Classic Covers: Ken Kelly
Jun14

Classic Covers: Ken Kelly

The world of fantasy illustrators has lost one of its most prolific and long-running practitioners, Ken Kelly (May 19, 1946 – June 3, 2022). From the classic Berkley Medallion line of collected Robert E. Howard to the modern Baen reissues, Tor Conan pastiches, and Wildside/Dorchester Weird Works of REH — and the thousands of fantasy and science fiction books from every major publisher in between — Kelly’s art was a...

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Classic Covers: Harold Lamb’s Histories
Apr15

Classic Covers: Harold Lamb’s Histories

What do you get when you cross an expert adventure storyteller with a linguistically-gifted polymath? Some of the greatest popular histories ever written. While Harold Lamb’s fiction was familiar to readers of Adventure magazine, it was his gripping histories and biographies, starting with 1927’s Genghis Khan, that won him international acclaim, and made him an acknowledged expert in both Hollywood and the State...

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Classic Covers: Arkham House
Feb25

Classic Covers: Arkham House

When one thinks of legendary pulp publishers, names like Weird Tales, Black Mask, and Planet Stories leap to mind — beautiful magazines as sadly transitory as the era of popular literacy they defined. But it was for an indie book publisher to emerge as one of the leading lights of preservation for the best in the weird and fantastical horror of the age, and add its own legendary name to the rolls of honored pulpsters: Arkham...

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Classic Covers: The Savage Sword of Conan
Jan25

Classic Covers: The Savage Sword of Conan

How do you skirt a restrictive comics code and make visual Conan stories with the requisite blood-pumping grittiness that is integral to Howard’s adventures? You make a magazine of course! Already popular in his initial comic book incarnation of Conan the Barbarian, Marvel introduced the more adult-oriented The Savage Sword of Conan in 1974, quickly achieving a wide circulation and, thanks to writer and editor Roy Thomas’...

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Classic Covers: Leigh Brackett
Dec07

Classic Covers: Leigh Brackett

Author of classics like The Long Tomorrow and The Sword of Rhiannon, originator of popular serial character Eric John Stark, cover story darling of Planet Stories and Thrilling Wonder Stories and dubbed Queen of Space Opera by her legions of fans, Leigh Brackett’s pulse-pounding adventures on Mars, Venus, and worlds stranger still have proven fertile ground for illustrators since she exploded onto the scene in the 1940s....

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Classic Covers: Poul Anderson
Nov23

Classic Covers: Poul Anderson

With scores of novels spanning the popular genres of science fiction and fantasy, with hundreds of magazine and anthology appearances, and with a career spanning the most creative era of visual marketing in publishing of the 20th century, Poul Anderson’s bibliography has the quintessential ‘Classic Covers’ ingredients. Here is but a small sample of the art that brought Anderson’s stories to...

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Classic Covers: Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos Series
Nov09

Classic Covers: Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos Series

Whether sneaking, swashbuckling, or smirking his way through the magical world of Dragaera, Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos has been entertaining — and surprising — fans since 1983. The long-running and endlessly inventive series has reached its 15th volume in a projected 19 novel run, with all but two of the books named for one of the 17 divisions of the Dragaeran caste system. Striking cover art and design has been a...

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Classic Covers: H.P. Lovecraft
Oct22

Classic Covers: H.P. Lovecraft

Few writers have had quite the literary afterlife of H.P. Lovecraft, a man whose name has become a byword for all things tentacled and mind-destroying. With millions of books in print in thousands of editions, the originator of works with a trend-setting aesthetic in writhingly dark cosmic horror, Lovecraft’s stories have proven an irresistible lure to artists of the macabre since the pulp era. Here is just a small sampling of...

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Classic Covers: A Month of Weird Octobers
Oct05

Classic Covers: A Month of Weird Octobers

The Unique Magazine gave us more than its fair share of truly unique covers, from the macabre to the carnal, the heroic to the horrifying, and, of course, the just plain weird, Weird Tales is the stuff of which classic covers are made. What follows is a snapshot of covers for October and November issues of Weird Tales during its heyday — because, after all, spooky doesn’t just stop after Halloween, it’s just getting...

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Classic Covers: Jack Vance
Jun22

Classic Covers: Jack Vance

One of the benefits of being an extraordinarily productive and highly-reprinted genre writer during the mass market paperback publishing boom of the mid-twentieth century is you get a terrific amount of amazing visual art forever associated with your name. Jack Vance, author of over 60 books (whenever you see ‘over’ a certain number, that’s a pretty big clue that the author in question is so prolific that it’s...

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