Mort: Hopfrog Nevermore

The month of March adds another death to its grim stats with the passing at age 67 of Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, May 3 1951-March 26 2019.

Got to give him a mention here if only because of his introduction to the first edition hardcover of John D. Haefele’s A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos, an intro carried on into the second edition trade paperback, but, in deference to The Pug’s legend, omitted from the third edition eBook. Pugmire above all seemed to carry the lore of a book-book guy, a fellow of limited and curiously quaint print runs, a lurker in signed editions of one hundred copies. That sort of thing.

A truly fine intro, let it be said, to the best book ever done on the Cthulhu Mythos.

Pugmire himself was most associated with the modern Mythos, that cadre of writers who emerged from the fanzines and fanfic of the 1970s. I first heard rumor of him circa 1974 because he had a job of sorts where he got to dress up as Lon Chaney in the lost film London After Midnight. I thought then — and still think now — that such an unusual gig is very cool, and nothing less than a triumph to even create.

I can see myself as a guide on night tours of the Winchester Mystery House, but only if I got to pay tribute to Chaney, too. Cape, top hat and teeth, please. . . .

Count Pugsly, that was his undercover moniker. He branched out into other guises and adopted identities, ultimately posing as an eldritch drag queen — but perhaps that wasn’t a pose. I was thinking his YouTube channel had hundreds of vids on it, and so it does. If interested, probably the easiest way to access the Pug-o-sphere.    

While I’ve known of Pugmire all these years, and we operated on the borders of a common nyctaloptic nexus, I only met him once, when I stopped in on some horror convention in San Francisco. He seemed like a mild-mannered guy, despite the fact that his face was painted green or other bright and untoward color.

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