Friday, August 31, 2012

Chestnut Trees

An astounding use of color from the art nouveau period:

Carl Strathmann — Chestnut Trees — circa 1900

The Beast Within

In some ways we must all deal with the beast within.

Berni Wrightson — Who's the Fairest of Them All? —1980

Come Hither and Frolic and Play

Known mostly for his faerie-world color work, Warwick Goble was also pretty adroit with pen and ink rendering.

Warwick Goble — The Sea-Fairies

Slow sail'd the weary mariners and saw,
Betwixt the green brink and the running foam,
Sweet faces, rounded arms, and bosoms prest
To little harps of gold; and while they mused,
Whispering to each other half in fear,
Shrill music reach'd them on the middle sea.
. . .
O hither, come hither and furl your sails,
Come hither to me and to me:
Hither, come hither and frolic and play . . .

Thursday, August 30, 2012


This is a teaser poster for the 1936 movie, The Dancing Pirate, the third Technicolor film to be made, but true to its advertising, the first dancing musical to surrender to glorious color. The cast is barely remembered, but for an uncredited specialty dancer, Rita Hayworth.

The design, color and rendering of this poster is remarkably like something Robert Peak, the great illustrator, would have created—but for the fact he was nine years old at the time of this film. Perhaps he saw it and lay dormant in his mind for many years . . .

The Dancing Pirate — 1936

Drapery Study

A nicely vignetted drapery study by the ever elegant John LaGatta.

John LaGatta — Ladies Home Journal — 1938

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Great Chassis

What a beautiful cover. Where are the modern equivalents?

Scott Evans — Liberty — 1936

What a great chassis.

Erasing the Line

George Lucas — best hair beHIND the camera!

Forbes — 1996

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Big Sixteen

Good goggley woggely, look at the entertainment a dollar-sixty cents could buy for a kid in just one month's time, from just one publisher back in the 1940s. What a great time to be a kid!

Monday, August 27, 2012


This is a pretty nice cover by Mike Vosburg, who seems to be channeling a bit of Bill Sienkiewicz channeling a bit of Bob Peak.

Mike Vosburg —Sisterhood of Steel #1 — circa 1980s

Sunday, August 26, 2012

King Kong Kover

Back in the day, I would have bought a box of doilies if it had a Dave Stevens graphic on it. A Dave Stevens' Faye Wray rendering on a King Kong Kover was a pretty easy sell.

Dave Stevens — King Kong —1991

Battle Cry

One of the finest comic strip panels in the history of the medium:

Hal Foster — Prince Valiant — panel detail from June 19, 1938

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Old Man

As if Time didn't speed along fast enough, we had to go invent speedier ways for the Old Man to drop his grains of sand.

poster — circa 1900

Another What Th'—!!

Dr. Seuss painted this "State of the World in 1931".

Um, yeah . . . and . . . that must've been . . . some kinda year.

Dr. Seuss — State of the World in 1931 — 1931

Friday, August 24, 2012

What Th'—!!

I don't know what's going on here, but in my mind I'm hearing the opening chords to Thus Sprach Zarathustra.

John Charles Dollman — The Unknown — circa 1900

My use of an icon for befuddlement

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Not a Duck in Sight

This painting almost looks like a scene from How to Train Your Dragon, the animated film from DreamWorks (that I really enjoyed), but it's by Carl Barks (The Good Duck Artist, you know—Donald, the boys, Uncle Scrooge) from decades before the film was made.

Not a duck in sight in this work.

© 1978 Carl Barks

Dwindling Daze

The days of summer are quickly dwindling away. Get out there and laze around a pond before it's too late, baby.

Benner — Sous les ombrages (In the Shade) — 1897

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Scream of Horror, Cry of Delight

No wimpy sparkling vampires here!

Nosferatu The Vampyre — 1979

Dancing Maenads

What a lovely effect to have a bas relief emerge from a sketch.

Claude Michel, called Clodion — Relief with Dancing Maenads

A Size Smaller

Now I'm not giving credence to this modern stereotyping, but it certainly showed up any number of ways in the 20th century.

Judge — September 1925

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Faerie Folk

I recently received this phone charm as a gift. Pretty cool, huh?

I love the faerie folk.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Twisted Tales

Some people only know primarily of Bruce Jones' written work, but his artwork is quite nice, as witness by these covers — looking influenced, ever so slightly, by J. Allen St. John, Michael Wm Kaluta, and the other Jones person, Jeffrey.

Four covers by Bruce Jones.


What a magnificent rendering for a simple cartoon idea.

R.B. Fuller — Nightmare — 1925

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Passion

Bertha Lum had a passion for art of Japan and China and worked in a style somewhat blending East with West — utterly enchanting.

Bertha Lum —Land of the Bluebird — 1916

A World Treasure

Robert Crumb is a world treasure, a cartoonist/illustrator that has been so prolific in exploring the heights and depths of humankind with sometimes brutal and raw imagery. Here, tho, is an early bit of fantasy, circa 1960, a dream of an inn—the kind that opens all kinds of doors in my imagination. Oy, I want to stay here.

© Robert Crumb — An Inn

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Deep Water

A number of years ago, I was pretty sure I had the inside track for the project of painting a large astronomical mural for our planetarium. At the last minute I was nudged out so that another artist who was 'more familiar' with the subject got the assignment. That was Michael Carroll, whose repute within the astro-art field I was unaware of at the time. I took the loss of the project in stride, as these things happen, but when I visited Michael in the middle of his work on-site and he good-naturedly asked if I would be interested in being hired to stretch canvases for his other work—well I felt like I'd fallen in the mud. Bless his heart, he did nothing wrong by asking.

My pride was stung for more than a little while. I'm well over that now, and can even blog about it. And Michael, if you happen to look in on this post, I've admired your work in the books and magazines, and I think this painting of yours, below, of deep water luminescent organisms is mighty fine. You of course were the better artist for the mural project, but I just know I coulda been a contenda.

Michael Carroll — Deep Water Life

Change of Pace

There are many of us who only knew John Berkey's dominant paintings of gargantuan multi-layered spaceships carving their way through space with cosmic flame. It's a lovely change of pace to see his quiet and elegant interior paintings.

John Berkey — Nude in Doorway — 1983

John Berkey — Nude in Low Light — 1983

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Hammer of Hell

The internet is awash with image tributes to the late Joe Kubert, as he so deserves. This drawing fell unbidden out of my image morgue, so what better time to post it than now . . .

Joe Kubert — Enemy Ace — 1971

A Bit of Color

To make up for lack of color in the last post, I offer you this bit of color in the form (!) of Airboy's Valkyrie, from 25 years ago. Have I told you lately how much I love William Stout's work?

Stout is like all the old EC artists rolled into one.

© 1987 William Stout — Valkyrie

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rescue the Beautiful Princess Lur-Na

Another greatly fun sub or side genre of science fiction is the comic book adventurous lug cut in the mold of Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers, always rescuing a true love from Bird Men, Bat Men, Butterfly Men, Mole Men, Rock Men, TattleTale Men, Leave the Cap Off Toothpaste Men, and (shudderrr) Sales Men.

To be one of these guys, he's gotta have a jetpack, a ray gun, a cool helmet, and a code of conduct that would satisfy any girl's father. He also has to be bold enough to say stupid things and nobody minds cuz he's so darn rugged and cute and humble.

The girl has to of the beauteous persuasion, some form of royalty, past present or future, and capable of having the vapors, so as to sideline the guy in the darndest situations where he has to pick her up and carry like a sack of meat, without violating any of the conduct codes that her father has approved of in a private meeting — the father being a gentleman and only giving a tiny glimpse into the room where he keeps his weapons collection from 42 worlds of assassins guilds.

Murphy Anderson was a great inker of the silver Age of Comics, teaming perfectly with several topflight pencilers, but he was mighty good inking his own pencils as well, also having had a great stint with Buck Rogers hisself. And Anderson, well, he fulfilled most all those requirements outlined above in one swell drawing.

©1971 Murphy Anderson

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Galaxy Raiders

In all the dimensions of sci-fi, there's maybe nothing as much fun as the good old fashioned pulpy space opera of the '40s and '50s. The lurid colors of the ragged covers drawing you in to a universe where babes hit the space ways in their swimsuits and beach towel clasped around their neck (Douglas Adams had it right about not hitchhiking around the cosmos without your towel in hand). The smell of the pulp and the purple of the prose is enough to transport your molecules into the far reaches of the imagination.

Oh, the future was never as good as it was back then.

Robert Gibson Jones — Amazing Adventures — February 1950

A towel, [The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy says],
is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough."

—Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Wonder Barr

George Barr is a wonder, his work traversing the universe. This royal study is prescient of Avatar, perhaps another race on Pandora.

© 1971 George Barr


Simple and pure elegance.

Joseph Platt —British Vogue —1920

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tale of Intrigue

You might wonder what wondrous storybook this Willy Pogany illustration is from...some exotic tale of intrigue?

Well, um, it's from a circa 1920 advertisement for soap.

"Buying Palmolive 3,000 Years Ago"

"The shop came to the shopper in the days of the first Palmolive. No convenient corner store, no fragrant green cake, but flagons of Palm and Olive oil brought from far countries for the toilets of aristocratic women. And while these ancient customs have vanished with the passing of 3,000 years, the world still prizes these two great natural cleansing agents."

I long for a new golden age of illustration!!!

Adventurous Book

Willy Pogany had a style that seemed to oscillate between each adventurous book that he illustrated —the same basic style, but on slightly different frequencies — always with classical composition and graphic impact. So many of his books were wonders to behold.

The book below has a number of pen & ink illustrations, but here are the color plates.

Willy Pogany
The Adventures of Odysseus and the Tale of Troy — 1918

The Judgement of Paris

The Fair Helen

Achilles Victorious

The Princess Threw the Ball

The Sorrowing Odysseus


The Sirens

Penelope Unravelling the Web