Illustration Art · Jeffrey "Jeff" Catherine Jones · Prints (Jones) · Walt Simonson

Connections: Brunner, Jones, Simonson

ABOVE: Howard the Duck #1 (Jan 1976), with cover art by Frank Brunner.
ABOVE: Jeffrey Catherine Jones, “Dragon Slayer,” oil painting originally commissioned, and then rejected, for the January 1982 issue of National Lampoon. It was published as a print by Glimmer Graphics in 1992.
ABOVE: National Lampoon, vol. 2, no. 42 (Jan 1982), with cover art by Walt Simonson.

The love triangle between the knight, the damsel, and the dragon depicted in both the Jones painting and the Simonson cover is oddly, unintentionally, wryly symbolic. As many comics fans know, Walt Simonson’s wife, Louise, had previously been married to Jeffrey Jones. Jeffrey and Louise had met at college in 1964, married in 1966, and eventually divorced some time in the early 1970s, or so it has been vaguely reported. Meanwhile, Louise Jones apparently met Walt Simonson in 1973, they began dating in 1974, and they married in 1980. Thus, in a sense, Jones was the knight who lost the damsel to the dragon, and what’s more — adding insult to injury, so to speak — failed to win the competition, if one may refer to it as such, with Simonson to have work published on the cover of National Lampoon. Or maybe Jones suggested Simonson for the job when his (Jones’s) painting was rejected. That’s a nice thought, though I have zero evidence to back it up…

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Louise Simonson on Frank Frazetta, Jeffrey Jones, and photo reference…

Below is a partial transcript of the above clip, with bold added for emphasis:

“Well, when Jeff did work for Warren, I wasn’t there [working for Warren] yet. I was, uhm, working in advertising promotion and, for another publisher, a magazine publisher in the city [New York]. Uhm, I think during this time Jeff may have discovered using reference? And it made a huge difference in his work. I remember at one point he, he, it suddenly occurred to him… okay, all right, back in the olden days there was a story that Frank Frazetta said that he never used reference and anybody who used reference was cheating. So a generation of young artists grew up thinking using reference is bad and cheating and this is, I don’t know, I don’t know why Frank did that because I know he used reference, I know he did. [Laughter.] Uhm, anyway, so I guess at one point Jeff just cracked and started using reference and his work got, it took a huge leap forward, so I do remember that, and I believe that was, maybe some of that might have been during the Warren period. Uhm, he just did a few things for Warren. He didn’t do that much.”

— Louise Simonson, Better Things Panel, San Diego Comic Con 2011

“My work looks the way it looks because I shoot reference.
I need that information, then I can play with it.” — Jeffrey Jones, in conversation with George Pratt



From my very own library of brittle old paperbacks:


To view all of the Zebra/Kensington editions of Robert E. Howard’s books with Jones covers that I’ve posted so far, click here.

Keywords: The Vultures of Whapeton.