Illustrators # 4 (magazine review)

January 21, 2016 | By | 2 Replies More

After my review of Illustrators # 18 last month, The Book Palace provided me with some earlier issues of their magazine that they think fits our remit which I will be reviewing over the next few months. As many of you reading here like artbooks, then these will certainly fit your tastes even if they aren’t all our genre. After all, we all like looking at art and much of these are commercial which means you might have seen it out there but not know anything about the artists concerned. This is true of Illustrators # 4.

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

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

The two major items within our remit is a look at Pan’s ‘Horror Stories’ anthologies from 1957-1989 by Johnny Mains showing not only the covers but also who painted them and in a couple instances sculpted them, as witnessed by the screaming skeleton as part of a period when only photographs were used. Of note to Pratchett fans, his artist, Josh Kirby, did a couple although the werewolf cover is not as elaborate as his later work What is appalling at the end is how much of Pan’s covers and other illustrated work was literally chucked out or thrown away. A prevalent problem that comes up from time to time with publishers not willing to return the art to their painters.

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

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

The name L. Ashwell Wood might not mean much but if I said he illustrated the cut-outs that were used in the original ‘Eagle’ comic and that were reprinted in a ‘Best Of The Eagle’ book a couple years back that if you didn’t buy then you certainly had a look at. The article by Jeremy Briggs and Peter Richardson looks at Wood’s life and the other material he did. Wood also got paid rather well for each cut-out painting compared to standard comic/magazine rates, which when you consider how many times they’ve been reprinted over the years looks like a good investment by the publisher. Looking at the samples here are still breath-taking, more so as you’re seeing them without text overlay although there are number bubbles done on the originals. There are even some of the early space rockets and satellites. Although other artists have stepped up to do cut-outs since, Wood was the original and makes this issue a worthwhile look.


Lest you think that’s all there is, you also get to look at the work of Michael Johnson and Chris McEwan, the latter of which has done some rather energetic fantasy work for the junior leagues. Johnson’s work, as seen on the cover, is more stylised and gives a certain dimensionality to his work. One would almost think they were abstract on some levels but are very effective.

I suspect many people have missed these magazines since they started in 2012 but hope the exposure I can give them over the next few months will ensure you have a look at least some of them where your tastes are matched. If you are buying in America, you need to search for ‘Illustrators Quarterly’.

GF Willmetts

January 2016

(pub: The Book Palace, 2013. 98 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £15.00 (UK), $24.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-907081-11-8. ISSN: 2052-6520

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Category: Illustration, Magazines, Scifi

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 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.

Comments (2)

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  1. johnny mains says:

    I think you’ll find the ‘shaving cover’ is by Mel Grant and not by Josh Kirby…please double check your facts!

  2. UncleGeoff says:

    Hello Johnny
    Ooops. I read right as being his, not the werewolf cover which isn’t as intricate as his Pratchett covers.
    Anyone reading our comments now after I amend the review are going to be startled as to what we are talking about.


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