Ron Miller, Lady Jessica
OH MY GOD
okay. So I have the book that this is from (Firebrands, with text by Pamela Sargent) and this is like, one of my hands-down actual favorite illustrations of Lady Jessica – but 90% of the rest of the illustrations in the book are just. appalling.
@bikiniarmorbattledamage would have a FIELD. DAY. with some of the illustrations – like this NSFW illustration of Mitaine, f’r instance. I seriously feel like Miller was one of those ‘I have a project, let me paint you naked for it’ Art Guys because dang. There are a few examples at the Amazon link, above, but I won’t include any here.
however! the text is basically a compendium of female characters in sff throughout the ages, including some female protagonists that may have gotten lost to the mists of time (I know I picked up a few books because the descriptions piqued my interest). Not all of them are necessarily, erm, female characters whose narratives are ideal, but it’s nice to have a reference that acknowledges their existence in some way.
but yikes, is the art ever inconsistent. this is one of my faves, though – between it and the illos of Moon Dawntreader Summer and Susan Calvin, plus the text, I don’t consider it a waste of shelf space – but neither can I rec it properly (★★☆☆☆).
The thing that makes this particular book mind blowing is that it lists the dates of the stories for each female character, and then arbitrarily mixes the illustrations of sensible armor with everything from ridiculous just being outright naked with no regard for the context of story or era.
It’s kind of like if you bought a book on cars, and the it starts a detailed illustration of the first popular model mentioned, then the second popoular model’s illustration is a whacky cartoon that depicts it a modern car in an Old West town.
The disconnect is so amazing it really gives the impression that the writer and the illustrator had completely different ideas about what the goal of this project was supposed to be.
Which we’re kind of used to seeing in a lot of types of media, but is especially disappointing in a book celebrating less well known heroine figures.