Monday, August 29, 2016

More on Boris Dolgoff . . . But Only a Little

I attacked the problem of Boris Dolgov from a different angle and found one tantalizing piece of information. In a telephone directory of New York City from 1957, there is the following listing:

Boris Dolgoff, 630 East 14th Street, Manhattan

That address is in the East Village, a place for artists, musicians, students, and bohemians. Could that be the artist for Weird Tales? There were other Dolgov families in New York City in the early twentieth century. Maybe Boris was from one of them.

Dolgov appears to be a somewhat common name. The Dolgovs in America may have come from Belarus or surrounding areas of the old Russian empire. The name, if Google Translate is correct, means debts. Fitting for an artist.

Copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Boris Dolgov (?-?)

Artist
Born ?
Died ?

Boris Dolgov did not exist. The man who bore that name may have existed, but there never was a man in the United States with that name until 1956, too late for Weird Tales. At least that's what public records say. Search for Boris Dolgov or Dolgoff or Dolgova or Dolkoff or any other permutation you can think of and you're likely to come up empty . . . except for a Russian-American farmer who now lies buried in a Jewish cemetery in Washington State.

It seems likely to me that Boris Dolgov was the assumed name of a man who, for whatever reason, wanted to remain or was satisfied to remain unknown. He was friends with the artist and writer Hannes Bok. They sometimes collaborated, signing their joint work "Dolbokov." Dolgov had his first interior illustration in the genres of fantasy and science fiction in Science Fiction Quarterly for Summer 1941. His first illustration for Weird Tales followed in September of that year. His last came thirteen years later, in July 1954, the penultimate issue of "The Unique Magazine." In between, Dolgov created dozens of interior illustrations and five covers for Weird Tales. His only known book cover was for Destination: Universe! by A.E. van Vogt, published in 1952. After 1954, he disappeared forever.

Like his artist friend, Hannes Bok also worked under an assumed name. Born Wayne Francis Woodard on July 2, 1914, in Kansas City, Missouri, he was known for his odd ways, including his evasiveness. Despite early promise, despite success as an illustrator and author of science fiction and fantasy, and despite strong connections to others in his field, Hannes Bok went into steep decline late in his career. On April 11, 1964, at age forty-nine, he died alone in his apartment in New York City. His body was not discovered right away. If not for the intervention of his friend and collector Clarence Peacock, his art may very well have been thrown out with the trash. The official cause of death is supposed to have been a heart attack. Forrest J Ackerman and Donald J. Wollheim claimed that he starved to death. Shades of H.P. Lovecraft. Shades also of Hugh Rankin.

Hannes Bok's first work for a major magazine (what science fiction fans I think would have called a prozine) was for Weird Tales. He had his first cover and his first interior art published in the same issue, December 1939. "In 1939," wrote Frederik Pohl,
Hans Bok was all of twenty-five years old and thus a senior citizen among us, but he looked younger. He looked--well, "elfin" is the word that others have used to describe him, and it does as well as any. It wasn't just his a matter of physical appearance. His manner was both reserved and, well, flighty, not to say downright evasive; there were obviously huge hunks of Hannes's internal life which he did not care to share even with friends. (1)
As I said, Wayne Francis Woodard, later known as Hannes Bok, was born in Kansas City, Missouri. In the censuses of 1920 and 1930, he was listed with his family in Minnesota, in 1920 in St. Paul, in 1930 in Duluth. Woodard graduated from Duluth High School in 1932. He left for Seattle that same year. In 1937 or 1938, he moved to Los Angeles, where he knew Emil Petaja, Ray Bradbury, Forrest J Ackerman, and others in the Los Angeles science fiction scene. In 1938, he returned to Seattle and worked for the WPA painting murals. His artist contacts in that city included Morris Graves (1910-2001) and Mark Tobey (1890-1976), both of whom, like Woodard, were interested in mysticism or non-traditional religion. In December 1939, assuming the name Hannes Bok, he moved again to New York City. There he knew Frederik Pohl, Isaac Asimov, Damon Knight, Frank Belknap Long, and others. Knight, an artist himself, called Bok, "certainly the most talented artist ever to work in science fiction illustration." (2, 3)

Dolgov and Bok were both artists of imagination and whimsy. Both worked in black and white on coquille board. Unlike much of Bok's work, Dolgov's is devoid of sexual imagery, which, in Bok, clearly indicates to me that the artist had psychosexual problems. Boris Dolgov was, in comparison, an artist of innocence. Both knew and admired Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966). As evidence, there is a photograph of Dolgov and Parrish together, presumably at Parrish's house in Plainfield, New Hampshire, taken by Bok. You can see it at a blog called Null Entry, here. Hannes Bok was greatly influenced by Maxfield Parrish. Perhaps no artist has worked with such great effect in the manner of Parrish. Dolgov, on the other hand, seems to have taken a different path.

Boris Dolgov is supposed to have lived in New York. You won't find him there in the census. Nor will you find there Wayne Woodard or Hannes Bok. That's a terrible development for the researcher, as finding Bok in 1940 might very well lead to Dolgov. But what if they had a connection predating their years in New York City?

Now begins the part where I clutch at straws.

Boruch Dolgoff, also known as Baruch, Bora, and Boris Dolgoff, was born on November 27, 1897, in Alexandrovik, Russia. I suspect he fled his native land because of periodic pogroms. After living in Harbin, China, Dolgoff arrived in the United States on January 23, 1916, aboard the Yokohama Maru out of Yokohama, Japan. On October 14, 1933, Dolgoff married twenty-four-year-old Minnie Samuelson in Seattle, Washington. Dolgoff (1897-1989) and his wife (1909-1991) are buried together at Herzl Memorial Park in Shoreline, Washington. For decades he was a farmer and a poultry dealer in Seattle. Hannes Bok lived in Seattle in 1932-1937 or 1938 and in 1938-1939. Could he have known Boris Dolgoff? Could he have also known in Seattle the artist later known as Boris Dolgov? And could Boris Dolgov have gotten his name from Boris Dolgoff, the poultry dealer? If so, why? More to the point, who was Boris Dolgov?

The world may never know.

Boris Dolgov's Illustrations in Weird Tales
Once again, I will refer you to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database for a full listing of Boris Dolgov's genre illustrations. Note the error in the artist who created the cover for the May 1947 issue of Weird Tales. It was actually Matt Fox.

Further Reading
Boris Dolgov on the online Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, here.
Boris Dolgov's art in Weird Tales and a photograph of him with Maxfield Parrish on the blog Null Entry, here.

Notes
(1) From "Remembering Hannes" by Frederik Pohl in A Hannes Bok Showcase, edited by Stephen D. Korshak (Charles F. Miller, 1995), p. ix. Pohl went on in his remembrance to describe the last time he saw Hannes Bok, circa 1953. By then, Bok was living in poverty and "had become something fairly near a hermit." (p. xi) He had lost most of his teeth and had broken his dentures so that he was barely able to eat. Pohl again: "For a man who spent so much of his life producing pretty things for the rest of us to enjoy, the last stages of Hannes's life, and especially his death, were lacking in prettiness of any kind." (p. xi)
(2) From The Futurians by Damon Knight (John Day, 1977), p. 53.
(3) Woodard's family, Irving Ingalls Woodard, Carolyn Bantiz Woodard, and their son William Grant Woodard, were back in Missouri in 1940, living in Kirkwood. In the 1940s and '50s, Irving and Carolyn lived in Omaha, Nebraska. Irving I. Woodard died on November 26, 1975, in Galveston, Texas, as a result of being burned while smoking in bed. His younger son, William, preceded him in death on July 25, 1972, in Beaumont, Texas. I don't know the fate of his wife.

A gallery of covers by Boris Dolgov, first, from November 1946.

March 1947.

September 1947.

January 1948.

And last, from May 1950.
Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Friday, August 26, 2016

More Utopia, More Dystopia

I have heard and read more about Utopia and Dystopia lately. Before I begin on that, I would like to ask a question: What is Dystopia? The reason I ask is that the terms Dystopia (or dystopia) and dystopian are thrown around pretty readily these days. There isn't any precision in their use. It seems to me that too many people call any unpleasant future a dystopia. If Utopia is a perfectly good society, then it seems to me that Dystopia is a perfectly bad one, where there is complete order and control. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1921, 1924), Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932), Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949), and the movies THX 1138 (1971) and Logan's Run (1976) are dystopian. Mad Max (1979) and The Walking Dead depict unpleasant futures, but they are not dystopian. In the futures they postulate, there is only disorder. People's lives are not controlled by an overarching State. Mad Max, The Walking Dead, and stories like them are instead post-apocalyptic. That's not to say that a post-apocalyptic story cannot also be dystopian, but if there is no order and no control, there is no dystopia. Perfect order requires a totalitarian State. Where there is no State, there can be no dystopia, unless individual people themselves impose order upon themselves and upon each other, something they are unlikely to do given that we are by our very nature free and resistant to impositions of order or attempts to control us. The current trend towards political correctness is an attempt at control of people's thoughts, words, and actions. It is essentially a movement towards totalitarianism, i.e., dystopia. It has also shown signs of succeeding.

Utopia came first of course. Although the word itself means essentially no place, utopia has come to mean a place of perfection or where government and society match some lofty ideal of what is good. The term dystopia is used in reaction to that. It's a place where government and society are perfectly bad. (As a parallel, a functional family is a good one. A dysfunctional family is a bad one.) Alternative terms for dystopia are cacotopia, kakotopia, and anti-utopiaKakos is from the Greek, meaning bad or wicked. In Italian and in English, we have the word caca, meaning to defecate or excrement. I don't know what etymological relationship those words--kakos and caca--might have, but it brings new meaning to Robert De Niro's character Harry Tuttle in the movie Brazil (1985). Harry is a sort of ninja heating engineer who works outside the law and wastes (rim shot) two functionaries of the State by drowning them in sewage. One, played by Bob Hoskins, is named Spoor, which is of course another word for scat or droppings.

So, let's call things what they are. An unpleasant future is not necessarily dystopian. It might just be unpleasant. And, as the meaning of the word implies, Utopia does not exist. There is no such thing and there can be no such thing. (I would add, as a message to anybody who carries around in his little brain any kind of utopian scheme: quit trying to bring it about.) Utopia cannot exist for the simple reason that a perfect government or society requires that the people composing it or instituting it be perfect. How do you expect to make a perfect thing out of imperfect parts? Alternatively, Utopia imposes perfection upon imperfect people, making them, in essence, no longer human. In short, every Utopia is a Dystopia, and every person in pursuit of Utopia is, whether he realizes it or not, an incipient tyrant.

So, in 2015, the French publishing house Flammarion issued Soumission, a novel of the near future by Michel Houellebecq. Soumission may not be exactly dystopian, but it describes the run-up to what must be a dystopian society, an Islamic State that requires, by its very name, submission (the meaning of the title and roughly the meaning of the word Islam, i.e., surrender). I have written about Soumission before. Now there is a novel by a Muslim Arabic writer to match it. The novel is 2084: La fin du monde and the writer is Algerian Boualem Sansal. Mr. Sansal's book is set in a more distant future, in an overtly dystopian religious society. I have not read this book, but I'd like to give it a try. The title refers to George Orwell's dystopian novel of the twentieth century. The plot, summarized in several reviews, makes me think of Planet of the Apes (1968), a story that is definitely post-apocalyptic and vaguely dystopian.

Finally, I just happened to hear part of Science Friday today. For those who haven't heard it, Science Friday is a weekly show on public radio in which the host, Ira Flatow, discusses science, technology, and, I have to point out, merely pseudoscientific or science-like topics. (If Ira Flatow is not an atheist, he at least tolerates atheistic malarkey from his guests. He's also an unquestioning adherent to the cult of global warming. Now I find out that he is, like "Bill Nye the Science Guy," not a scientist at all but an engineer.) Today (August 26, 2016), Mr. Flatow and his guests discussed Margaret Atwood's 2003 novel Oryx and Crake as part of their SciFri Book Club series. They used the words dystopia or dystopian several times in reference to Ms. Atwood's book. I haven't read it so I can't say for sure, but Oryx and Crake sounds to me more post-apocalyptic than dystopian. I should point out that her novel from 1985, The Handmaid's Tale, is in fact dystopian, and like Boualem Sansal's book, set in a totalitarian religious society, in this case a Christian rather than a disguised Islamic society. In its form, The Handmaid's Tale is something like The Iron Heel by Jack London (1908). I should also point out that one of Ira Flatow's guests today was Annalee Newitz, who is also about to have her own dystopian novel, Autonomous, published by Tor Books.

I guess there is some irony in calling for precision (i.e., order) in the use of the term dystopian. Then again, imprecision in language, or to change the meanings of words, is one of the goals of the mind reaching for totalitarian control over people's lives. In any case, again, let's call things what they are, and let's have more dystopian fiction.

Copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Harry Ferman (1906-1973)

Newspaper Artist, Art Editor, Illustrator, Cartoonist, Poet, Epistler
Born March 6, 1906, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Died April 28, 1973

So far, I have written about the following artists whose work was reprinted in the Bellerophon issues of Weird Tales in 1984-1985: Clare Angell (1874-1932?), Edd Cartier (1914-2008), Rodney M. Ruth (1912-1987), and Henry del Campo (1899-1961). The first three artists were not originally published in Weird Tales. Their drawings appearing in the Bellerophon issues are from other sources. The last, Henry del Campo, was published in Weird Tales in 1939-1954, but little was known of him before I wrote an entry on him for this blog. There is more known of Harry Ferman, although I didn't have his dates when I wrote the introduction to this series. Once I have written about Harry Ferman, I'll go on to Boris Dolgov, but don't get your hopes up: less is known of him than of the enigmatic Nictzin Dyalhis.

Harry Elvis Ferman was born on March 6, 1906, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to Elvis A. Ferman and Agnes "Aggie" Hannah Ferman. Ferman's father worked on the railroad. That might explain the presence of the Ferman family in Chapell, Nebraska, in the 1910 census. In 1920, they were in Buffalo, Iowa. Throughout the 1930s, '40s, and beyond, Harry Ferman and his family lived in Wichita, Kansas.

On September 25, 1929, at age twenty-three, Harry E. Ferman married Myrtle Gertude Volz, equally twenty-three years of age, in her native Elkhart, Iowa. He was by then living in Wichita, Kansas, and working as an artist. Like her husband, Myrtle Volz Ferman was an artist and poet. She was also a photographer, a sculptress, and a maker of wedding cakes. Author, teacher, Marine veteran, and "junkyard dog" David Daniel Ferman has written fond remembrances of his parents on his self-titled blog. I urge you to read about them by clicking here.

From 1930 to 1961, Harry Ferman was an artist on the Wichita Beacon. He also contributed cartoons to sports magazines and later worked as a corporate artist for the Boeing Company. From the issues April 1939 to July 1942, Harry Ferman illustrated stories appearing in Weird Tales. His list of credits for that magazine is long, so instead of showing it here, I'll provide this link to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Ferman also had one of his illustrations reprinted in Weird Tales for Winter 1985.

According to the University Libraries at Wichita State University, "Ferman became well known for his letter writing, especially for the sketches he would add to each one written. The recipients of these letters were known as 'Fermanites' and lived throughout the nation." The university has a small collection of those letters, written to Ferman's friend Ralph Finnell.

Harry E. Ferman died on April 28, 1973, at age sixty-seven and was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas.

Harry Ferman's Illustrations in Weird Tales
See the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, here.

Further Reading
Look for links in the text above.

An illustration by Harry Ferman for "The Song of the Slaves" by Manly Wade Wellman, Weird Tales, March 1940.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Friday, August 5, 2016

Henry del Campo (1899-1961)

Artist, Illustrator
Born March 10, 1899, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Catalonia, Spain
Died November 20, 1961, Brookview or Albany, New York?

Henry Valentine del Campo was a Spanish artist born on March 10, 1899, in Sant Feliu de Guíxols, a city on the Mediterranean coast near the border with France. His parents were Purdence or Petro del Campo and Sara or Sarah del Campo. Both were native Spaniards, and both came to the United States in 1912. They had two sons, Emil, born on August 12, 1895 or 1896, in Sant Feliu de Guíxols or nearby Girona, Spain, and Henry del Campo, younger by three or four years. The boys came to the United States with their parents and were supposedly naturalized in 1919. If that's the case, they both earned it, for both served with the U.S. Army in Europe during the Great War.

Henry del Campo, though younger, was first to enlist. He was inducted into the New York National Guard on May 8, 1917, a month after the Unites States declared war on Germany. Del Campo first served in the infantry, then was transferred to a machine gun unit. He served overseas from July 9, 1918, to May 8, 1919, when he deserted "while in confinement awaiting trial" in Miramas, France (this according to his military record). I don't know why del Campo was in confinement, and I can't say how he escaped, but for the next twenty years, he hid from view.

Miramas, France, the place of Henry del Campo's confinement, is on the Mediterranean coast, not far from the port of Marseilles and by my guess about 200 miles from his birthplace in Spain. There are implications in all that, but probably no one now can say how the fugitive from American military authority made his way back to the United States. In any event, by January 4, 1920, the day they were counted in the U.S. census, del Campo was with his family in Brooklyn. I think it likely that they were hiding him, and because they were hiding him, they had to hide themselves by claiming a different surname. They were the del Gambos instead of the del Campos: Petro, who worked in a cork factory, Sarah, Emil, a stenographer, and Henry, without an occupation.

Henry del Campo was married by then. He had in fact married before shipping out to France. His bride was Marguerite Helen Casey, an Irish-American girl whom he wed on June 20, 1918, in Brooklyn, the day before her twentieth birthday. I don't know where she was in 1920 when Henry del Campo was counted with his family in New York, but in July 1922, Marguerite del Campo petitioned for naturalization in that same city. She claimed Spanish citizenship and arrived in New York from Havana, Cuba, by way of Key West, Florida. I wonder if the couple had lived in Cuba while things cooled off for Henry del Campo in his home city of New York.

In contrast to his brother, Emil del Campo served honorably in the U.S. military. He was inducted on May 29, 1918, in New York, and on July 31, 1918, he was transferred from an infantry unit to a machine gun unit. He was promoted to corporal the next day. The older del Campo brother served overseas from July 6, 1918, to August 23, 1919. He was honorably discharged on August 28, 1919, but served in the New York militia until August 12, 1959. He died in September 1964 in Spain, possibly in Barcelona (or his death was reported by the consulate in Barcelona). Emil del Campo showed up in the 1930 census with his widowed mother in Brooklyn. He was a widower, too. His brother, however, was still missing, at least from my search. Finally, on March 17, 1939, Henry del Campo reappeared, surrendering himself at Fort Totten, located in Queens, New York. "[R]eturned to military control" he was discharged on April 13, 1939, "under other than honorable conditions, by reason of desertion admitted and physical unfitness." Trial was "deemed inadvisable." (All from his military record.) Five months later, in November 1939, his first drawings in Weird Tales were published.

Henry and Marguerite del Campo were enumerated in the U.S. census on April 16, 1940, in Brooklyn. Next door were Emil del Campo, a foreman for a WPA project, and his mother Sara [sic]. Henry was, at the time, an illustrator working on his own account, while Marguerite was an office worker at a kennel club. According to what they told the enumerator, they had lived in the same place in 1935. All that leads me to believe that del Campo didn't just start working as an artist or illustrator in the five months between his military discharge and his first drawings in Weird Tales. It seems more likely that he had been working in his chosen field for some time and that only in 1939 was he finally free to use his own name again. Maybe there are drawings by del Campo hiding, just as their creator was at the time, in the magazines and newspapers of the 1920s and '30s.

Weird Tales moved to New York City in 1938 and came to an end in 1954. In the intervening years, Henry del Campo contributed twenty illustrations to the magazine, mostly in the years 1939-1942. (There is a gap from 1942 to 1947, roughly the war years. Could del Campo have been involved in the war effort?) Other than a reprint in the Fall 1984 issue, del Campo's illustrations for Weird Tales from November 1939 to January 1954 are his only known credits in the genres of fantasy and science fiction.

I have a newspaper item from the Troy, New York, Times Record for August 8, 1956, page 2:
Henry del Campo and Ruth E. Trainor, both of Brookview Road, Schodack, state in another certificate that they are conducting business there under the name of Art Associates.
So, by 1956, Henry del Campo had relocated to upstate New York from Brooklyn or New York City. He was still, evidently, working as an artist. By this item, he lived in Schodack, south of Albany. He may also have lived in Halfmoon, north of that city. In any case, del Campo's time in the Albany area was cut short with his death at age sixty-two on November 20, 1961. His widow, Marguerite Helen Casey del Campo, passed away in October 1988 in Brooklyn. As mentioned, del Campo's brother, Emil del Campo, died in September 1964 in Spain. Both del Campo brothers appear to have been childless. Henry del Campo's art may be all that anyone has left of the family here in America.

Henry del Campo's Illustrations in Weird Tales
"The Withered Heart" by G.G. Pendarves (Nov. 1939)
"Towers of Death" by Henry Kuttner (Nov. 1939)
"Black Was the Night" by Laurence Bour, Jr. (May 1940)
"Golden Chalice" by Frank Gruber (July 1940)
"The Artificial Honeymoon" by H. Bedford-Jones (July 1940)
"The Fiddler's Fee" by Robert Bloch (July 1940)
"The Gentle Werewolf" by Seabury Quinn (July 1940)
"The Blind Farmer and the Strip Dancer" by H. Bedford-Jones (Sept. 1940)
"The Reward" by Robert Clancy (Sept. 1940)
"The Unusual Romance of Ferdinand Pratt" by Nelson S. Bond (Sept. 1940)
"The Last Waltz" by Seabury Quinn (Nov. 1940)
"The Wife of the Humorous Gangster" by H. Bedford-Jones (Nov. 1940)
"Turn Over" by Dorothy Quick (Nov. 1940)
"Honeymoon in Bedlam" by Nelson S. Bond (Jan. 1941)
"The Downfall of Lancelot Biggs" by Nelson S. Bond (Mar. 1941)
"The Affair of the Shuteye Medium" by H. Bedford-Jones (Mar. 1941)
"Death of the Kraken" by David H. Keller (Mar. 1942)
"The Churchyard Yew" by J. Sheridan le Fanu (July 1947)
"Green Brothers Take Over" by Maria Moravsky (Jan. 1948)
"The Calamander Chest" by Joseph Payne Brennan (Jan. 1954)
Heading for Book Reviews page (Fall 1984; originally in a previous issue of Weird Tales)

Further Reading
None known.

An illustration by Henry del Campo from the story "The Wife of the Humorous Gangster" by H. Bedford-Jones, reprinted in The Adventures of a Professional Corpse by H. Bedford-Jones (The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2009).

Revised on August 12, 2016. Thanks to Steven Rowe for providing Henry del Campo's death date.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Note from PulpFest

PulpFest this year was far less eventful for me than last year's show. I found a few books and magazines to add to my collection. I also found a couple of items for my research about my home state of Indiana and its connection to the pulps. And I saw a magazine cover that made me think of a recent comment from one of my readers who asked me to post images of all of the swipes Frank Frazetta made in his artwork. That's not something I can do, of course, as I don't know about all the swipes Frazetta might have made in his long career. All I can do is look at Frank Frazetta's swipes and possible swipes--of which there are few by my estimate--and the swipes other artists made of his work--of which there are hundreds, if not thousands--and do this only as I find them.

And I found one, maybe, at PulpFest:

Here is the cover of Adventure for March 1931 (first) with a cover by Leonard Cronin. When I saw this image, I couldn't help but think of a painting by Frank Frazetta:
His cover painting for Atlan by Jane Gaskell (1968).

So is that a swipe? I don't think anyone can say for sure. In art, there is the concept of rhythm, that is, a repetition of elements so as to give a sense of movement. A pack of wolves lends itself to a rhythmic treatment, as in these two images. All are wolves, but each is slightly different from the rest of the pack. Together they give an impression of animation and movement.

Here's another wolf cover:

Weird Tales, September 1942, with a cover by Albert Roanoke Tilburne.

Note the encircling movement of the wolves in each picture and the way they advance into the foreground after emerging from beyond the horizon. Tilburne was known to make a swipe or two, but is this a swipe from the earlier Adventure cover? As Mr. Owl says, "Let's find out."


Here is the Adventure cover, flipped so that the wolves are in the same orientation as in Frazetta's and Tilburne's covers. There is some similarity in Frazetta's picture to the flipped version of Cronin's picture. More incriminating is Tilburne's treatment, for the wolves in the rear are posed in exactly the same way that Cronin posed his wolves more than a decade before.

So Tilburne is guilty, but is Frank Frazetta? That last wolf is suspiciously familiar: it looks a lot like Cronin's last wolf. Ditto the leaning conifer. But is this a swipe? You'll have to decide that for yourself.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Rodney M. Ruth (1912-1987)

RMR
Illustrator, Advertising Artist, Children's Book Artist, Syndicated Comic Strip Artist

Born September 21, 1912, Benton Harbor, Michigan
Died January 27, 1987, Park Ridge, Illinois

When I introduced this series, I didn't know who RMR was. I found out at PulpFest by looking at an issue of Amazing Stories in which Rod M. Ruth signed several illustrations with a distinct flourish to his initials. He was born Rodney McCord Ruth on September 21, 1912, in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Edd Cartier went to school in New York City and found work with Street and Smith, a publisher with headquarters in that city. Rod Ruth did much the same in his locale by studying at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, the Frederick Mizen School of Arts, and the Institute of Design, and going to work for Ziff-Davis of Chicago. His illustrations appeared in Amazing Stories and Fantastic Adventures from 1940 to 1951. He also drew the newspaper comic strip The Toodles from 1941 to 1958. Ruth had a more varied career than Cartier and continued working as a professional artist even after pulp magazines came to an end. He illustrated books about dinosaurs and animals and Rand McNally's series of books about monsters and aliens, for which he had a real flair. Rodney McCord Ruth--RMR--died in Park Ridge, Illinois, on January 27, 1987, at age seventy-four.

Rodney M. Ruth's Illustrations in Weird Tales
"Yellow" by Conda Douglas (Winter 1985; from an unknown source)
"The Bus People" by J.N. Williamson (Winter 1985; from an unknown source)
"Peau de Cuir" by Steve Perry (Winter 1985; from an unknown source)

Further Reading
  • "Ruth, Rod," The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (online), Jan. 14, 2013, here.
  • "Rod Ruth," Lambiek (online), no date, here.
Note: I have a new computer, but when you get a new computer, about half of your old stuff no longer works. For me, that includes some of my software, plus my scanner, plus my scanner/printer/photocopier. As soon as I solve the problem of a scanner, I will post images again.

Update (August 3, 2016): An illustration by Rod Ruth, used in Weird Tales for Winter 1985 but from an unknown original source. Note the stylized initial "R" on the far right.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley