Today is Halloween and time for cover art showing haunted houses and graveyards. I count thirteen of them, mostly from the postwar era and more than half of them from two artists, Lee Brown Coye and Matt Fox. Again, there seems to be some significance to the fact that after World War II, popular culture returned or at least tried to return to prewar monsters, horror, and fantasy. Did it work? Maybe for a while. The again, maybe not. The war changed the world beyond any going back, despite the drive among writers of fantasy and weird fiction to return to the past or to bring the past into the present. The haunted house, a kind of ruin in which people from the past reside, and the graveyard, where the past, though never at rest, lies buried, seem to be the proper setting for weird fiction. As these covers show, they also offer the artist plenty of material for his or her picture-making. Notice, for example, that in nine of the thirteen images below there is either a bird (a vulture or a crow) or a bat.
|Weird Tales, April 1939. Cover story: "Susette" by Seabury Quinn. Cover art by Virgil Finlay.|
|Weird Tales, September 1944. Cover story: None. Cover art by A.R. Tilburne. This is a fine cover. Unfortunately it's a swipe, as the image below shows.|
|Weird Tales, May 1946. Cover story: "The Valley of the Gods" by Edmond Hamilton. Cover art by Ronald Clyne. A very well done illustration, I think, and I think I detect the influence of Rockwell Kent.|
|Weird Tales, March 1947. Cover story: "Mr. George" by August Derleth. Cover art by Boris Dolgov.|
|Weird Tales, May 1948. Cover story: "City of Lost People" by Allison V. Harding. Cover art by Matt Fox. I really wish we could have Matt Fox back.|
|Weird Tales, September 1948. Cover story: "The Whippoorwills in the Hills" by August Derleth. Cover art by Lee Brown Coye. The story is about birds, but there are no birds on the cover.|
|Weird Tales, November 1949. Cover story: "The Underbody" by Allison V. Harding. Cover art by Matt Fox.|
|Weird Tales, May 1951. Cover story: "Notebook Found in a Deserted House" by Robert Bloch. Cover art by Lee Brown Coye.|
|Weird Tales, March 1952. Cover story: "Morne Perdu" by Alice Farnham. Cover art by Joseph R. Eberle.|
HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM
TELLERS OF WEIRD TALES!
Revised January 20, 2017.
Text and captions copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley