Lee Brown Coye was a singular artist possessed of a singular vision. His cover designs for Weird Tales sometimes approached the conventional, but they were more often strange and hard to categorize. I have fit some of the following covers in other categories, but the fit isn't perfect. Some are so strange as to stand alone, the January 1949 and March 1950 covers for instance. Notice that all show a single figure in the middle of the composition, a man in a cloak or a robe or wearing threadbare clothing. Notice, too, that all all of these men are in a state of advanced age, decrepitude, or decay. One of them has in fact died, leaving only his bones and the bones of his horse. None of these men looks like Lee Brown Coye, but I can't help but think that they could be self-portraits of a soul.
Weird Tales, March 1946. Cover story: "Twice Cursed" by Manly Wade Wellman. (I'm not convinced this is an illustration for a story.) You have seen this image before in the categories of surrealism, and haunted houses and graveyards.
Weird Tales, March 1948. Cover story: None. Coye received the plum assignment of illustrating the twenty-fifth anniversary cover of Weird Tales. I think this is one of his best for the magazine.
Weird Tales, March 1950. Cover story: "Home to Mother" by Manly Wade Wellman. This is another of Coye's very strange covers, and here is another motif: the crescent moon, a stylized version of the first letter of his last name.
Text and captions copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley