Yes, he was that prolific.
And no, I never have actually tried to swing a cat through a book. It might be messy.
Mr. Otus was there with me from the beginning of my
These pictures both spoke to me on a deep, visceral level as well as to my creativity and imagination. To me, his particular peculiar style defines what D&D was in those days: bold, colorful, quirky, and slightly overfull with tentacles.
And I mean that in a good way.
Erol Otus loved tentacle-y things. For example:
A group of aliens from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. Yes. I said "aliens." In D&D. And yes, they're standing in an elevator.
His depiction of a roper.
and a depiction of the "deity" Shub-Niggurath.
Even when he wasn't drawing things with tentacles, his pictures still seemed to come out a bit tentacle-y. Don't take this as a complaint, though, neither as a criticism; not by any means. It is simply an observation, a comment upon his style. For Erol Otus has an unmistakable style--it is impossible to confuse him with anyone else. I have seen some modern artists attempt to mimic his style, but no one pulls it off with the same amount of class and skill.
At any rate, tentacles or no, with the passing of so many of the Old School masters in the last several years, it is good to know that the world still benefits and is brightened by the continuing work of an artist like Erol Otus.
May your ink be ever wet and your nibs always sharp, Mr. Otus. Salute!