Visiting Places That Don’t Exist

With the news of George Lucas’ retirement from big canvas filmmaking, today finds us a little bittersweet. Despite the significant damage he’s done to his legacy in the last 15 years (that’s a topic for another time) it’s churlish beyond endurance to not think of what he’s given nerd culture and not say thanks.

Ralph McQuarrie's original concept art for the Darth Vader/Obi Wan Kenobi fight from A New Hope.

In fact, Lucas was already in mind with us as we prepared this blog entry. Back in the early 1970s he feared he’d have an uphill climb convincing the studios, lost in the midst of that grim decade, to pony up for his very retro Flash Gordon-style movie. He could see how different it would be, but all his images were in his head. He knew he’d need to get something in front of them they could see.

That’s when he tapped Ralph McQuarrie to knock out a few pieces of concept art to give the money men an idea of what he was attempting.

Ever since then, we’ve been inspired by great pieces of concept art. In fact, we’ve been hanging around Reddit’s SpecArt quite a bit, looking at all the fantastic imaginings of people with a talent for images and unknown worlds. As much as we love McQuarrie, we’re almost more drawn to pieces of speculative art which have nothing to do with producing a show, movie or comic… pieces that do nothing but let us see inside the worlds that only exist in daydreams. Yes, we’re aware of how hoity-toity that sounded, and we’re fine with it.

So, from time to time, we’re going to post things here that we like, that inspire us, and when we see some, we’ll point out ones that evoke something of the world of Jet Jergens. Enjoy this first batch.

This one you'll recognize from the masthead. It's a pretty cool cruiser setting a course above a massive nebulae.

First off is Tiger Fortress… Perhaps it was Chris’ early exposure to STAR BLAZERS in the late 1970s, but for some reason we’re always attracted to ships that look like battleships.

The first piece we loved you’ll recognize from our masthead. It’s from a pretty cool artist named Shimmering Sword, and it’s over in a collection of similar word at Deviant Art. There’s something about they way Shimmering uses light that we just love, and seems very, well, McQuarriesque.

The weirdest neighborhood watch meeting ever.

The next one embodies what we REALLY love about concept art. The fact we have no idea who anyone is, or what’s going on. It’s called THE MEETING, and it’s by Donmalo, also over at Deviant Art. We’ve got no idea who’s meeting who, why, what’s going to happen, what’s already happened, and we prefer it that way.

The last one for today is another battleship, maybe in space, maybe not. It’s by Anjulnked, and is another flying battleship that evokes not the look or the tech or anything of the developing Jet Jergens world. What does it evoke? Something like the feel of Jet. Could we be more vague? Probably.

This is why we love flying battleships.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed these images. From time to time, between musings on nerd culture, the in and outs, ups and down of writing our project, we’ll be posting images we think are worth admiring. Thanks for reading…


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