Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Weird Tales Artists of the 1970s

I'm just about finished with the artists who contributed to Weird Tales in the early 1970s. There were just four issues in that incarnation of the magazine that never dies. The artists who signed their work or who were given credit for their work included these few:

In addition, there was one uncredited artist who has now been identified:

By the time that four-issue revival of Weird Tales had been published in 1973-1974, two of its artists--Andrew Brosnatch and Virgil Finlay--had passed away. Jack L. Thurston's art was almost certainly used without his knowledge or permission. Bill Edwards and Don Rico were both well-established, professional artists. Their art seems to have been created specifically for the 1970s Weird Tales. Both were based in southern California, which is where Weird Tales was published, and while Edwards was busy with acting and other activities, Don Rico had begun a teaching career at UCLA. He began with courses in the history of comic books. By 1976, he was making plans to teach young students how to draw them.

The reason I bring all this up is that it leads to a line of conjecture. I have been unable to find anything on the artist Geoffrey Sickler except for a reference to a man by that name who graduated from Edison High School in Huntington Beach, California, in 1971. Gary van der Steur, who created the cover of the second issue of Weird Tales, graduated from the California Institute of the Arts in 1971. (The school absorbed the Chouinard Art Institute in 1969; Mr. van der Steur would have matriculated at one school and finished with another.) Much of the unsigned art in Weird Tales from 1973-1974 looks like student work. So my question is, did Sam Moskowitz or his representative approach students or recent graduates of the California Institute of the Arts or other local art schools and ask them to illustrate Weird Tales? Was Don Rico, who was just beginning his teaching career, somehow involved?

Copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley


  1. I went to Marina High School In Huntington Beach with Geoff Sickler. Edison High was just being built in 1970 and Geoff ended up there later for graduation. He was a good friend and also the bass player in our garage band. A total original in high school with his velvet waste coat, architectural glasses and love of the strange and weird. You had to crawl through a cardboard tunnel to get in and out of his bedroom where he'd play the latest King Crimson. I've always wondered where his life has taken him. CC Mill Valley , CA

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks for the information on Geoff Sickler. I don't know him, but I wonder what has happened to him, too.