Archive for the ‘Lost Art’ Category
Our Lost Art Feature this week is just going to be a menagerie of different artist and styles. Many of them were uncredited in the magazine they appeared in, but the none the less they are worth seeing. And remember, these are thumbnails. Click on them to appreciate them in their glory.
One of my favorite artists of the pulps and digests is Hans Bok. While I share some mostly unknown interior art, I thought it would be nice to give his biography.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 2, 1914, to Irving Ingalls Woodard and Julia J Parks, Hannes Bok (pseudonym for Wayne Francis Woodard) was a science fiction and fantasy artist and an illustrator. He also wrote poetry, fiction and articles on astrology. He adopted his pen name Hannes Bok in the honour of the famous composer Johannes Bach.
After graduating from high school, Bok moved to Seattle to stay with his mother in 1932 and involved himself in science fiction fandom including publication and illustrations of fanzines. In 1936, he met Emil Petaja, who went on to become his life long friend, and did illustrations for his chapbook, Brief Candle. He later moved to Los Angeles with Petaja in 1937 and met Ray Bradbury who was instrumental in getting Bok his first art job. Bok did the cover art for all four issues of Bradbury’s fanzine Futuria Fantasia and impressed him so much with his work that Bradbury took him to the First Science Fiction Convention in New York in 1939 to show him to the publishers there.
In 1939 Bok moved to New York and began working for the legendary pulp fiction magazine Weird Tales, debuting in the December 1939 issue. It is around this time that he met Maxfield Parrish who became his mentor and whose influence can be seen in Bok’s work.
Till 1954, Bok had painted for more than 50 issues of Weird Tales magazine. He also executed 6 color covers for Weird Tales between 1940-42. Despite his success as a professional artist, Bok continued to contribute to fanzines.
Bok was awarded the first Hugo Award for Best cover/ Professional Artist in 1953.
Bok is not only famous for his artistic work but also his poetry and fiction. His famous novels include The Sorcerer’s Ship and the Blue Flamingo which was later re-titled Beyond the Golden Stairs. Weird Tales also published 5 of his stories and 2 of his poems between 1942 and 1951. He also wrote several unpublished novels.
His illustrations appeared in Fantasy and Science Fiction, Marvel Science Fiction, Imagination, Uncanny Tales and several other books of science fiction and fantasy.
Bok died on April 11, 1964 of a heart attack at the age of forty nine.
As the Lost Art series is basically about interior illustrations that have not been reprinted and mostly forgotten about, we bring you some selections from the June 1958 issue of American Magazine. American Magazine was a general interest magazine, much like Life Magazine, but with a bigger dose of fiction, by some of the best writers of the day in every genre. They featured such authors bestselling authors like Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, and also featuring up and comers like John D. MacDonald. All done with some of the best illustrators of the period.
A good portion of the magazine was non-fiction items of news. With quality photos, it was full of popular culture, movies, music, technology, sports, travelogues, advice, vintage advertisements, the arts, comics, and probable more stuff than I can think of.
The magazine can tend have a too wholesome sweetness to it (see cover). But I’m drawn to the fiction illustrators. They featured art and illustrations by some of the top professionals in the field. And the illustrations, like the fiction, covered nearly every genre. If there was one thing that was somewhat subversive to the general sheen of the American glee, it was the mystery and crime fiction and illustrations.
And don’t forget to click on the thumbnails.
This week we’re going to depart from the black and white interior art and look at a few Canadian versions of Super Science Stories and some its variant titles. These covers are bit less common than the usual American editions, and that may be because there is was no American counterpart for these issues. They contained mostly reprints from various magazines. Some of the covers were reused from other magazines, but mostly they were new to these Canadian magazines. The Wikipedia entry for Super Science Stories explains quite well the whole publishing history of this pulp.
Frank R. Paul could be called the father or grandfather of Science Fiction art. He is the first artist of the science fiction magazine genre. He painted the cover and did the interior of the first issue of the first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories in 1926, and stayed busy into the 50s. His cover art, which I only show one example, are wonderfully colorful to the point of garishness. But this is pulp art and garishness in not such a bad thing. His knack was creating technological machines. His weakness, in my opinion, was humans. They are all very generic and conventional. So I tried to favor the interior art that was more technologically inclined.
Last week we looked at an all Lawrence issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries. Today I decided to do a similiar all Virgil Finlay issue.
Weird Tales – December 1937
I just read the title story and I can say the cover accurately illustrates the cover. This chick couldn’t get naked enough in this story. But Weird Tales stories are only sexually implicit vs. being sexually explicit. Check out the wonderful interior, all by Finlay. And, yes, click on the thumbnails to appreciate the artistry.
Picked up a bunch of low-grade Famous Fantastic Mysteries and Fantastic Novels Magazines on eBay. The covers are pretty rough but the interior art is still beautiful after a little Photoshop processing to turn those tans and grays back to black and white.
Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1946
Let’s look at the art of a single issue. The issue features a novel called The Undying Monster by Jessie Douglas Kerruish with one short story called The Novel of the Black Seal by Arthur Machen.
Lawrence Sterne Stevens
The art is by Lawrence Sterne Stevens who just went by the single moniker of Lawrence. His paintings are great, but I think his interior art is even better.
What’s Wrong With My Brain?
Take a walk on the psychically wild side with these lost weird wonders of the past.
“Just Call Me Lawrence”
Lawrence Sterne Stevens, son of a preacher of the same name, signed his work just “Lawrence”. The art directors and publishers who commisioned his work must of felt they were getting their money’s worth. For craftsmanship and technique he can’t be beat. But let’s not ignore the artistry. I think we can call him a master artist. He certainly used a lot of ink. His color painting were fantastically great too! Here are some interior black and white work I’ve recently scanned and cleaned up for your perusal.
And click on the thumbnails to really appreciate the works.
Classing the Joint Up
The pulp covers were rather discrete about nudity on their covers. After all they did not want a news stand vendor hiding their magazines under the counter. But occasionally they would allow some nudity to get into the interior art. This Monday’s Lost Art will focus on some of that inner beauty. From the sublime to the cheesecake. Don’t forget to click on the images.