Tuesday, October 14, 2008

R.I.P. Harry Fassl

I just found out that a good old friend has passed away — Harry Fassl, who provided countless photo-illustrations for Deathrealm as well as many book covers, including the cover art for my anthology, Song of Cthulhu. I don't have many details yet, but he evidently came down with flu-like symptoms that devastated his health, and he passed away on Sunday, October 12.

Harry and I hadn't had that much contact in recent years, but all through the 90s, we got together every time Peg and I went to Chicago, usually a couple of times a year. One unpleasantly memorable trip in the early 90s, he came to our rescue when Peg's car broke down on Lakeshore Drive — in the midst of the July 4th fireworks display. We had had dinner together and intended to spend that evening with him and his S.O. Diana at their place, but we ended up stranded in the parking lot of Soldier Field.

Harry put a lot of his heart into the oftentimes unsettling images of his art, though like so many people I know whose works can be most disturbing, his heart always seemed very big and very warm — despite the fact that sometimes wore the face of a crusty old curmudgeon (which makes him something of a role model).

It's a shame to me that my contact with Harry (like too many people I came to know well during Deathrealm's heyday) gradually became more and more infrequent over the years. Now it's too late. But we had some great times, appreciated each other's work no end, and among all the people I've known in my life, he occupies a distinct place of honor. I'd like to have been able to tell him that, but based on the way we used to talk, I'm quite sure he knew it.



David Niall Wilson said...

Harry was there for some of my most memorable times...at Necon and Pseudocon - and he did the cover art for my first collection, "The Fall of the House of Escher & Other Illusions."

Like you, I wonder what it is that shifts and pulls us away from people we were once close to ... life shifts, and suddenly everyone seems very far away.

The world will be a bit less interesting without Harry Fassl and his art...and I don't know what greater tribute one could make.


Stephen Mark Rainey said...

I must tell you that I'm glad we have not faltered in our mutual loathing of each other over the years. I made a lot of good friends during DEATHREALM's run, and I'm grateful for all of them, particularly those that continue to plague me, like you. Especially you.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Hey, guys, I'm sure I could make Dave cringe more than when Mark realized he looked like the BTK Strangler. Harry could do a great Christopher Walken impression by drawing his face back in a severe grin (Harry had more of a Satanic grin). Dave and Harry could be the same person in the photo here, but thats caused as much by the hair and goatee. Which is not to say that both of you are adorable and damn it it is sad that the world just seems to get bigger and bigger yet we really haven't moved all that far away from each other. Harry will be remembered by more people than many others who die, "so there's that." Three of Harry's favorite words.

Stephen Mark Rainey said...

Yeah..."So there's that." I can just hear Harry saying that.

Kurt Wimberger said...

Hello gentlemen:

Wow, so sorry to hear about Harry. Poor "mean-old Mr. Wilson." Isn't that what Jeff Osier called him?

The thing I will remember about Harry is that he used to make his own photography lights by using old metal coffee cans and naked bulb fixtures. That always impressed me.

Namaste and the best to you all!