The article below, written by Jason Robert Bell (AKA Iason Ragnar Bellerophon) appeared in issue #2 of the Philip José Farmer fanzine Farmerphile, back in 2005. Ten years later R. Paul Sardanas acquired a copy of it, and it became the catalyst for the author and artist to join forces in the creation of Doc Talos. Many of the artworks shown in the article appear, in greatly enhanced fashion, in the Talos books.
The article relates the experience of creating the stage presentation of Farmer’s A Feast Unknown at Brooklyn’s Brick Theater…an audacious project indeed.
One of the most important figures in the Talos stories is Patricia…who of course is based on Pat Savage, as well as Phil Farmer’s incarnation of Pat, Trish Wilde. My favorite Doc Savage adventures were always the ones with Pat…and she appeared in 39 novels over the span of the pulp run.
When the time came to craft my own version of Pat, I played with various nicknames using Patricia as the origin, and found myself greatly attracted to Rickie, which seemed to capture her natural warmth and impudence very well. So Rickie Talos she became, and she is far more than a decoration in these stories, she is an integral part of them.
In the immense collection Doc, there is an addendum devoted to her, which I’ll reproduce in full here, along with some marvelous commission art by David Cuccia, Diego Bernard, and Steve Rude. The artwork from the 1970’s Marvel adaptation of Death in Silver is by Ross Andru.
The concept of the body as a vessel for mystical energies is by no means new – it’s been a theme in wildly varied forms of belief for thousands of years. In the Doc Talos saga, occult undercurrents are constantly coming into conflict with those of hard science…from early researches into genetics in the Victorian era, on through the ecstasies and ravages of power and identity experienced by both “primal men” in the stories, Doc Talos and Lord Grersoun.
The theme is explored visually in a series of artworks by Iason Bellerophon. A portfolio of idealized, perfect anatomical drawings is overlaid by kinetic abstract imagery, drawing on the essence of both science and mysticism to depict the mystery of divine codes in the human body.
Available soon for electronic download, dozens of Bellerophon’s anatomical extrapolations are being collected into a visual codex of the physical marvel that is the man of bronze.
In February 2020 the iconic fanzine The Bronze Gazette published a preview of Talos, with backstory on the origins of the stories, a selection of Iason Bellerophon’s paintings, and a short excerpt featuring Doc and Mona in his “Fortress of Solitude”, Point Nord.
For Talos completists, copies of the fanzine can be purchased directly from Chuck Welch at The Bronze Gazette.
Check out some great preview videos created by Iason Ragnar Bellerophon at his website tetragrammatron.com. They include this amazing film of Iason thumbing through the actual painted master copy of Talos…
…and an intense glimpse of Savages, with voiceover by the author.