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October 31, 2007

R.I.P. Professor Ichbonnsen

by sven at 11:29 am

I'm stunned... Professor Ichbonnsen, my eccentric employer -- is dead!

Apparently he died from being bitten by the venomous "Amazon Dragon." His intern Scarlet (no relation to this blog) posted the announcement earlier this morning.

When Ichbonnsen first contacted me, I was incredulous.

When my friend Mike declared that Ichbonnsen was a fraud -- and the Professor started getting argumentative -- I was dismayed.

However, as time passed and I began checking out some of the Prof's stories, I became increasingly impressed with the science behind Monster Month. If everything that he said was false, then this is one of the most elaborate and well-researched hoaxes I've ever encountered.

When I agreed to illustrate monsters for him, I thought that he was just going to send me descriptions to work from... But no! He would send me photographs (admittedly blurry), his own sketches, accounts from other witnesses -- and even the occasional sound recording.

The way in which he delivered this evidence was also compelling...

Folks who only read the Scarlet Letters blog may not even be aware of what all was going on this month. All through October, Ichbonnsen and Scarlet were traveling around the world... So in addition to posting my paintings on the Monster Month blog, they were writing up stories about the exotic locales they visited, and the adventures wherein several new monsters were discovered.

Often this meant that I had very little turn-around time between when they gave me an assignment and when it was due. I can't really complain, though -- I feel like my skills in working with acrylics really bloomed. And that, after all, was one of my main goals when I signed-on.

I don't what I should do. I never met Ichbonnsen face-to-face. Yet, via email, we worked really intensely together. How to I measure that loss? What's an appropriate memorial?

Regardless of where the line between truth and fiction lies, I've developed a strong respect for the man. Here was someone who could hold onto his convictions tenaciously -- even in the face of near universal opposition.

Call it crazy if you will -- but still, that's a rare form of bravery.

Rest in peace, Ichbonnsen.

posted by sven | October 31, 2007 11:29 AM | categories: bestiary