cover art being run as a slideshow while he did a voiceover. I can’t quote it, but it went kinda like this.

“As an artist from this time period it’s good that we have finally evolved beyond the usual stereotypes in art for the covers of Sci-fi and fantasy books. The days of scantily clad women in skintight spacesuits with bubble helments and rayguns being chased by googly eyed leery aliens are finally over and these books and their covers have now grown up!”.



A Stellar Babe is Born…

The show hit a lot of good topics and subject matter about modern fiction culture, too bad I was damn hungry and there was no food where I was working, so I ended up going to a grocery store not too far away. This was the era when grocers had real book sections that were actually good to browse through (yep this dates me). As I was strolling over to the sandwich section looking for some discounted late night items, I happened by the magazine and book section. All this time the program was still fresh on my mind with all its promises. It was a good evening.

About ten seconds or so later, I began to notice the covers on the books with a lot of nice looking work gracing them. Then I hit the fantasy section and bam! There was this series (Raven) with the main character in a see-thru chain mail cropped tank top. Then it hit, nothing but an ocean of fun lurid fantasy books that were all sporting tons of pinup art. Next door in the Sci-Fi section was more of the same, just spandex (pre Spanx).

Meanwhile while inputting this , Whelan’s lecture about fiction was swirling about at the same time and the things for the Small Space supplement as well. For no reason I ended up blurting this out loud, “Wow Michael, I sure am glad book covers have grown up! That’s great, just GREAT, in fact that’s real stellar babe?!

…”stellar, babe?” …”Stellar Babe!”

Had it , the character was worked out with a full basic history by the time the deli section came into view. Ironically we never did the book, but ended up doing the first strip “First Contact” for an zine I was involved in. Later the strip would get picked up by the gaming magazine Vortext as a regular feature (Janice Sellars and Chris Williams being the creators/editors) and rerun at Radio Comix.

So  thanks Michael Whelan for being a great artist, but underestimating the universe at large.

— Yer pal, Phil (Tim and Chris).

Copyright 1992-2017 Phil Morrissey | All Rights Reserved.