Illustrators #42 (magazine review).

The latest edition of ‘Illustrators’ begins with a spotlight on the legendary Rich Corben (1940-2020). Despite his global acclaim, Corben was notably reserved, even declining an interview for this edition prior to his passing. Fortunately, his family and estate have since granted permission for his work to be featured. I first encountered his art in ‘Heavy Metal’ through ‘Den’/’Neverwhere’ and continued to discover more of his creations over the years. Corben’s unique art style, especially his mastery of color, always stood out to me.


art: Richard Corben. All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2023

Diego Cordoba dedicates a page to illustrating Corben’s pre-digital age color-filter techniques. Corben’s vast portfolio even includes the iconic cover for Meatloaf’s ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ album. I was drawn to the picture disk versions of it and ‘Dead Ringer’ primarily because of Corben’s involvement. His cover artistry is unparalleled, and this feature will surely inspire readers to explore more of his work.

All contents copyright art: Jim Rugg. The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2023

Cordoba also interviews comic book artist Jim Rugg, a name unfamiliar to me.

art: G.H. Thompson. All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2023

Rugg epitomizes the journey of self-improvement, continually refining his skills and learning from past errors. Another intriguing section delves into Cordoba’s quest to identify G.H. Thompson (1861-1935, presumably). Although Thompson’s style bears some resemblance to Louis Wain, particularly in anthropomorphizing animals, the two are distinct artists. A fortuitous discovery led Cordoba to an old book with details about Thompson. Thompson’s artwork is both masterful and humorous. However, his works are rare and often fetch high prices. Notably, some of Thompson’s pieces were published internationally in the 1900s, suggesting they might still be found in antique bookshops worldwide. Thompson’s art, imbued with visual wit, captivated me.

art: George Wilson. All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2023

Another enigmatic artist spotlighted is George Wilson (1921-1999). Notably, Wilson rarely signed his artwork, especially the covers he crafted for Dell/Gold Key. There are two artists with this name; this feature focuses on the American George Wilson. He preferred gouache for its quick-drying properties. His versatility shines through in the displayed works, from ‘Magnus, Robot Fighter’ to the original ‘Star Trek’. His paintings were even printed on the reverse of comic books without any text. Joe Jusko suggests that Wilson’s works deserve a dedicated collection, though potential copyright issues might complicate such an endeavor.

As with all editions of ‘Illustrators’, there’s something for everyone. It serves as a reminder of the vast pool of artistic talent out there, and hopefully, it will inspire publishers to bring more of these artworks to the forefront.

GF Willmetts

October 2023

(pub: The Book Palace, 2023. 98 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £22.00 (UK), $27.99 (US) via Bud Plant. ISBN: 978-1-913548-48-3. ISSN: 2052-6520)

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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.

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