Lost Art #12 The Unique Style of Hans Bok

After the Atom - Famous Fantastic Mysteries April 1950

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.

The Ghost Punch - Weird Tales, November 1944

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.

The Dark Dimension - Marvel Science Fiction, November 1951

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.

Cross of Mercrux - Fantastic Novel Mysteries, November 1950

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 He also wrote several unpublished novels.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.

Cross of Mercrux - Fantastic Novel Mysteries, November 1950

Bok died on April 11, 1964 of a heart attack at the age of forty nine.

Cross of Mercrux - Fantastic Novel Mysteries, November 1950

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