Wednesday, July 13, 2016

CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN NO. 2 BONUS: ROBERT ADRAGNA COVER ARTIST


I've always been struck by the cover (and interior double spread) image of CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN's second issue. The quality is degrees better than Larry Ivie's painting of the Frankenstein monster on the cover of the first issue and certainly less lurid than the, as yet, unnamed cover artists of Charlton's MAD MONSTERS and HORROR MONSTERS. Basil Gogos was the cover artist to beat, and Robert Adragna comes in a respectable second with his depiction of Christopher Lee as Dracula.

Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1943, Robert "Bob" Adragna was 19 when he painted his CoF #2 cover. He began his career painting covers for science fiction pulps such as FANTASTIC STORIES OF THE IMAGINATION. He went on to become the cover artist for the popular "Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators" adventure series (I was a Hardy Boys and occasional Tom Swift reader myself).

So far as I can discern, other than the CoF cover, Adragna's monster work was limited to a "monster rally" illustration that he did that appeared on the cover of Alex Soma's first issue of HORRORS OF THE SCREEN (Spring 1962) fan magazine and again (uncredited) in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND #19 (September 1962). Both appeared the same year as his CoF cover.

A photo of the young Adragna is included on the "Headitorial" page of CoF #2, along with an image of Editor Larry Ivie and Orson Well's Charles Foster Kane character standing in for the absent publisher, Calvin Beck.

Although Adragna found some notoriety for his spooky and atmospheric Three Investigators covers, one wonders what the landscape of monster magazine cover art would look like today if he'd stuck with it.

Adragn's photo is included on the Headitorial page of CoF #2.

Original cover paste up for HORRORS OF THE SCREEN #1.

Interior art in FAMOUS MONSTERS #19.




 

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