Like everyone who loves “genre literature”, I’ve encountered my share of stories featuring the friendlier sort of fantasy dragons. And in these stories there are huge dragons who are big enough to ride, and tiny dragons who can sit on your shoulder. And all these dragons, whichever size they are, are cool and brilliant and wise, and can either speak out loud or communicate telepathically. This always made me want to write about dragons that didn’t quite fit in: dragons that were too small to ride, but way too big to sit on your shoulder. And wouldn’t it be funny if they tended to be kind of stupid, and even if they were smart they were either kind of nerdy or annoying pains in the neck? There are regular dragons in the Kekionga universe, as anyone who has read The Smell of Midnight knows, but there are also these funky little ones. I’ve been drawing them and writing about them for a while, Wolfie came up with the perfect name for them, jackdragons, and frankly, I thought we were on to something at least a little bit creative here.
And then I found what was clearly an image of a jackdragon on the cover of a very old copy of Vogue. The resolution on the image is such that I can’t read the date, but I did some research and found some other covers with the same title logo and basic design that dated from the very late nineteen teens. (If you know the image, or have better eyes than I do, and therefore have a correct date, please let me know.) Regardless, this dragon looks just like some of the dragons I’ve been imagining, and he is almost a hundred years old. There’s no such thing as a new idea.
(As always, if you want to see more of the cool stuff I’ve been finding on Tumblr, you’re invited to visit the Coelacanth Gallery.)