Monday, November 12, 2012

Art and Artists in Weird Tales of the 1970s

Weird Tales
Summer 1973 (Vol. 47, No. 1)
Cover by Virgil Finlay

Sam Moskowitz launched Weird Tales in 1973 with a fiftieth anniversary issue full of previously printed stories and art. Few if any of the illustrations inside were created specifically for the new magazine. Most look like recycled images from the original run of Weird Tales or other pulp magazines, probably used without permission of the artist or the publisher. By my count, there are ten illustrations inside, including the main title heading on the first page. Of those ten, four are by Virgil Finlay. The rest are unsigned.

Weird Tales
Fall 1973 (Vol. 47, No. 2)
Cover by Gary van der Steur (after Hannes Bok)

The second issue includes eleven illustrations, plus a two-page feature on the art of Virgil Finlay. The main title heading and the heading for "The Eyrie" (the letters column) are original to the first incarnation of Weird Tales. Andrew Brosnatch created the drawing for "The Eyrie" in 1924. That drawing ran in Weird Tales until 1954 and in three of the four issues from 1973-1974. Some of the illustrations from this second issue look like they could have been new to Sam Moskowitz's Weird Tales. All but one are unsigned. The only signed piece of art is an illustration with the initials "S.P."

Weird Tales
Winter 1973 (Vol. 47, No. 3)
Cover by Bill Edwards

Finally, with the third issue, there is new art signed by the artist. There are nine drawings in this issue, four of which are by Don Rico, a veteran comic book artist, illustrator, and writer. There are also three unsigned illustrations, plus the main title heading and the heading for "The Eyrie" by Andrew Brosnatch.

Weird Tales
Summer 1974 (Vol. 47, No. 4)
Cover by Jack L. Thurston

If the third issue was the Don Rico issue, the fourth was the Geoffrey Sickler issue. Of the eleven illustrations in this issue, at least four are by Mr. Sickler. Five others, plus the main title heading and the letters column heading, are unsigned. The last illustration to appear in Sam Moskowitz's Weird Tales was Andrew Brosnatch's heading for "The Eyrie." Coincidentally, 1974 was the fiftieth anniversary year of the first use of Brosnatch's drawing.

So, excluding the cover artists and the artists for the main title heading and the heading for "The Eyrie," there are only four credited artists in the four issues of Weird Tales from 1973-1974:
  • Virgil Finlay
  • S.P.
  • Don Rico
  • Geoffrey Sickler
Finlay had of course contributed to Weird Tales during its first run. S.P. is an unknown artist. That leaves just two names to add to the list of interior artists in Weird Tales. I'll write about them separately in weeks to come.

An illustration for the story "The Utmost Abomination" by Clark Ashton Smith and Lin Carter from the second issue of Weird Tales, Fall 1973. The art is initialed in the lower right corner, but S.P. is an unknown artist to me. It's safe to assume that he or she was familiar with the work of Aubrey Beardsley and perhaps also Harry Clarke.
Text and captions copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

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