Judge Holden, Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
An enormous man dressed in an oilcloth slicker had entered the tent and removed his hat…He was bald as a stone and he had no trace of beard and he had no brows to his eyes nor lashes to them…He was close on to seven feet in height… His face was serene and strangely childlike…His hands were small. (Multiple suggestions.)
Updated image: Based on the consensus from The Onion AV Club discussion, Judge Holden has been updated to be bulkier.
Happy birthday, Cormac McCarthy!
Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
His very person and appearance were such as to strike the attention of the most casual observer. In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller. His eyes were sharp and piercing, save during those intervals of torpor to which I have alluded; and his thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision. His chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination.
Good news for fans of American Gods. According to The Mary Sue, Starz has picked up the series adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel after HBO dropped development earlier this year. Here’s the composite for Mr. Wednesday from 2012.
Mr. Wednesday, American Gods, Neil Gaiman
Shadow looked at the man in the seat next to him…He grinned a huge grin with no warmth in it at all…His hair was a reddish gray; his beard, little more than stubble, was grayish red. A craggy, square face with pale gray eyes…The man’s craggy smile did not change…There was something strange about his eyes, Shadow thought. One of them was a darker gray than the other…humorless grin…Wednesday’s glass eye… He was almost Shadow’s height, and Shadow was a big man. (Suggested by jrodgersart and apeculiarcontradictorything)
Updated image: Author Neil Gaiman graciously suggested several changes to the composite: 20 years older; craggier; a squarer face and permanent smile. I updated everything but the last item—expression being rather muted in the program.
If you look at them in the right way the accused really can be attractive, quite often. — Franz Kafka, The Trial
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson
To this rule, Dr. Jekyll was no exception; and as he now sat on the opposite side of the fire—a large, well-made, smooth-faced man of fifty, with something of a slyish cast perhaps, but every mark of capacity and kindness…The large handsome face of Dr. Jekyll grew pale to the very lips, and there came a blackness about his eyes.
Mr. Hyde was pale and dwarfish, he gave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation, he had a displeasing smile…thickly shaded with a swart growth of hair…corded and hairy…God bless me, the man seems hardly human! Something troglodytic…Edward Hyde was so much smaller, slighter, and younger than Henry Jekyll. Even as good shone upon the countenance of the one, evil was written broadly and plainly on the face of the other…The few who could describe him differed widely, as common observers will. Only on one point, were they agreed; and that was the haunting sense of unexpressed deformity with which the fugitive impressed his beholders.
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Dallas Winston, The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton
If I had to pick the real character of the gang, it would be Dallas Winston—Dally. I used to like to draw his picture when he was in a dangerous mood, for then I could get his personality down in a few lines. He had an elfish face, with high cheekbones and a pointed chin, small, sharp animal teeth, and ears like a lynx. His hair was almost white it was so blond, and he didn’t like haircuts, or hair oil either, so it fell over his forehead in wisps and kicked out in the back in tufts and curled behind his ears and along the nape of his neck. His eyes were blue, blazing ice, cold with a hatred of the whole world. Dally had spent three years on the wild side of New York and had been arrested at the age of ten. He was tougher than the rest of us—tougher, colder, meaner. The shade of difference that separates a greaser from a hood wasn’t present in Dally. (Suggested by queenie-katherine )
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Patricia Highsmith was born on January 19th, 1921. Above is a repost of the composite for Tom Ripley, from her novel The Talented Mr. Ripley.
[Ripley] combed his light-brown hair neatly in front of the mirror, and set off for Radio City. He had always thought he had the world’s dullest face, a thoroughly forgettable face with a look of docility that he could not understand, and a look also of vague fright that he had never been able to erase. A real conformist’s face, he thought…Really it was only his darker hair that was very different from Dickie.
Otherwise, his nose—or at least its general form—his narrow jaw, his eyebrows if he held them right. He wasn’t really worried. Tom had at first amused himself with an eyebrow pencil—Dickie’s eyebrows were longer and turned up a little at the outer edges—and with a touch of putty at the end of his nose to make it longer and more pointed, but he abandoned these as too likely to be noticed. The main thing about impersonation, Tom thought, was to maintain the mood and temperament of the person one was impersonating, and to assume the facial expressions that went with them. The rest fell into place…He might play up Tom a little more, he thought.
He could stoop a little more, he could be shyer than ever, he could even wear horn-rimmed glasses and hold his mouth in an even sadder, droopier manner to contrast with Dickie’s tenseness.
Vaughn, Crash: A Novel, JG Ballard
His exhausted face, with its scarred mouth…As his pock-marked jaws champed on a piece of gum I had the sudden feeling that he was hawking obscene pictures around the wards…But what marked him out was the scar tissue around his forehead and mouth, residues of some terrifying act of violence…Heavy black hair…Broken and re-set nose bridge…His features looked as if they had been displaced laterally, reassembled after the crash from a collection of faded publicity photographs. The scars on his mouth and forehead, the self-cut hair and two missing upper canine gave him a neglected and hostile appearance…His hard mouth, with its scarred lips, was parted in a droll smile.
Happy birthday JG Ballard! H/T Vol. 1 Brooklyn
I’ve never placed too much emphasis on the composite drawing. While they can be better than nothing, they are fairly generic…I’ve interviewed guys in prison who told me they breathed a sigh of relief as soon as they saw the published composite because they realized it looked like any man on the street. It didn’t resemble them enough to trigger an identification. Also…the composite would have less and less meaning as he aged, yet that image would be fixed in people’s minds. — John Douglas, former FBI profiler