Sunday, May 24, 2015

A. Merritt Art Gallery-The Complete Moon Pool

"The Moon Pool" (1918) and its sequel, "The Conquest of the Moon Pool" (1919), were extraordinarily popular. It was only a matter of time before they were reprinted in book form, and it was a pretty brief time at that. I don't know the exact date of publication, but The Moon Pool, combining the two magazine stories, came out in 1919. The author, A. Merritt, revised and updated his stories for the book. For example, in keeping up with the times, the nefarious German from the original version became a nefarious Russian. I believe this is the original dust jacket. The artist was Joseph Clement Coll (1881-1921). 

It's hard to follow the publication history of "The Moon Pool" and "The Conquest of the Moon Pool." The two were first published separately, then revised and combined into a novel-length story, also called The Moon Pool. I believe all the editions you see here are of the combined version. This was the second, from 1929, published by Horace Liveright with a jacket illustration by Lee Conrey (1883-1976), who also did illustrations for The American Weekly, the same Sunday supplement on which A. Merritt worked for many years. 

Here is what must have been the first softbound edition, a digest-sized book and number 18 in the Avon Murder Mystery Monthly series, from 1944. The art is unsigned and the artist is unknown.

The 1951 edition, an Avon mass-market paperback, has that classic 1940s/1950s science fiction look to it. Unfortunately, the artist is unknown.

The 1956 edition, also from Avon, is a step down in my opinion. Not that Art Sussman (1927-2008) created a bad cover, it's just that something was lost when science fiction tried to become serious or relevant in the 1950s.

The 1962 edition from Collier Books is far more subdued. It almost looks like a book in the social sciences. The cover design was by Ben Feder, Inc., a firm run by none other than Ben Feder (1923-2009), an artist, real estate developer, and winemaker.

In 1968, Collier Books issued an edition with a more science-fiction-like cover by Don Ivan Punschatz (1936-2009). I would buy a book like this, even if I had never heard of the story or the author.

You didn't have to tell me that the cover artist on Avon's 1978 edition is British. It just has that look. His name is Rodney Matthews, he was born in 1945 in North Somerset, and he is still at work. 

Everybody likes A. Merritt, including the French. In 1957, the publisher Hachette came out with Le Gouffre de la Lune, number 48 in its series Le Rayon Fantastique. The cover artist is unknown.

The artist on the 1975 edition from J'ai Lu was Philippe Caza (b. 1941).

Rowena Morrill (b. 1944) was on hand for the 1986 edition. 

Here's a German edition from 1981 entitled Der Mondsee. I don't know the name of the cover artist.

Finally, an Italian-language version, Il Pozzo della Luna, from 1998, again by an unknown cover artist.

I would like to acknowledge The Internet Speculative Fiction Database in the writing of this series.
Captions copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

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