- This Death.
100 Picture Challenge #43: Dying.
I know. You're saying, WTF? I don't see anyone dying.
Just hear me out on this one, huh?
First of all, I'm going to confess something: I was crazy about World War II as a kid, especially
about the air battle bits. ESPECIALLY B-17 Flying Fortresses
. Much of that time was spent writing WWII air force stories, playing flight sims and building model aircraft; the remaining time was spent entertaining fantasies about being
the pilot of a Flying Fortress.
The other confession is that I dig war poetry and squaddie songs (ie. those war-themed songs sung by soldiers and airmen). At the top of this list is William Butler Yeats' An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
, which of course provided the inspiration for this artwork. (And probably my hero-worshipping of Bob Morgan...). (The title comes from the Yeats poem, btw.
Anyway I wanted to do something in the style of those old WWII propaganda posters (complete with yellowed paper), but one with a certain irony to it. Yeah sure, there were all those posters telling you about how great it was to be in the army, to be serving your country, and ENLIST NOW! but behind the prettified, glamourous image of army life lurked the less-than-palatable fact that casualty rates were terrible. [In this context, about half the B-17s were lost in battle; the casualty rate for said crews was something like 25% (but, in some groups, could go as high as 87%).] So yes, you're going out to serve your nation... but there's also a fat chance you won't be coming home afterward.
(Of course, as I realised belatedly, my plans to paint it a la propaganda posters failed somewhat. This was because (1) I can't paint in anybody else's style but my own, and (2) I went detail-crazy. Seriously detail-crazy. A fat lot of good it did me after I rescaled the picture!).
Many, many thanks to Tycho for beta-ing, and for coming up with the words to accompany the picture. Oh, and in case anybody's wondering, the name of this particular B-17 is Dakota Harlot
(name obscured by the guy's head). [chuckle] (It was the name of one of the minor planes in my old fics).