Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Flight of the Dragon

Gregory Manchess

This is an old article that I read in OMNI magazine, about one year before I started working with them. The magazine blended science and science fiction so very well. I tore it out and kept it because of the great way Peter Dickinson argues for the logic of how dragons might've worked, and of course for the intriguing artwork by Wayne Anderson.

I scanned it for Muddy's readers as I figure if you're like me with dragons, no matter what form they come in, cartoony or realistic, you enjoy your fantasies as close to believable as possible.


  1. Those Anderson illustrations are amazing!

  2. This article is fascinating. We should obviously be looking for dragon fossils underwater. There, the water would have swept the dragon's chemicals away before they dissolved the bones. Now, go find me a dragon you paleontologists!

  3. Wayne Anderson was an early inspiration and influence for me and he still is today. He's one of those guys whose work is hard to shake once it's gotten into your psyche. If you want to see some original work go to AFANYC Gallery in Soho. Brian Froud shows there too along with some hacks like me.

    1. That sounds great, Bill! I gotta stop by!


    2. Used to be Animazing Gallery. They still represent animation work online but the gallery is now illustration and fine art.

      54 Greene Street, NY 10013

  4. A fascinating article indeed and such wonderful illustrations. Thanks for the scanning this for us all to see!

  5. I miss Omni Magazine. My older brother subscribed to it. The illustrations were always cool.

    At the time I would sneak a peak at the magazine, like I would play with his magnificent model tanks and airplanes and listen to his very expensive stereo system thinking he would never know what I was doing... but no matter how hard I tried to to match up wheels to dustless spots, albums in just the right place, and the newer Omni magazines right on top of the issue I just looked at the way it was before I looked at the pictures... the Lug head always new I was there... thank God he wasn't into knuckle sandwiches.

    Anyway, Greg, do you have a listing of the illustrations you did for Omni somewhere? If not, it's time to get you an intern to whip up a Greg Manchess's Omni Magazine illustrations web site, ay? It would be nice to see your older work before I knew who Greg Manchess was...

    Thanks for the blog post and memory jog.


    1. Thanks, Mike....hmmm.....I may have to draw up a list. It's not very long, and it would show a bit of my development.

      Great thing about OMNI is that they always liked the oil paintings I did, even during a time when my agents and the entire field was not interested in oil paintings at all.

      I like to think I helped bring back a little of that interest in that medium for mainstream. Then again, good oil painting is just too dang cool, y'know? (SF&F artists and buyers have always embraced it.)

  6. fantastic!
    if i remember correctly, there was a full book about this... i believe by the same guys?
    I used to check that out at the library as often as possible and carry it with me everywhere when i was a kids, one of my favorite books!

  7. That color palette... is fantastic.

  8. Wow....I didn't know they wrote a book on the subject. Please let us know if you have more info on that, or is it under the same title?


  9. Book...? I remember watching a Bass/Rankin movie called Flight of Dragons.

  10. well, it's been like 20+ years....
    but, i want to say that it is the same name, this guy:

    it had all sorts of great drawings of how they have hot air sacs to help lift them and stuff like that...

    i should really hunt that down..
    i wonder if my hometown library still has it?...hmm... :)

  11. Oh my gosh, I HAVE THIS BOOK! And yes, it was published as an entire book, with many elaborate illustrations of all the mechanics of blimp-style dragon flight. I love this book, it's so wonderfully weird.

    Here's the info from the copy I have, if anyone wants to stalk it in used book venues:
    "The Flight of Dragons"
    by Peter Dickinson, illustrations by Wayne Anderson
    Published by Harper and Row, 1979
    ISBN 0-06-011074-0 (USA)

  12. I owned the book as a child. Amazing, evocative & moody artwork. It definately inspired me.The images stook in my head in a positive way.

  13. This was one perfect article! Those ideas are revolutional and genious, unfortunately they are also wrong. Dragons were a metaphor for smth much more complicated.They were probably a symbol that stood for will need to be more open minded than avarage not to laugh and stop reading here- they stood for extraterrestrials.A specific kind of them to be more precise- the reptilians. Long ago when they visited this planet what our ancestors saw were lizard-like beings of great power that had the ability to fly and smoke and fire and great roars came out of their ships so imo this is what stays behind all those dragons. There are dragons all around the globe - in every mythology from china to south america and there is no logical explanation for that,since those cultures were not in contact, just as there is no explanation behind the pyramids.I will stop here becouse otherwise I will spend the night writing an article 10 times the size of the one above:) Those who consider this logical will know the detail, the rest I wont be able to convince anyways.

  14. I have thought about this article many, many times over the years. It's one of my favorites that appeared in Omni. Thank you for including it in your blog. It made my day!


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