H.P. Lovecraft helped me discover who made the jellyfish cards. Or rather, it was because a link with a Lovecraft mention along with jellyfish caught my eye, and that led me to John Holbo’s site and to answers and truth and demystification and the boring humdrum reality that the cards weren’t real.
But! I also found that John originally made them as part of a Christmas parody he wrote/designed called Mama In Her Kerchief and I in My Madness: A Visit of Sog-Nug-Hotep: A Truly Awful Christmas Volume. For a time, it had been available online, but John let it slide over time. And that’s a shame, because, dude:
During the Victorian era Christmas was indeed regarded as a “happy” day, but one of uncanny terror. Accordingly, cards and ornamentation featured strange creatures with too many tentacles. Then ‘Santa Claus’ became popular, and many older designs fell out of fashion. The present volume presents research on Ernst Haeckel’s work on holiday ‘Kunstformen der Un-Natur’; such Ur-figures as ‘Soggy Ned’; and the 1852 disappearance of noted greeting card designer and ‘cthuligrapher’, Albert Whedge-Wheskit.
Lovecraft’s Old Ones and Santa? Now that’s something I’d get behind and spend tons of cash on.
But we can now rejoice in fully holiday glee! Since I bugged him about the cards and he found out that a lot of folk online thought they were real, he generously decided to make it available again. (And to battle fake news. The struggle is real.)
Also, go visit his blog which is full of other wonderful things, especially if you like a cross of philosophy, DA FUNNY, the weird, and design. And his new main illustration site is here with all kinds of great stuff.