Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Hammer of Dr. Valentine

“The Hammer of Dr. Valentine” ©2014 John Llewellyn Probert/Spectral Press.  Artwork ©2014 Nick Gucker. 
“The Hammer of Dr. Valentine” ©2014 John Llewellyn Probert/Spectral Press.  Artwork ©2014 Nick Gucker. Layout ©2014 Neil Williams.

“The Hammer of Dr. Valentine” ©2014 John Llewellyn Probert/Spectral Press.  Artwork ©2014 Nick Gucker. Layout ©2014 Neil Williams.

Last fall, I was contacted by Simon Marshall-Jones, owner and editor of Spectral Press, to do the cover for John Llewellyn Probert's fiendish tome "The Hammer of Dr. Valentine".
As a fan of Probert's horror fiction and film reviews I enthusiastically accepted the challenge. I'd purchased and read the first book in the series, "The Nine Deaths of Dr. Valentine" which utilized the films of Vincent Price as influence for Dr. Valentine's horrific murders. In "The Hammer of Dr. Valentine", the classic British horror films of Hammer Studios serve as the influence for Dr. Valentine's dastardly deeds. The books are novella length and a rather quick and engaging read, chock full of English locations and landmarks, vivid characters and scenes of wonderfully wicked and elaborate methods of dispatch. A Grand Guignol of ghastly horrors await the reader as Dr. Valentine exacts a terrible vengence upon his victims. The story is a riventing game of cat and mouse that is part horror, part police procedural and, depending on how demented you are, delightfully humorous.
But make no mistake, Dr. Valentine is all business. Horror business!  The brilliant writing, evocative descriptions and creative methods of demise ensured that there was no shortage of imagery from which to draw when crafting the cover art.

If you are curious to know more, the following is a brief synopsis of the book:

"Two years ago, a series of horrific murders shocked the city of Bristol. These were killings so elaborate in their planning, and so outrageous in their execution, that they made national headlines for weeks. 
Now the journalists who wrote the stories behind those headlines are beginning to die, in ways even more gruesome, even more flamboyant, and even more unbelievable than the murders they themselves wrote about at such length in the national dailies all those months ago.

Has Dr. Valentine returned?"

"The Hammer of Dr. Valentine" has been issued as a hardback release limited to 100 copies.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lustmord/Neurosis NecronomiCon Show Poster 2013

Lustmord/Neurosis NecronomiCon Show Poster ©2013 Nick Gucker
In 2013, I was asked to design a flier for the Neurosis / Lustmord show planned in conjunction with Necronomicon.  Joe Shea aka The joey Zoneeditor of the NecronomiCon Providence 2015 Program Bookhead and curator of Ars Necronomica art exhibit threw some ideas at me.  I riffed on them until we came up with something that pleased us both, a clutch of cultists hailing an old god from the abyss into the new world.
It was an honor to create the artwork and poster for apocalyptic soundscaper Lustmord and masters of doom, Neurosis, two musical groups for whom I've much love, appreciation and respect. The show was a rare treat for Americans, since Lustmord rarely performs on US soil.
It was like a baptism of sonic joy being in attendance and bearing witness to these two crushing bands doing what they do best in the company of fellow weirdlings and fanatics in the birthplace of the Lovecraftian mythos, Providence, RI.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Shambler from the Stars

My interpretation of the Shambler from the Stars (aka Star Vampire), as written by Robert Bloch from a story of the same title.

It was red and dripping; an immensity of pulsing, moving jelly; a scarlet blob with myriad tentacular trunks that waved and waved. There were suckers on the tips of the appendages, and these were opening and closing with a ghoulish lust.... The thing was bloated and obscene; a headless, faceless, eyeless bulk with the ravenous maw and titanic talons of a star-born monster. The human blood on which it had fed revealed the hitherto invisible outlines of the feaster.
—Robert Bloch, "The Shambler from the Stars"

This illustration was done for Strange Aeons, a miniature skirmish games company focusing on eldrich horrors, from Vancouver, BC.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


A version of H.P. Lovecraft's Nyarlathotep for "Dreams In the Witch House" mini-book project by Gwen and Brian of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival (PDX Chapter).
In doing research, I came across this image of Nyarlathotep Diabolis Rex, Magister Templi, Church of Satan in Portland. Figuring him to be a swell model for Nyarlathotep, also having had his name changed with said moniker added, thought whom better to base it on, chaos tentacles and all.
This mini-edition book of Dream in the Witch House will soon be released from Arkham Bazaar.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Earthworm Gods T-Shirt

Brian Keene's Earthworm Gods, art by Nick Gucker ©2014
I had the honor of being asked, while having breakfast at BizarroCon 2013, by horror writer Brian Keene and screen printer Sam McCanna to do up a t-shirt design for Keene's novel Earthworm Gods.
I had read the 2006 Leisure paperback, then titled The Conqueror Worms (now available from Deadite Press, the very best in cult horror), when it came out and became an instant fan. Often wanting to read horror outside of the common tropes (vampire, zombie, zombie, etc.) this wormy romp was a welcome change and full of surprises around every corner. So to be asked years later to design something for this book was quite a thrill.

I submitted half a dozen sketch ideas, and three were selected. I ended up going with the armed lone man in the house surrounded by a squirm of worms. I felt it would have a good central focus with a forced perspective and lots of goddamn worms! And rain. Rain is a hugely important element in the book(s), like another character. 

Then I work up a larger final pencil drawing.

Once the drawing is approved then I proceed with inking, which is my favorite part. 


I send the final art to Sam at Skurvy Ink and he gives it the go, posts it to his web shop and starts taking orders. 

For your very own squirmtastic wormpocalyps t-shirt, head on over to Skurvyink.com and git some! 
If you're interested in more shirts Iv'e designed while at Skurvy Ink, type my name into the search bar and all the designs I've done will list. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Splatterpunk #6

Interior shot of art with the story and my ad! 
I was asked by editor Jack Bantry to contribute to an old school style horror zine called Splatterpunk. I was sent a demented nightmare-logic horrorotica style story by Brendan Vidito called "Fuck Shock".
It's quite short, wicked and cuts to the chase, with some delirious almost dream like prose. The story feels like something that would fit into the film style of David Cronenberg and Ken Russell. 

I did this piece with ink and brush then added a gray background digitally. 

Cover art by Dan Henk
The new issue of SPLATTERPUNK ZINE is out now!
Cover art by Dan Henk.
Designed by Mike Dickinson.
Order Issue #6 of Splatterpunk here: https://splatterpunkzine.wordpress.com/ordering-info/

Monday, January 12, 2015

ORCA ~ Terror Just Beneath The Surface

ORCA, Nick Gucker ©2014

Here's a commission piece I did in the fall of 2014. The fella who'd contacted me wanted to commission a piece similar to the horror posters I'd done (Demons, The Beyond, Blacula, Evil Dead, etc.), this was to be a gift to his wife on her birthday. He could only afford to go black and white.
Having grown up in Alaska, Orca was the Jaws of our generation, riding the coattails of the famed shark film. Sharks like Great Whites were few if ever in the waters of SE AK, but Killer Whales were and still are abundant. This was a memorable movie for me in many ways (leg ripping death scene with Bo Derrik, Fetal Orca, early Charlotte Rampling crush) and was excited to work on this project.
There are no tentacle in the film but the customer wanted them, and I happily obliged. Back in the day of good film posters, there were often elements that never showed up in the films, and this would be no different.