Thursday, January 20, 2022

VIRGIL FINLAY PORTFOLIO


I became familiar with Virgil Finlay through CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN magazine. Publisher Calvin T. Beck published several of Finlay's illustrations, who must have recognized his enormous talent. 

One has to remember that in the early 1970's, computers and search engines and the ability to view images by the hundreds of thousands were a decade away. So, imagine my surprise when I came across THE BOOK OF VIRGIL FINLAY, published by Flare Books in the summer of 1976. Needless to say, I had become entranced with Finlay's fantasy and horror illustrations and snatched it up without hesitation. It remains today in my personal library.

Born in Rochester, New York, Virgil Warden Finlay (July 23, 1914 – January 18, 1971) began his career in the pulp magazines, most notably appearing regularly in WEIRD TALES, as well as various science-fiction and fantasy publications. His immediately recognizable style was accomplished using the techniques of stippling and cross-hatching with pen and ink. He also used pebble-grained Coquille board to great effect.

The following collection of images are from his work with FAMOUS FANTASTIC MYSTERIES. These samples clearly show his unique talent.

See more of Virgil Finlay's work HERE.











Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A LOOK AT LORD DUNSANY


"There are many highly effective points in Dunsany's style, and any writer of imaginative prose will be better for having read him."
- H.P. Lovecraft

To my recollection, I first became aware of the writings of Lord Dunsany through H.P. Lovecraft. HPL's glowing praise for his fantasy stories cannot be underestimated, for it was after attending a lecture by Dunsay, he was inspired to go all in and write professionally from that point on.

Influenced by Dunsany's exotic locales and luxurious prose, Lovecraft created his own "Dunsanian" tales, including "Polaris" (1918), "The White Ship" (1919), "The Quest of Iranon" (1921), "The Tree" (1920), "Celephais" (1920), and the novella, "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" (1927), which was published posthumously by Arkham House in 1943.

Horseman, hunter and avid chess player, the Irish-born Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany (24 July 1878 – 25 October 1957), was a prolific writer who rose to fame during his lifetime. This informative article, from BOOK AND MAGAZINE COLLECTOR #122 (May, 1994) offers a survey of his life and work and includes a bibliography of his writing published in the UK.














Tuesday, January 18, 2022

ESTEBAN MAROTO'S SWORD & SORCERY ART (PART 1)


The great comic artist, Esteban Maroto (b. 1945) hails from Madrid and was one of the European "imports" discovered by Warren. Maroto's first work in the U.S. was in the book, DRACULA 1, published by Warren as a special edition and which had first appeared in the UK under the New English Library imprint.

Maroto was subsequently hired by Warren and quickly became popular with his work appearing in CREEPY, EERIE and VAMPIRELLA over the ensuing years. He is credited with creating the "chain-mail bikini" for Red Sonja, as well as redesigning Satana's costume for Marvel Comics.

Besides drawing horror and supernatural stories, Maroto also was prolific in the Sword & Sorcery genre. Today is the first part of a series of work that was collected in XOTICA: THE ART OF ESTEBAN MAROTO, by S.Q. Productions, Inc. (SQP), who published numerous art books of the likes seen here.




















Monday, January 17, 2022

HOUSE OF HAMMER NO. 3


HOUSE OF HAMMER, THE
Vol. 1 No. 3
July, 1976
Publisher: General Book Distribution (Warner House)
Editor: Dez Skin
Associate Editors: Chris Lowder; John Barraclough
Art Editor: Paul Harwood
Production: Ron Letchford
Cover art: Brian Lewis
Pages: 52
Cover price: 30p (About 50 cents)

This issue is a special Frankenstein issue, with the second part of the comic adaptation of Hammer's CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (script by Donne Avenell and art by Alberto Cuyas), a text article covering the many versions of the monster in the movies, and a Frankenstein photo gallery. "The Golden Age of Horror" column in this issue is dedicated to Lon Chaney. The continuing chronicles of "Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter", is written by Brian Clemens with art by Ian Gibson. "Van Helsing's Terror Tales" returns with the story "Swamp Fever", written by Leroy Rickman and Alan Booth, and illustrated by Trevor Goring. This issue's installment of "Effectively Speaking" by John Brosnan, is on Hollywood's giant science-fiction monsters.

See the previous issue here: PART 1, PART 2.