Book/Magazine Covers (All) · Book/Magazine Covers (Jones) · Illustration Art · Jeffrey "Jeff" Catherine Jones · Look Here · Samuel R. Delany

Look Here: Ten more paperback covers by Jeffrey Jones

The original reproduction on many of the following covers by Jeffrey Jones, all from the library of yours truly, was very poor, so my scans are sometimes not the best here. One exception is the last cover, Twilight of the Serpent, which actually showcases Jones’s artwork in more detail and with more lively colour than does the rather dour reproduction on the back cover of publisher Underwood-Miller’s lavish hardcover, The Art of Jeffrey Jones.

My favourites this time around are the covers for The Curse of Rathlaw (1968), an early effort in which Jones’s attractive design for the vignette is nicely reinforced by the typography, and Twilight of the Serpent (1977), a later cover which displays Jones’s hard-won skills as a draftsman (or draughtsman, if you prefer), mastery of lost-and-found edges in oil painting, and increasing willingness in the 1970s and early 1980s to produce images that went against the grain of traditional heroic fantasy.

Keywords: Earthmen and Strangers, Kothar of the Magic Sword, The Book of Ptath, The Jewels of Aptor, Seetee Shock, The Incomplete Enchanter, The Curse of Rathlaw, The Sword of Morning Star, Bedlam Planet, Twilight of the Serpent.

4 thoughts on “Look Here: Ten more paperback covers by Jeffrey Jones

  1. Lots here in the Frazetta mould, particularly the last one which reminds me of F.F.’s A PRINCESS OF MARS cover from 1976, but all with the Jones touch. There really needs to be a monograph of Jeffrey Jones’ paintings, as well as a single volume of his comics work.

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  2. The basic difference between A Princess of Mars and Twilight of the Serpent is that whereas Frazetta in A Princess of Mars distills to its simple but powerful essence a longstanding cliché of heroic fantasy art — the hero simultaneously celebrates his triumph over the foe and claims the voluptuous princess as his prize — Jones in Twilight of the Serpent uses a more naturalistic technique combined with unexpected, but subtle, elisions, contrasts, reversals, and so on, to subvert the cliché, replacing dead certainty with a lively, poetic ambiguity.

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  3. “There really needs to be a monograph of Jeffrey Jones’ paintings, as well as a single volume of his comics work.”

    I think that Age of Innocence: The Romantic Art of Jeffrey Jones and the Jeffrey Jones Sketchbook are now out of print — though prices haven’t gone through the roof yet — but The Art of Jeffrey Jones is still available at amazon.com and elsewhere, and it’s about as comprehensive a look back as most fantasy artists not named Frazetta get these days. Of course, the fans always want more, but what we’ve already received is nothing to sneeze at.

    With regard to your suggestion for a single volume of Jones’s comics work, my response is quite simple: HELL YES! In fact, I’ve been calling for the same thing since I started posting Jones’s work on this blog. IDW, Fantagraphics, D&Q — one of you, please, get this done!

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  4. Jones’ best comics work is nothing less than poetry on paper, be it the one page “Idyl” strip (1972-75) in NATIONAL LAMPOON, or his short stories: “Spirit of ’76” for SPASM #1 in 1973, “Dead Run” and “Harry” for VAMPIRELLA #32 in 1974, or “A Night to Remember” for PATHWAYS TO FANTASY #1 in 1983, for example. These are as much a work of art as the very top comics work EVER produced for the medium. Genuine art, not kitsch, not fanboy fodder, but real art found between panel borders in both story and drawing. If picture strips are ever to be regarded as a legitimate art form, then Jones’ work needs to be seen and studied by the present and upcoming generation.

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