At first, I just planned to post a couple of covers by Robert Foster, scanned by me from my personal collection of SF paperbacks, but I have since decided that it might be more interesting to trace one warm line up through the chain of influence that led to Foster’s arresting illustrations for the front and back covers of Michael Moorcock’s Behold the Man. So here goes:
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The typography on the cover of Behold the Man perfectly complements Foster’s painting, don’t you think? The whole package, front and back, is a real stunner!
Since I already scanned Foster’s collage-like Alternities cover, I suppose I might as well post that image, too:
I’m not actually a fan of Boris Vallejo’s work, but when I came across the Monica Hughes novel, Sandwriter, on the shelf at a local thrift shop, I knew I’d seen a better version of the cover image before, and here’s the ocular proof:
Notice that the unknown artist not only swiped the creature, rider, and composition from Vallejo’s painting but also saw fit to turn the somewhat phallic head and neck of the creature into a raging vein-wrapped erection, with the hint of a scrotum and elements of bondage thrown in to up the sexual ante. Because that’s what passes for creativity in some circles, folks. It’s not about what marvels you can conjure in your imagination and capture with the tools of art but about what you can get away with on the cover of a novel written for teenagers…
P.S. I don’t own either of the above novels. The Boris cover scan is from McClaverty’s flickr stream, the Sandwriter scan is from the Amazon website.
Well… in all fairness, the two paintings posted below are different enough that I probably should have tossed this post into the “Connections” category. And you know what? I think I might have done so, if only Boas’s style here weren’t every bit as derivative as his concept…
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Marcus Boas’s debt to Frazetta in the above painting is clear enough, I think; however, in terms of painting technique, colour sense, and model types, Boas owes an even bigger debt to Boris Vallejo circa 1980. Because the fact is, Boas’s Heroic Fantasy painting is pure pastiche. It has nothing original about it other than the poorly designed creatures whose misshapen wings are attached to their bodies by wishful thinking rather than by anatomy and the inevitable awkwardness that seems to emerge whenever a mediocre illustrator attempts to make changes to a composition he has cribbed from an acknowledged master.
Two covers by Boris Vallejo, scanned from the paperback library of yours truly:
As I recall, Boris’s un-Frazetta-like cover for Demon in the Mirror made a big impression on me as a teenager, and truth be told, it remains one of a handful of Boris’s covers that I quite like. In recent years, Boris has unfortunately transformed his fantasy art into a platform to indulge what can only be described as a personal fetish for the bodybuilder physique, both male and female. Notice, however, that no bodybuilders were recruited to pose and flex for either of the above covers — thank god!
Keywords:Through the Reality Warp, Demon in the Mirror.