Thursday, October 6, 2016

Wrap-Up of Art and Artists of the Bellerophon Weird Tales

I'd like to start today by thanking publisher and editor Brian L. Forbes for photocopies provided by him of the two issues of the Bellerophon Weird Tales. Before hearing from Mr. Forbes, I had little hope of ever seeing these two issues, let alone studying them or owning them. So, thank you, Brian.

The Bellerophon issues of Weird Tales are interesting for a number of reasons. They were preceded by Lin Carter's paperback series of Weird Tales from 1980-1983, Sam Moskowitz's revival of 1973-1984, and of course the original run of 1923-1954. Although Weird Tales had appeared in a format larger than a regular magazine size (approximately 8-1/2 x 11 inches) before, the Bellerophon issues were the first non-pulp-sized or non-digest-sized Weird Tales in decades. Brian Forbes' two issues also brought Harlan Ellison, Stephen King, J.N. Williamson, and other well-known authors into the magazine's pages for the first time.

There were new artists, too. I have to admit to a bias in singling out Dave Stevens, even if his contribution amounted to just one illustration. In addition, Ro H. Kim's covers are good, although one appears to be a swipe. The Bellerophon issues also introduced photographs and comic strips to Weird Tales. It's nice to imagine that the magazine could have continued under the Bellerophon Network.

There are two Bellerophon issues, but they don't look an awful lot alike, at least on the inside. The typefaces used in the respective interiors are different. The second issue is longer (96 pages vs. 72 pages) and has a greater cover price ($2.95 vs. $2.50) than the first. The first issue has more original art in it than the second. In fact, if I have counted right, the only original art in the second issue (other than collages) are comic strips by Bruce David. (The collages were, I believe, assembled by Brian Forbes and came from Forrest J Ackerman's vast collection of science fiction and fantasy books and magazines.)

Speaking of art, much of the art in the Bellerophon issues is reprinted from previous sources, some without any indication as to the artist's identity. Most of these pieces of unsigned art (unsigned because they are apparently snippets) are nondescript. The following piece shows a very distinct style, however, and might be identifiable as to the artist. (This sounds like a job for you, Mike Tuz.)

An illustration by an unidentified artist, reprinted in Weird Tales, Winter 1985, for the story "Vengeance by Proxy" by John Wyndham. The style is distinctive enough, I think, to identify the artist who created it. That artist could easily have drawn for comic books.

So this ends my series on the art and artists of the Bellerophon Weird Tales (even though I did not cover all of them). And what comes next? Your guess is as good as mine.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

2 comments:

  1. I don't know that I'm up to the challenge, but I do appreciate your faith in my abilities!
    This does look like the work of a comic book artist, and if I were to speculate, I'd say it was Reed Crandall. The faces and postures are much like Crandall's way of drawing people, while the inks are much like the slick approach that he used in his days at Quality Comics -- before he developed the intense cross-hatching style later seen at EC and Warren. So I think that this is likely 1940's era Reed Crandall...but that's only a guess.

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    1. Mike,

      Reed Crandall was a good draftsman and had a good, clean inking style. I can see him as a possibility here, but it would not surprise me if this were not the work of Reed Crandall.

      Thanks for playing. I will send you a case of Turtle Wax and a lifetime supply of Rice A Roni, the San Francisco treat.

      Terence

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