Last weekend I got to attend the New York Comicon where, sitting somewhat unassumingly among the main display floor, across from a display of fecal-pile action figures (that's not me editorializing – they were action hero piles of poop) and sandwiched between two comic dealers doing brisk business, was Basil Gogos.
If the improbable name doesn't ring a bell, Basil Gogos is perhaps best known as the "monster painter" who put portraits of Dracula, Frankenstein, and others (his Gill-Man is pictured above) on the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland.
He seemed a bit lost in the hurly-burly of the show floor. He was quietly sitting behind a portfolio of his work, pushing poster-sized prints and a career highlights book. He was dressed in a dapper dark suit and was wearing what seemed to be a cravat. I approached him and asked how the convention was treating him. "Quietly," was his answer.
That's a bit of a bummer, really. There was a heavy horror presence at this con. Wes Craven and his son were there to pitch Hills Have Eyes II and Eli Roth and company were showing sneak peaks of Hostel II. Upstairs, Gene "the Dean" Colan was selling original art featuring his Tomb of Dracula characters for a couple hundred dollars a pop. However, none of this seemed to translate into any love for Gogos and the older icons of horror cinema.
As we discussed his book, we were interrupted by a man who shoved in between us and thrust a small black notebook at Gogos. "Sign here please," the man said. He sounded like a UPS worker dropping off a particularly cumbersome and heavy package. Gogos smiled pleasantly, signed graciously, and the man took off as suddenly as he came. He purchased nothing from Gogos. He didn't even say thanks.
People can be such jackasses.
My friend, don't be a jackass. Check out more of Gogos's paintings at his Web site. Unfortunately, his home site doesn't offer up any of his pulpy masterpieces for such outlets as Men's Adventure, a delightfully tacky cheesecake and lit-trash rag from the 60s, but his classic monster stuff is there for browsing and buying.