Monday, January 27, 2014

Woman and Wolf

The category of woman and wolf would fit inside the category of woman and animal except that there are enough covers of the former to separate them from the latter. I think that fact alone is significant. Of the ten covers shown here, seven show the woman and the wolf as friends or companions. I would also call that significant, but I don't know in what way it is significant. Of the remaining three covers, two are of the wolf attacking or stalking the woman; the third shows the wolf as a woman. The identification of woman as wolf would seem to me merely an extension of the idea that the wolf and the woman are friends or companions. In other words, somebody--whether it's the author of weird fiction, or humanity in general--seems to be saying that the woman has some basic affinity with wolves. She runs with their pack or they run with hers. I'm still trying to puzzle it all out, and I welcome comments.

Weird Tales, April 1926. Cover story: "Wolfshead" by Robert E. Howard. Cover art by E.M. Stevenson. This cover would more properly go in the category of man and woman (or woman and monster), but because of the wolf theme, I have included it here. The male figure is apparently a human being, but the shadow of the wolf behind him suggests that he is more monster than man, perhaps a werewolf. Of all the covers in the category of woman and wolf, only this one shows the wolf attacking the woman.

Weird Tales, September 1927. Cover story: "The Wolf Woman" by Bassett Morgan. Cover art by Curtis C. Senf. Likewise, this cover fits into the category of man, woman, and animal, but because of the theme, I have included it here. Morgan's story and Senf's cover set the pattern for woman/wolf covers to follow: almost every one of them shows the two as being friends. Women have an affinity for animals, but why the wolf in Weird Tales?

Weird Tales, December 1930. Cover story: "The Wolf of St. Bonnot" by Seabury Quinn. Cover art by Hugh Rankin. Another cover that is not well represented on the Internet. Margaret Brundage's first woman-and-wolf cover (third illustration following) and the second Canadian woman-and-wolf cover (the last illustration below) are not very different from this one.

Weird Tales, June 1932. Cover story: "The Devil's Pool" by Greye La Spina. Cover art by J. Allen St. John. Here the woman isn't just friends with the wolf--she is the wolf. That may get to the question: Is the woman somehow identified with the wolf, either in her own mind or in the minds of men? What does a wolf represent? A kind of wildness I guess, but is that all? If not, what else?

Magazine of Horror, November 1965 (No. 11). Here is Carl Kidwell's version of the same scene from "The Devil's Pool." Kidwell drew one illustration for Weird Tales in 1952. More than a decade later, Robert A.W. Lowndes began a successful term as editor of Magazine of Horror, a digest that might have captured the spirit of Weird Tales better than any of its successors.

Weird Tales, March 1933. Cover story: "The Thing in the Fog" by Seabury Quinn. Cover art by Margaret Brundage. Once again, a woman who runs with wolves.

Weird Tales, October 1935. Cover story: "The Six Sleepers" by Edmond Hamilton. Cover art by Margaret Brundage.

Weird Tales, August 1938. Cover story: "The Wolf-Girl of Josselin" by Arlton Eadie. Cover art by Margaret Brundage. Note that a female artist drew three of the five American covers in which the woman and wolf are friends. Significant? Maybe.

Weird Tales, September 1942. Cover story (?): "Never the Twain" by Seabury Quinn. Cover art by A.R. Tilburne. This cover doesn't quite fit the category. After all, there is a man in the picture. I have included it here because of the wolf theme. Again, out of ten covers, only two show the wolf as an enemy of the woman.

Weird Tales, January 1943, Canadian edition. Cover story (?): "Satan's Bondage" by Manly Bannister. Cover art by an unknown artist. It seems to me that the Canadian edition of Weird Tales has been pretty well ignored by fans and researchers. I base that on a lack of information on the Internet. I would like to correct that oversight with a future series of postings. If anyone has special knowledge of the Canadian edition, I would sure like to hear from you. 

Weird Tales, May 1945, Canadian edition. Cover story (?): "Bon Voyage, Michele" by Seabury Quinn. Cover art by an unknown artist. This cover is both a woman-and-wolf cover and a ghost cover. The wolves may actually be huskies, but the theme is the same. 

Text and captions copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

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