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Illustrators #30 (magazine review).

October 16, 2020 | By | Reply More

Editor Diego Cordoba interviews

Mort Künstler
All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2020

This is about his early career where he got the nickname of ‘the Godfather Of Pulp Fiction’, although as he explains, he only got started in the 1950s and wasn’t actually active then. Looking at the work here, he was doing the pulp magazines, including working for Martin Goodman at ‘Magazine Management’. Künstler was so prolific in gouache that he had to use different names or dominate several magazine companies products. I tend to think it’s the subject matter that gets the term ‘pulp’ rather than medium. Certainly, there is a lot of editorial direction in his subject matter and only one with three tanks he thought more implausible. He moved to National Geographic in 1965 and then on into advertising where it paid five times more for the same amount of work. His artwork is eye-catching and eye-opening for range and colour choices.

All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2020

Will Huley
All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2020

Oddly, I think I would probably have put Robert Deis’ article ‘Weasels Ripped My Flesh or The Wild World Of Men’s Adventure Magazines’ first than second in the magazine as it gives an excellent briefing on the so-called ‘sweat magazines’ that were produced in the USA from the 1950s-1970s. The general theme of scantily dressed women in danger and men being attacked by an assortment of enemies and animals is a consistent theme but also where a lot of artists like Mort Künstler, Norm Eastman, Will Huley and James Bama got their careers started. Oddly, if I was to be critical of their art as shown here, there is a singular absence of shadows but the art is stunningly done in watercolour or gouache.

Earl Norem
All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2020

Earl Norem (1923-2015) may not be a name you remember from the Marvel magazines, but looking at his art here, I certainly remember his covers for ‘Man-God’ and ‘Iron Fist vs Shang Chi’. Norem started off in the ‘sweat magazines’ and I agree with Diego Cordoba in having a flair for action but would also add an eye for clothes giving them a realism. It’s no wonder Martin Goodman used him so much. A beautiful use of colour and expression. It’s even more amazing Marvel haven’t released a book showing off his art.

Norman Saunders
All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2020

When I looked at Norman Saunders (1907-1989) work here I did recognize some of his trading cards work on the 1966 ‘Batman’ and the earlier ‘Mars Attacks’ (1962) but what I wasn’t aware of was he actually painted them and others to that scale for the Topps Company. If anything, seeing them enlarged a little probably sees them out of context. Thinking back to the 1960s, he probably had an eye for what the kids with see them lose anything in detail when shrunk. Certainly, he could also work much larger.

As always with ‘Illustrators’, I expect my jaw to drop and it did so more than usual this time and put some names to artists that I’ve seen some of their work but never their names before. As this also transcends the 1950s to modern 1970s, you get to see a whole range here. Don’t miss it.

GF Willmetts

October 2020

(pub: The Book Palace, 2020. 98 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £18.00 (UK), $21.99 (US) via Bud Plant. ISBN: 978-1-907081-88-0. ISSN: 2052-6520)

check out website: www.bookpalace.com and www.illustratorsquarterly.com

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Category: Illustration, Magazines

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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