A series looking at some of my favourite book
covers and cover artists, mostly taken from my own collection.
#2Frank Frazetta’s covers for the Robert E. Howards’ Conan novels published by Lancer in the 1960’s
Texan author Robert E. Howard’s first published Conan story appeared in the December 1932 issue of the pulp science fiction magazine Weird Tales. Howard, a prolific writer responsible for hundreds of short stories, had previously experienced minor success selling to the pulps but it was his creation of a Cimmerian barbarian that struck a cord with readers. Continue reading Paperback covers #2: Frank Frazetta→
“I’m seeing something that was always hidden.
I’m in the middle of a mystery and it’s all secret”
After spending the other evening immersed in the seedy underbelly of 1960’s London (thanks to ‘Peeping Tom’) it’s time for a change of pace. Tonight it’s Blue Velvet, a look at the seedy underbelly of 1980’s small town America. Hmmm… there definitely seems to be a theme developing here. Continue reading Blue Velvet (1986)→
Over the past six or seven years there has been a welcome boom in the number of high quality, hard cover art books focusing on comic book artists. I suspect the profusion of superhero movies is probably partially responsible, but whatever the reasons I hope the trend continues. Continue reading The Art of John Byrne (1980)→
Michael Powell’s 1959 study of a serial murderer who films his victims last moments is as much a tour-de-force as his better known films, The Red Shoes and Black Narcissus to name a few. At it’s core the film depicts Mark Lewis, a psychologically damaged photographer (played with real compassion by german actor Carl Boehm) as he murders a string of London prostitutes and glamour models, filming their dying moments so he can watch their last moments again and again. But the film is so much more than than the study of a murderer and as the film progresses it becomes a carefully crafted essay on the voyeuristic nature of cinema. Continue reading Peeping Tom (1959)→
The first in a series looking at some of my favourite book covers and cover artists, mostly taken from my own collection.
#1Chris Foss’ covers for the Isaac Asimov novels published by Panther Science Fiction, circa late 1970’s.
It will probably come as no surprise to visitors to this site that as a child my main literary interest lay with comics. Marvel comics were my main staple but DC, 2000AD or any of the cartoon weeklies (Buster, Cheeky, Whizzer and Chips, etc) were all fair game. It’s hardly surprising that with such a diet of fantasy, adventure and heroics I then graduated to myths and legends – the greek and norse myths being particular favourites – and after that I made the natural progression to Science Fiction and Fantasy. I dipped my toe into some of the greats, Clarke, Bradbury etc, but found them all a little dry and I eventually settled on the John Christopher Tripods novels and early David Eddings, to name a few. Continue reading Paperback covers #1: Chris Foss→
“You don’t understand, Jill. People like that have something inside… something to do with death.”
In December 1966 directors Sergio Leone, Bernardo Bertolucci (“Last Tango in Paris”, “The Last Emperor”) and Dario Argento (“Suspira”, “Tenebrae”), three life-long fans of the American Western, discussed the possibility of creating a new film incorporating well-worn motifs and cliches from the genre. The film would not just be a pastiche but something new, a homage that would be greater than the sum of it’s parts – a new kind of Western. Over the next few months they created a story outline referencing over 50 other Westerns – from films as diverse as “Iron Horse” (1924) to “Johnny Guitar” (1954), “High Noon” (1952) to “The Searchers” (1956). They incorporated well used character motifs such as the gunfighter bent on revenge, the thief with a conscience, the stone-cold killer and the whore with the heart of gold. Continue reading One Upon a Time in the West (1968)→
While hunting for a suitable header image to my post on The Long Good Friday I found this gem. I’ve no idea what country it’s from but it’s great. I love that special emphasis has been given to the crucified security guide even though he only appears fleetingly at the end. And Bob Hoskins disco shirt is great.
I’m still in a thriller/gangster mood so tonight it’s the turn of The Long Good Friday (1979). A refreshingly detailed and thoughtful script, great characters and a memorable soundtrack combine to infuse this film with a freshness and vitality that endures to this day. It’s also got a great cast: Bob Hoskins (in his breakthrough role); Helen Mirren; Paul Freeman; Derek Thompson; Eddie Constantine; Pierce Brosnan (in his first film appearance) and a very young Dexter Fletcher (blink and you’ll miss him). It’s even got Jacko from Brushstokes! Continue reading The Long Good Friday (1979)→
MISCELLANEOUS CURIOSITIES FROM THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF COMICS, MOVIES, TOYS AND POPULAR CULTURE