“When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me-it still sometimes happens-and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous-not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful… The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.”
Ukiyo-e Heroes: Donkey Kong Visits 17th-Century Japan
Mario racing a rickshaw, Kirby wielding a katana, and Donkey Kong bounding past cherry blossoms. In his fantastical Ukiyo-e Heroes series, 29-year-old illustrator Jed Henry reimagines classic video game characters in the style, setting, and medium of traditional Japanese woodblock prints (ukiyo-e). Growing up in Indiana in the 1980s, Henry learned to draw by copying the art in his video game manuals. It was an exciting time to be a gamer, as companies like Nintendo and Sega raced to create the best systems and graphics. A decade later, with a degree in animation and living in Utah, the illustrator and children’s book author is working with Canadian (by way of Tokyo) printmaking master Dave Bull to to create fine art prints of his characters. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign — Henry raised $290,000 more than his original goal — his illustrations are celebrating Japan’s vibrant pop culture, both then and now. We talked to him about his craft.
How do you choose which video games to feature?
I’m a big retro gamer. I played a lot of games as a kid, and my heart is really stuck on those games — a lot of Nintendo, Konami, and Capcom titles. So, that’s how I choose, it’s just my favorites from when I was a kid.