Wednesday, July 6, 2011

ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE NO. 33


ILLUSTRATION MAGAZINE
Vol. 9 No. 33
Editor: Daniel Zimmer
Publication Date: Spring 2011
Publisher: The Illustrated Press, Inc.
Color covers and interior
100 ppg. (including covers)
Cover price: $15.00
Available from: http://www.illustration-magazine.com/

Blog: http://illustrationmagazine.wordpress.com/



Each issue of this magazine is literally a work of art. Exquisitely designed with superior printing throughout, it is well worth the $15.00 cover price. This is another one of those 'zines that I call a "hybrid publication" in that it is a magazine that covers other sorts of topics, but includes genre material on an occasional, even frequent, basis.

For a number of years now, editor Daniel Zimmer and his staff at ILLUSTRATION have been putting together a quality publication with an obvious mission to conserve the legacy of what most consider the greatest period of magazine illustration.

A huge industry sprang from the return of G.I.'s from WWII who enjoyed -- and even sought out -- the reliving of the exhiliration and exciting adventure from their days in combat. Periodicals began flooding the market around 1950, filled with "true' exploits of daring and fantastic missions in exotic locales, along with an added wish fulfillment of battling alongside -- or being brought back from the brink of death -- even more exotic women.

The lurid contents of magazines that boasted titles such as TRUE, ARGOSY, STAG and MALE promised an escape into the world that became a way of life for lots of G.I.'s who came back from the war with little to relate to in the way of a "normal" life.

Martin Goodman published a good many of these "sweat" magazines, as they were called. You may recognize the name as Goodman was also the publisher of the Lion paperback line and . . . Marvel Comics!

These magazines relied heavily on the illustrator's brush rather than the realistic photographic for the simple reason that, especially in their later years, many of the scenarios described in the stories were never captured on film. This is in large part because they were -- even admittedly by editors (Mario Puzo was one; he sold THE GODFATHER as a serialization to MALE magazine before it ever appeared in book form) -- out-and-out fabrications. As a result, only an illustration would do for the fantastic scenes described in the fast-moving tales of adventure. Finally, as is the case with most print magazines, the men's adventure magazines, as they are now fondly remembered, lost relevance in the late 1970's with the aging readership.




One such illlustrator for the sweats was Charles Wesley Copeland (1924 - 1979). Copeland, after receiving a degree in art, spending some time in Europe, then in Louisiana where he mainly painted portraits, landed in New York City and spent the next 25 years drawing for magazines. When that market began drying up, he turned his gouache to paperback covers for Leisure, Belmont Tower, and Pinnacle.



His work is not hard to find during this period. The author, Lynn Munroe, did have a time however, compiling a substantive checklist for Copeland. He did so with the help of the Copeland family and friends.



An amusing anecdote that will be of interest to readers of MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD is one that is shared by Copeland's sister, Evelyn, who mentions that Copeland did a number of movie posters, but provenance has been lost over the years. In one case, though, Copeland's niece Susan Reed says, "When I was a teenager I thought it was really cool that my Uncle had done this movie poster. So I brought one home from our local movie theater. It's still in my basement." The poster? Hemisphere's picture, MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND!



Copeland is also now credited as the artist for the BEAST OF BLOOD poster as well. It's amazing that this ubiquitous and arguably iconic image has been reprinted -- according to the author -- a "zillion" times and nobody knew who did it . . . until now. Copeland's other genre movie poster work includes some preliminary artwork for posters depicting Jess Franco's version of JACK THE RIPPER. The actual art was not used but the design was.



Included sometimes in the content of ILLUSTRATION are sections on science-fiction, fantasy, and horror artists. This issue's lead story covers the life and career of Jack Gaughan, one of my favorite sci-fi magazine and book illustrators of all time. Gaughan had a unique style, instantly recognizable, such as work by Kelly Freas for example. For the text, the author, Luis Ortiz, offers up a selection from his book, Outermost: The Art of Jack Gaughan (NonStop Press, 2010).



Another article in this issue may be of interest to MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD readers. it concerns the story of the most notorious series in the history of trading cards, THE HORRORS OF WAR.

Produced by Gum, Inc. in the 1930's THE HORRORS OF WAR was a 240-card set that, in the words of author Nicholas P. Ciotola, "each card in the series included a full-color scene of combat, genocide, or other kind of wartime carnage." Kids flocked to drug stores after school to spend their penny allowance on the thrill of opening up a pack, chewing on the included gum, and gazing at the blood and guts depicted on each lurid trading card. The series was masterminded by Jacob Warren Bowman, who many of you sports collectors will recognize as the runner up to Topps in the world of baseball cards. His creation remains the single most purchased and later collected non-sports trading card in history.




Unfortunately, the artists whose work appeared on the cards is at best, speculative. One assumption is that a certain E.C. comics artist by the name of Bernard Kriegston had his bloody brush on a card or two. Makes sense, doesn't it?

If you can swing the 15 greenbacks, I recommend you try an issue of ILLUSTRATION magazine, and, in particular, this, the most current issue. Believe me when I say it promises a few hours of reading -- and viewing -- pleasure.




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