Monday, April 22, 2013

It's the Magic: Quinton Hoover

This weekend, popular discontent over the latest spoiler from Dragon's Maze was eclipsed by the news that Quinton Hoover, fantasy artist responsible for some of Magic's most memorable art, passed away at the age of 49.

I'll cop to being aware of only a few Magic artists, so I didn't know Hoover by name before Friday afternoon. It didn't take too long for sites like Art of M:TG and a quick look around The Gatherer to realize I've known his work since before I played Magic.

Not all of the early art was representative of what the card did *cough* Stasis *cough* and I never really got how Green Arrow's interpretive dance performance exemplified regeneration. It's because I posses the paired faults of being too lazy to examine art and too much a philistine to even properly appreciate it.

You know this one. There are newer Wraths of Gods, in name and form alike, but if it's not an angry, glowing face looking down on opposing armies as they slowly die, it's just not the same.

As near as I can tell, Archangel has never been very popular as a card, but its art is great. I'm not going to rail on about tastefully attractive women who aren't putting shims down their bras to expose the maximum allowable amount of tit because there's something really cool about this card. Archangel looks like art of art. Specifically, a stained glass window that you might see behind the pulpit of any white-aligned church. It's a really clever way to express the angels-instead-of-gods style of religion that pervades most Magic settings.

Timespiral's white-shifted Severed Legion is pretty cool. With a tiny, tiny image you can see that instead of the grotesque, fear-inspiring black approach to evading blockers, the Seekers are cautious, methodical creatures literally evading others. All of that with the constant Time Spiral ruined backdrops.

I feel for artists. Especially when they have to make the rocks that make mana. It requires taking something very uninteresting (rocks) and illustrating how they do something very esoteric (generate fuel for magic hippopotamuses). None the less, Fellwar Stone does a good job of it before doing a good job of it got entirely worked out.

I'm beginning to think that American kids can be divided into two groups; those who know The Headless Horseman is bad ass because it's the first horror movie they ever saw and those unimaginative spoil-sports who think it's unrealistic for someone--ghost or no--to ride a horse without a head. Quinton Hoover was the only member of the first group to touch this card during its creation. Even the guy who thought up the name found it in a book of horror characters at 4:55 on a Friday and it was designed, printed, and shipped by 5:00.

But there's nothing 2/2 vanilla about that art.

If rendering mana rocks was rough, Balduvian Shaman is art commission trolling. He changes a color word on a white enchantment to another color word and adds a cumulative upkeep. So, if there's a white enchantment that gives a creature +3/+3 versus green creatures forever, you can make it into an enchantment that gives that creature +3/+3 versus red creatures until such time that you feel like casting a spell again.

While the art for Balduvian Shaman doesn't quite say "I couldn't draft Merfolk of the Pearl Trident," it does give you an awesome shaman.

*&@#in' love it. 

Nettling Imp was a card that I never knew how to use but always tried to, partially because the art for it is so great. That's a Nettling fucking Imp and he loooves his job. It's strange though, because modern imps are largely joyless, animalistic fliers and devils seem to be enjoying their job and getting folks to attack, but I guess if it was a Creature - Imp Devil, it would require an uncomfortable discussion about the birds and the bees and the devils and imps and the safety words.

Another great card with great art. I'm not going to say that any depiction of discard is ever going to make me happy. Quite the opposite. However, the card itself doesn't seem to depict the target of the spell so much as the caster itself, a dark figure who's about to fuck shit up with .

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