Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More Whip-poor-wills

At PulpFest, I saw a copy of Whispers #10, from 1977. The cover drawing is by Frank Utpatel (1905-1980). It drew my eye because of the whip-poor-wills in flight:


On July 14, 2015, I wrote about whip-poor-wills in weird fiction. I included the following image by Lee Brown Coye (1907-1981):


Coye's drawing is an illustration for "The Whippoorwills in the Hills" by August Derleth, from Weird Tales, September 1948. Coye also created the cover illustration for that issue:


There aren't any whip-poor-wills on the cover, but according to Jaffery and Cook's Collector's Index to Weird Tales, "The Whippoorwills in the Hills" was indeed the cover story.

Coye clearly worked from John James Audubon's paintings of whip-poor-wills and Chuck-will's widows:



It's clear that Frank Utpatel did as well, at least for the bird in the upper part of his composition, which is simply a reversed image of Audubon's whip-poor-will. The bird perched on the fencepost may simply be a copy from a field guide, such as the Golden field guide to Birds of North America (1966).

Coye and Utpatel were near contemporaries. Both worked for Weird Tales, Arkham House, and Whispers. Both continued working up until their deaths, and both had drawings published in the year that they died. In Utpatel's case, those were for issues of The August Derleth Society Newsletter. Incidentally, during the 1960s, Derleth published a magazine of verse. The title was Hawk and Whip-Poor-Will: Poems of Man and Nature.


Text copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

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