Graven Images

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Title: Graven Images
Publisher: Dotty Barry
Author(s): Jane Aumerle
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s): Connie Faddis (Art samples are included on Fanlore with the publisher's permission.)
Date(s): June 1981
Series?: no
Medium: print zine
Fandom: Starsky & Hutch
Language: English
External Links:
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the zine's "birth announcement" printed in S and H #22

Graven Images is a 63-page Starsky & Hutch novel, written by Jane Aumerle, edited by Dotty Barry, and illustrated by Connie Faddis.

a very plain cover that gives no hint to the art within

While technically the novel is gen, it's also sometimes referred to as pre-slash in the fandom. From an ad in S and H #15: "A Starsky and Hutch novel by Jane Aumerle, art by Connie Faddis, R-rated, containing explicit language, violence and sex. Not, strictly speaking, an S/H story, but that theme is present."

"Graven Images" is considered an old classic in the fandom, so much that it was done as a parody play by Paula Smith called Graven Mirages.

Similarities With "The Cost of Love"

At the time Graven Images was published, Alexis Rogers was writing a similar Starsky & Hutch story also about Starsky's experiences in Vietnam: The Cost of Love. The similarities between the two stories, published so closely together within a very small fandom community, led to some bad feelings and complaints of plagiarism. The author of the Cost of Love disagreed, pointing that her story had been written (but not published) by the time Graven Images was printed.

The Art is Sold

In June 1981, the original art prints from Graven Images were offered for sale by mail auction from Connie Faddis. From S and H #23. '"Minimum bids: One-page drawings: $15 each, double-page drawings: $20. Highest bids received by July 31, 1981 win; in case of a tie, involved bidders will be notified and given two weeks to make final bids."

Titles of Art and Order of Appearance

  • Hierophant
  • My Love is Vengeance
  • Night Terror
  • Creator
  • Black Maria
  • Cassandra
  • Strangers
  • Burnt Offerings
  • Absolution

An Excerpt from the Zine

An excerpt:

And time implodes, all the years spilling together, spun down the axis of the shortest distance between two points, curved and recurved in the Riemannian elegance of mutually attracting bodies. 'Goddam' again: the word blossoms in quiet violence; fades; dies. Starsky moves out of the shadow of the house, supple body feline-smooth, gun raised non sum dignus liek the Sacrament between his hands. Hutch follows. Faint light, diffuse on the mist. Fresh-cut grass, smoke-scented herbs, wet dirt. Shadows, rippling sheen under his feet. Holocaust behind his eyes. What will I do now, will I ever do... One foot in front of the other, Godiva was a lady. Step on a crack break your mother's back and would Sigmund have fun with that one. Don't think keep moving. Halfway to the car, dirty stain like ash on black velvet. Oedipus-eyed hulk, the keepers of the house fled. Light wind stirring in the tall weeds. Then as it was, and again it will be. There is now warning. The shock splits the night like a jeweler's chisel, red-gold muzzle flash gone nova in the darkness. 'Get down!' his own voice or another's, he can't tell under the heavy rhythm of the Magnum as he fires and hits the ground and rolls and fires again, recoil like the breaking of mountains all along his bones. He gasps, breathing in the salt reek of terror and there is no more time, the universe grinds down to tau zero, now stretched infinitely long and arched back upon itself in an endless slow helix, past and future collapsed to a single dimensionless point, fragments/facets falling away, slipping beyond the event horizon as Starsky shoves the woman prone onto the grass, weak flutter of black crepe and white hands.

Sample Gallery of the Extensive Art

Reactions and Reviews

this zine inspired a filk in S and H #29


… Hutch in this novel is a man who nearly drowns in his own mind as he fights against this truth — that he will kill for Starsky in defense and in vengeance. We see here a Hutch who attempts to discipline his emotions fall with Increasingly desperate consequences to his emotional balance. He Is finally coming face to face with the depth and strength of his commitment to his partner. As much as he refuses to see, he must see. Starsky is his focus. Hutch has spent deliberately lying to himself, deliberately blind… It is written entirely from Hutch's point of view, and his personal iconography permeates the language. Images of dogs (Vanessa as werewolf and bitch), cats (Starsky, graceful as a hunting leopard"), Catholicism (litany, Catherine wheel), and hands. The use of touch is nothing new In S&H fiction—count up the hugs and hair-rufflings in any zine—but the importance of the hands that do the touching is new indeed. The meaning of touch here is not in its frequency but in its rarity. Hutch's balance is so precarious during this story that in present time (may 1978) he willingly reaches out to Starsky only a few times—two of them while Starsky is unconscious.. It's as if the touch of this man will sear his fingers. The cuddle crowd is not going to get off on this one… Graven Images is the most ambitious story I have ever read in fandom. It probes deeply into Hutch’s character and identifies many of his strengths, failings, paranoia, and guilts while being consistent with the character we see onscreen. Aumerle’s Hutch may not be yours, but that makes very little difference; her universe can be seen on the aired episodes as readily as anyone else’s, perhaps the more so for her depth of vision into the character. Connie Faddis’ artwork deserves a review all its own. It may give you a clue about its excellence to know that when she showed me the first pictures at ZebraCon last year, I got down on my knees and salaamed. Faddis has drawn these pictures with her creative blood. They reveal and conceal, and their symbolism matches the language they enhance so gracefully. They are not so much illustrations as a tableaux vivants which make one feel like an uninvited and unwelcome watch, looking on some frighteningly intimate scenes. They are irresistible. Starsky’s hands with eyes in the palms. A telephone pole forming a Cross over Hutch’s shoulder. The two blazing stars which show up in S&H’s personal night sky. The Goddess Kali – who is also the Madonna. She has swords in her hands, has her palms pressed together in prayer, strokes the mane of a Zen lion (permitted to kill only in its master’s defense), and fingers a rosary. With the swords she is slicing Hutch, with her prayers she begs for his soul, with the rosary beads she transfuses blood into his veins. This Kali-Madonna wears a crown and necklace of skulls, and decorating her robes are Catherine wheels – symbols of martyrdom. Look at Hutch in this picture – at his hands at the wound in his side. And find the lotus, symbol of life, blossoming from Starsky’s forehead. Glorious. Be very careful, incidentally, when you touch these illustrations. They are print on photographic paper and took five weeks to produce at the printer. The reproduction is incredible; I've seen the originals and not only are the sold black areas and delicate pen-strokes beautifully done, but the fine details are all there. Remarkable job. [1]

Thanks to all three reviewers of GI. I know it's not exactly cricket to run reviews of a sold out zine, but I felt that enough people own it/have access to it that printing various reviews was justified. I found Paula's to be especially interesting -- a review that approaches GI on its own intellectual level, treating it not as a fan story (which is most definitely is not) but as a work of literature. My own reservation with Paula's review was that I do not believe that a reviewer should review her perceptions of a writer's personality along with that writer's novel. [2]

I waited several months in eager anticipation for Graven Images. I was very disappointed when it finally arrived. I had to read it twice to fully understand the content… There was a lot of flotsam in the final draft and believe me, I’m familiar with undo divergence… It makes me wonder if GI was edited at all. One strong inconsistency… is that the author goes out of her way to find a medical term (contre coup fracture) for Starsky’s injury… that even the doctors… would conceivably be very familiar with the term because of their specialties, had to spend several minutes trying to recall EXACTLY what the term meant… Secondly, the description of the man Hutch killed taking a last gasping breath… let me say from experience, anyone hit in the chest area from the back with a round from a .357 Magnum wouldn’t HAVE any lung tissue or bronchial tree to gasp that breath through… Also in Nam when Starsky shoots the major, he falls forward onto Hutch therefore the bullet came from the back passing through the head. [she goes on to complain of a number of medical inaccuracies and other things she felt were errors about Vietnam, including geographical inconsistencies and terminologies]… One last comment, re S/H – everyone has the right to see what they want. That’s what makes America great! Personally, I don’t see the / but then I’m blessed with a friend as close to me as Starsky is to Hutch. [3]

I have read it twice, and pick out new things each time… [about] the story, I can’t even describe my feelings which is one reason I have procrastinated and haven’t written to the author to congratulate her, but I will… [About] the illustrations.. I didn’t really understand them. [4]

Apparently quite a few people in fandom who have read this zine did not like it because it was a chore to get through. When you need to run to the dictionary to look up every other word, all the fun goes out of reading. I myself enjoyed the story and found it a refreshing change. I do not think it would have been as enjoyable if it weren’t for my extensive background in classical literature and religious symbolism. [5]

Guidebook, Guidebook!’ Can’t read this zine without a catalogue that lists the associated wonders of Catholicism, Hinduism, Intellectualism, and Obscurism… GI is heavy with meaning, heavy with symbolism, and heavy with references to things I don’t think even Starsky and Hutch understand. It is arty, I will say that. It’s artsy, in fact artsy-crafty, or, if you prefer, crafty-artsy. While reading this zine, I had the overwhelming urge to put on my Monovoni records as background accompaniment because this is how truly cultured GI is. It’s really deep. It is so deep, actually, that the average fan becomes inundated in its artistry. It is a technical work of genius, pretentious, but clever. Style is everything here – that, and underlining. And, what matter that most of fandom’s random feedback has been, ‘Huh? Say what?... I thought is was supposed to be about S&H.’ This is ART! Who needs clarity, or for that matter, this review? GI is, in fact. the all time heavily symbolic h/c story. Surprise!... And even though Hutch is blond and slightly neurotic, isn’t he simply wonderful in his role as the Newest Nordic Martyr?... Starsky is great in his role as the reason for Blondie’s neurosis. But what I really want to say is… WHAT IS THIS STORY ABOUT?... Just one look at the art confirms that it’s a bone jones that keeps these two hot to trot and ready for action. Speaking of which, the art is very arty and artfully wrought by the artist. Nothing like gloom and doom to brighten up your room, I always say. After experiencing the obscurity of the story, the art reassured me – I could understand the pictures either… Some of the art looks like one of those elaborately drawn illustrated horoscope magazines that one can buy at the supermarket… All kidding aside, GI is truly a masterfully executed work by a mature and talented author. It is a very disturbing story that leaves one examining conscience far into the night. It is intensely thought-provoking…. GI is not a fan novel. It is not a S&H story. GI is a serious study of a reluctant warrior who has seen too many battles. The art is superb! Fandom is truly favored with an artist of such caliber as Faddis. No one can do ‘Curly’ like she can. So, read GI again, those of you who found it confusing the first time. Delve into it and allow its artistry to work its disturbing magic on your soul. [6]

Graven Images is a love story; the love of the author for craft, the love of the artist for the challenge of interpretation the written word.. I have reread GI many times and it remains fresh and vivid in my mind. Aumerle's acceptance that most of us have more than a sixth-grade education is a compliment to fandom, not an insult.... This story was two years in the writing and it shows. I, for one, feel sorry for the people who do not own a copy of this story. Kudos to both author and artist. [7]

In its technique, Graven Images is the most exciting, engrossing work S&H fandom has yet produced, or probably ever will. It is mind-stretching entertainment of a high order; tracing Aumerle's interconnecting themes and motifs, and ferreting out her real, as opposed to physical, plot is enjoyment akin to a two-hour workout at the dojo: a strenuous engagement of one's skills against an aggressive opponent... In a number of his traits, this Hutch more closely resembles Aumerle herself than Ken Hutchinson: the Catholic upbringing, the knowledge of French and Latin, the pedantic scholarship, the multilevel though patterns, the bitterness, the black humor, the heavy consciousness of irony... but beyond that, my objection to Aumerle's Hutch is that is not quite sane...[much more on that] ... In sum, GI is a landmark of the fandom for style and technique. But it is not accessible to the casual reader... The allusions in GI are essential to its exegesis, but may mean nothing to a reader who is not Roman Catholic, knows no Romance language, or has never read a book not written in the twentieth century, and she might be resentful of Aumerle's deliberate showiness and Faddis' intentional surrealism, even as she gasps at the sheer beauty they've created. Even [D B], the editor, has not gone out of her way to make the zine available, with her system of sworn depositions that guaranteed a sold-out zine the day it was printed. This exclusivity gives GI an unnecessary cachet, as if the readers wouldn't buy it if it wasn't hard to get, or else, more unfortunately, an air of pearls-before-swine. Probably, this is intentional. Nevertheless, this zine ISN'T for everybody. It was clearly written for a very small audience, one person, Aumerle herself. Which may be the toughest audience of all. [8]

From the comments in the last issue of the l/z, those who hadn’t read Graven Images might draw the conclusion that it is written entirely and literally in Greek. It isn’t. I’m neither a nurse nor a Roman Catholic. The only language I speak is English and my education could hardly qualify as ‘classical.’ But I understood and enjoyed it the first time I read it. I also enjoyed it the second, third, and fourth times. If I read it another five or ten times I’d probably still find something new each time. That, I believe, is the mark of a classic. It wears well. But you don’t have to take it apart and examine the fragments to understand the story and appreciate the beauty. That comes through on the first reading. Disturbing and complex it is. Incomprehensible it ain’t. [9]

None of the above is in any way to be construed as a criticism of the parts of Paula’s review that actually deals with the text of GI. One the very few objective measure of a work’s worth is its ability to support multiple interpretations. That Graven Images appears to be meeting this test delights me. That the part of the story that speaks most clearly to Paula does not coincide with what Mel or Marian finds most important – or even what the author considers the most important – is irrelevant. Fiction, in this respect, is a lot like sex: a different partner makes a different baby. Each reader brings her own background and concerns to the interaction with the ext. Each helps to crate a different story… As for ‘pearls before swine’ – are you the same Paula Smith who used to edit Menagerie? There aren’t two of you are there? Or is this by any chance a fit of repentance and reparation? Saul struck down on the road to Damascus, and like that. [10]

Penny -- Graven Images was... interesting. A novel way of writing that left me somewhat bewildered. But the, I didn't go in for Shakespeare or any classical type materials. If you believe in the / more power to you. It is, after all, your universe and you are entitled. The fact that I don't see it is beside the point. But if you are going to do a story along the lines of GI, make sure you get your facts straight. There are a good many errors, I'm sorry but there are. [11]

The effort going into GI isn’t ‘wasted’ even though many readers do not get pleasure from the novel because we prefer the straight-forward statement, or we don’t agree with the premise of such a neurotic Hutch. A lot of good books are not pleasant, but if they satisfy only the author it is enough. If we feel force-fed, then we don’t reread, but I wouldn’t want to deprive the many people who enjoy convoluted obscurities, of their delightful delving. Although I prefer communications to puzzles, I can appreciate, as you also obviously do, the effort that went into GI. [12]

Well, I left school at 16, went straight to work, I didn't have to use a dictionary once. Okay, the Catholic references just left me a little behind, as I was brought up a Protestant, but I still enjoyed GI. I didn't have a background in classical literature, either. Maybe I've just read the right books? jane aumerle -- Thanks for writing GI. [13]

I, like many others, eagerly awaited the publication of Graven Images. Rather than write a formal review, I'll offer some informal opinions and impressions. My major problem with the novel was accepting Hutch as a Catholic, lapsed or otherwise [cites the line in the episode TERROR ON THE DOCKS as evidence]... I found the justification of flashback scenes -- the tie between the Nam scenes and the LA scenes -- to be somewhat tenuous, and they never did tie together for me. I felt that Los Angeles was shown overly Latin. I missed the feeling of there being any other ethnic group -- minority or majority. Graven Images shows a great deal of talent, skill, knowledge and work, both from jane aumerle and Dotty Barry. However, it was a chore to read, reminding me of being force-fed novels that seemed complex for the sake of complexity. Writing is communicating – clearly, skillful, and most of all understandable. To purposely avoid these is to deny the reader his due… Not to imply that fans don’t deserve the best, I feel that much of the work, talent and skill shown in GI is wasted – I doubt that most fans want to read this type of novel – the most popular fan fiction seems to be action or character-oriented, and although many of the popular stories and novels do make some very profound statements, they do so without the convolutions and obscurities so evident in GI. I'm not sure I liked GI. It'll take a couple more readings before I'm sure of what is being said, let alone what went on with the characters. [14]

I'd appreciate it mightily if self-appointed authorities would stop announcing that Graven Images was written solely for its author. Hell, not even Emily Dickinson wrote entirely for herself — that's a form of futility and self-punishment that very few writers have time or taste for. GI was written for the intelligent, perceptive fan whose primary interest in the series is in character and who is willing — and able — to bring something of herself to the reading. Judging by the Loc's, all but about half-a-dozen copies reached exactly that audience. (I'm going partly by the l/z,there. To date, neither Dotty nor I has received a single unfavorable letter of comment in private correspondence. All the negative LoC's have been printed right here in S&H.) A book may not be known by its cover, but a writer is known by her readership. And I'm damned proud of mine.

Sandi — If you'll borrow a full set of S&H's, you'll find that the first cries of "The End is Near!" were raised in the very first issue, two-and-a-half years ago — and that the folks who were doing the wailing then are the same ones who're doing the wailing now. [15]

[Paula S] --thank you for the informative review of GRAVEN IMAGES. You clarified a lot for me. Uncle Ima -- thank you for the ah... interesting review of GRAVEN IMAGES. You satirized the plot for me. [16]


[A new fan] should also wait on GRAVEN IMAGES - you need to be deep in to S/H before that, although Penny Warren's writing is really intense. [17]


During MediaWest, I spent some time in the reading room (which has zero zilch zip in the way of Pros -- I wonder why) and read a very good S&H novel entitled Graven Images. I don't remember the author's name (Aumerle, maybe? Something like that?), but it was illustrated by Connie Faddis. It's not overtly slash, but the entire story was about the nature of their relationship. I was very impressed, not only by the story, but by the quality of the writing. [18]


... despite the tons of kudos it received, I could never finish the S/H novel "Graven Images" by Jane Aumerle. [19]


"Graven Images" is considered an old classic in the fandom, so much that it was done as a parody play by Paula Smith (as she did with Distant Shores, too! <g>) and it was illustrated by the great Connie Faddis (my own personal fandom Goddess). It's a difficult read about S and H meeting in Viet Nam, a multi-level story with lots of imagery and angst. Not everyone's cup of tea as far as style goes or as far as plot goes, but still, I'd say if you have this one, keep it. [20]


  1. ^ from an extensive review in the July 1981 issue of S and H
  2. ^ from S and H #26
  3. ^ from the August/September 1981 issue of S and H
  4. ^ from the August/September 1981 issue of S and H
  5. ^ from the August/September 1981 issue of S and H
  6. ^ a very tongue-in-cheek review by Ima Fool in the August/September 1981 issue of S and H
  7. ^ excerpted from another VERY long review in the August/September 1981 issue of S and H
  8. ^ and yet another VERY long, literate review in the August/September 1981 issue of S and H
  9. ^ from the October 1981 issue of S and H
  10. ^ from the October 1981 issue of S and H -- The author of Graven Images responds at length to one review in an earlier issue.
  11. ^ comment from a rare male fan, writing in S and H #26
  12. ^ from the November 1981 issue of S and H
  13. ^ from S and H #26
  14. ^ from S and H #26, October 1981
  15. ^ from Penny Warren (one of the novel's author's pseuds) in S and H #21, December 1981
  16. ^ from S and H #26
  17. ^ from Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (Aug 15, 1993)
  18. ^ comments by Jan Levine at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (June 1, 1995)
  19. ^ comments on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (September 2, 1996)
  20. ^ a comment at VenicePlace, September 26, 2002, quoted anonymously