Here is a double page from an Argosy magazine of 1952 illustrating The Rocket Man, a short story excised from Ray Bradbury's book The Illustrated Man, published the previous year. Ostensibly this story inspired a song by the Spotniks that in turn inspired Bernie Taupin and Elton John to create their song Rocket Man.
A father's obsession—when you're there, you want to be here, when you're here you want to be out there.
Frank Schoonover, great American illustrator, didn't quite reach the level of stardom that superstar illustrator N.C. Wyeth did. Schoonover's work looked a lot like Wyeth's, undoubtedly because they were both students of master illustrator Howard Pyle and were schooled with the same great illustrative principles, becoming part of the famous Brandywine School.
Prolific like Wyeth, when Schoonover died at the age of 94 he had over two thousand illustrations to his credit. Joan of Arc was one of his classic subjects for a book in 1918, shown here with some illustrations from that book — and just because I like it so much, I've placed my favorite on top.
I really like Frank Thorne's later work. Besides the focus on battling babes, Thorne has a graphic design quality that is unique and flavorful. His comic book claim to fame really began with his Red Sonja treatment, moving on to Ghita and others. I'll come back to Thorne's work on a later post, but in the meantime some flavorful comic pinups:
Below, an assemblage of Sonjas. Beginning on the left with Robert E. Howard's original character, envisioned by Roy Krenkel, from a different setting than when Barry Smith (with Roy Thomas) brought her to Conan's saga—and then was fully developed (ahem!) by Frank Thorne.
Prince Valiant was the only comic strip that I know of that kept track of how many pages it had published, week by week. This was page 2000 of Hal Foster's epic Sunday strip. Published well after Foster retired and laden with iconic Foster artwork from the past, it was quite a treat to see in the midst of John Cullen Murphy's run on the strip.
Hal Foster — Prince Valiant page 2000 — June 8, 1975
Here is another beautiful example from the grand era, when editors honored the beautiful cover art they published by not slapping text blurbs all around it. The blurb along the bottom, advertising editorial content, adds just enough weight and balance to justify itself.
Not to mention that it was a time when women were being portrayed with a new balance, one of strength of character with cultivated femininity.
What a grand era! What a beautiful cover!
Harrison Fisher — Saturday Evening Post — June 19, 1915
Gulliver's Travels, the 1939 full-length feature cartoon, was Paramount's response to Disney's Snow White feature. It had some interesting animation techniques combining rotoscoping for Gulliver, and stretch and squash for the lilliputians (25,000 of 'em!).
It was just one of so many landmark movies to come out in 1939.
Yow, wow! A HUGE tip o' the hat to Glen Story for shipping over a scan of the complete spread by Wally Wood that I talked about last post! It's an extravaganza of art from an amazing artist. There's the Marx Bros and Jerry Lewis and Plastic Man and Melvin Cowznofski and the whole furshlinger crowd!
Thanks Glen! What a great community of bloggers we have. Check out Glen's beautiful images on his tumblr site here.
While wandering through my pictorial morgue, I sometimes find that I filed an item years ago even though it wasn't complete.
Here's a fabulous incomplete panorama by Wally Wood from one of the early magazine format Mads. The missing section continues off to the left but that doesn't prevent me from marveling at the tremendous talent that Woody brought to bear on this scene.
Each figure is fully rendered and fits proportionally and naturally into this forced perspective birds-eye view. I recognize Richard Nixon and Joe E. Brown amongst the clowns. This is the sort of scene that people refer to when they say, "it looked like something out of Mad Magazine!"
I've posted this as a very large scan, and I hope it comes across that way. If you try downloading and then opening it, you should be able to zero in on detail. If any of you Mad fans have the whole scene, I hope you'll consider sending a large scan of it over here.
Many many people love pin-up art, and there is much of it (pin-up art, that is) for people to love. The golden age of pin-ups (1930?-1950?) was the best (in my opinion), I think because of a form of innocent sexuality. The nudity is removed from reality and the spirit of more innocent times is swirled into the paint.
Compare the work below, all created by the same artist, Fritz Willis. The top image is one of his earlier paintings and is just this side of being a cartoon for Esquire or Playboy, with stylized features and a golden aura. Below that is Willis' later work, from the Walter Foster art instruction book by Willis. The models are sophisticated women with a 60s' Las Vegas showgirl look about them. They're nicely done, but to my old and weary eyes they are commercial works trying to be fine art, whereas the first one is happy to be just a beautiful pin-up on a barrack's wall.
Fritz Willis — Camels and Coffee
Fritz Willis — cover art to the Walter T. Foster book, The Nude
Fritz Willis — sketch from his book, and some good advice
Intentionally or not (probably not), this energetic painting, by George Petty intended for the 1965 Ice Capades, utilizes techniques similar to the Leyendecker brothers — a bit of the modeling of J.C. in the hair and fabric, and the spicy carnival coloring and staging of F.X.
The painting is pure Petty of the 60s, but it revitalizes techniques from decades before.
Did anybody get a chance to see Dolphin Tale in the last few months? We saw it with our daughter and it was an okay film, demonstrating the danger of dolphins being caught in fishermen's traps. Who knew there was an awareness of such dolphin danger way back in 1899, which is shown in this graphic from Jugend magazine . . . oh and I guess a similar danger for water nymphs, though they may indeed be extinct by now.
I am posting these images with a non-profit and educational 'fair use' motive, regarding respective copyrights. Anyone downloading and using these images for any commercial use would be in violation of respective copyrights, and does not have my approval for such use.
My name is Thom Buchanan.
I'm an artist and photographer.
People are my favorite subjects to portray in art and photos. My wife (and studio partner) has called that my 'people skills', as I've been passionately creating portrait studies for many years.
I refer to myself as a pictorialist, a combination of image-making and journalist. Images are my life.