All written content ©2013 Mike Pascale. Visual content ©2013 its respective owner(s).
One of my joys of haunting antique shops, estate sales, flea markets and the like, is discovering older/obscure anthologies, books and magazines featuring famous comics and fantasy artists, especially before they were famous. I’ve found sci-fi and fantasy work by common SF mainstays like Virgil Finlay and Kelly Freas, plus comics pros like John Giunta (one of Frazetta’s comics mentors), Wally Wood, Gray Morrow, Reed Crandall, and even MAD’s Don Martin! (I’ll have to find and scan that one for a later installment.)
One recent acquisition was a copy of horror anthology COVEN 13 from 1969. I don’t know who’s name I noticed first, William Stout’s unusual early signature or Harlan Ellison’s byline, but after checking out the story and Stout’s interior illo, I had to fork over the three bucks.
The story is quite vivid. It’s probably only the third Ellison prose story I’ve read so I can’t opine on it compared to his impressive oeuvre; but I immediately noticed its unique language and structure. No one writes like Harlan. While reading it, I kept thinking it would have made a nice Kirby Silver Age Marvel monster story. And as you can see here, Stout did an impressive pen-and-ink job imagining the main character, almost with a Kirbyesque feel due to its massive size.
I took the small paperback to Comic-Con this year to have Bill sign it. What I like about talking to him is he doesn’t just sign it and move you along like some guys do; if there’s not a crowd gathered at his table, he’s always free with background info if you ask. Turns out this was one of his first commercial jobs! He was about 19-years-old and basically began his fantasy art career with this title. (Not sure what other issues he worked on; would love to see ‘em if anyone out there has something to share.) He was paid a pittance from the obscure publisher who folded not long after, but gained some valuable experience, especially with his first shot at oil painting. Who’d have known he’d become such a big name in different fields like comics, fantasy art, film and paleontological dinosaur illustration?
See more of what I’m talking about at Bill’s site.
As for Harlan, he’s still going strong at nearly 80. Check out the latest video where he tells you a bit about his two newest books.
Looking forward to more new and old treasures!
P.S.: Need an original gift of original art for your friend, family member or yourself? I’m more than happy to create it for you at a very reasonable price. Just ask Craig here!