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Category Archives: Illustrators

Sidney Paget — Not a One-Trick Pony

Since I was a child I have always admired the illustrations by Sidney Paget of The Sherlock Holmes stories, all 356. There is a 357th and it is unpublished. Over the past several years, I have learned that “SP” illustrated many serials in other magazine and books. As far as I know there is no definitive listing of these available.

I am in the process of publishing The Puritan’s Wife by Max Pemberton and The Sanctuary Club by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace and I append an illustration from each of these for your viewing pleasure.

I have already published the Martin Hewitt stories by Arthur Morrison.

I invite the read to submit other books and magazine serials illustrated by SP, S Paget and rarely Sidney Paget.

Bride-29

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Jack Koblas Has Two New Titles

I first met John “Jack” Koblas in the Tripp Museum in Prairie du Sac two years ago now. We were both visiting a display of Jim Kirchstein’s hand puppets and marionettes all created by Ken Vogel on the weekend in October celebrating The Walden West Festival by The August Derleth Society. The following year Jack was the Guest Speaker at Walden West Festival. We sat together and discussed books at the Sunday evening dinner at Green Acres after the Walden West weekend.

In the month that followed Jack assembled an impressive list of titles for publication:

1. Ghost Stories and Other Dark Tales. This collection of stories is illustrated by John Stevens, and John also designed the cover. Many of these stories were written many years ago now, and a couple of them were rejected for publication by August Derleth when Jack submitted them for consideration when he was a teenager.

2. The Lovecraft Circle and Others as I Knew Them This is non-fiction book, and includes Jack memories of many of the admirers of H.P. Lovecraft. Two of the high points are Mary Elizabeth Counselman and Donald Wandrei.

3. Abe Lincoln’s Graveyard Ghouls. This is the history of what happened to the body of the President after his assassination at the end of the Civil War. Lincoln’s body was disinterred twice and finally came to rest in Illinois in 1905.

4. The Portage Experiment. this is the History of Zona Gale, Margery Latimer, Jean Toomer and Gurdjieff movement in Portage Wisconsin in the 1930s. It is a bizarre one including standing in trees without cloths, and communal and group sex, and master Gurdjieff doing short arm inspections on the men, before festivities began, presumably to avoid the spread of Venereal Disease.

5. The Invasions of America (1941-1945). This recounts the various and frequent invasions of both The United States of America and Canada by air and by sea during and before the commencement of WWII.

6. Jesse James and Jack Chinn: A Shadow over Northfield. This is Jack’s controversial thesis that Chinn had a serious hand in the robbery at Northfield Minnesota.

* * * * * * *

Jack Koblas is one of the most dynamic, interesting and prolific writers you’ll find in print today. Many of his readers are aware that when it comes to the outlaw genre, Jack is the foremost authority on the James-Younger Gang’s exploits in Minnesota. With over 70 books to his credit, his name is recognized in many fields—Western nonfiction as well as fiction, with other titles on Ma Barker and the gangster era, the U. S.-Dakota War, American Civil War, literary figures, politicians, nature, poetry, and many more.

Others know him through his work as a consultant and script writer for various television documentaries including Discovery Channel, History Channel, PBS American Experience, as well as independent film companies. One of his own books, Jesse James Northfield Raid: Confessions of the Ninth Man, was made into a documentary film.

Still others hail him for his musical skills as founder of The Magpies— one of the first doo wop groups to bring rock music to the Twin Cities in the 1950s. His vocals and keyboards are still heard today on many oldies recordings, and in 2007, he and The Magpies were inducted into the Minnesota Rock & Country Hall of Fame.
But how many people remember his works in the horror/fantasy field when he cofounded Etchings & Odysseys and learned to write from authors such as Donald Wandrei, Carl Jacobi, and Charles DeVet? Here are 47 horror stories penned by Jack Koblas, some of which we hope may jog your memory. May we have the lights, please?

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John Stevens graduated from Daytona State College with a Graphic Arts and Advertising Design degree. His career in illustration blossomed as he won a prestigious award from L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators Of The Future contest, an international competition for science fiction illustrators. His professional talent came to the attention of Dell Magazine where he illustrated stories for Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and many others. This talented artist’s work has been noted in Bride Publication, North Star Press and National Examiner as well as in several books.

John Stevens has worked with companies such as Ladies Professional Golf Association, Wacky World Studios, International Speedway Corporation Publications, Hot Action Sportswear, Jiloty Communications Incorporated advertising agency and many others. He has produced illustration for Art Against Aids, a non-profit organization established to raise funds for children living with aids. John also took time to teach portrait drawing for ArtQuest School Of Art & Design of Florida.

John Stevens’ work adorns the collections of Florida’s U.S. Senator Bob Graham, Louise M. Kleba (Systems Engineer at McDonnell Douglas Aerospace), Lee Aperson (Mr America), Debbie Kruck (MS Fitness USA), Kim Hartt of the Nevada Hot Dice RollerJam TV series, Barbara Leigh (actress) and many others.
To see more of John Stevens art visit his website at http://www.imagesofwonder.com and http://www.johnstevensart.com

* * * * * * *

During one of our late night talk session, Donald Wandrei told me he sold his first story, “The Red Brain,” to Weird Tales magazine in 1927. Although it was rejected the first time by Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales, fellow pulp author H. P. Lovecraft had advised the younger writer to wait five or six months and submit it again. HPL added Wright’s memory was poor, probably from the Parkinson’s that plagued him, and a second submission would probably do the trick. Wright apparently did not remember the initial attempt, and upon reading this submission was so impressed, he published the story.

“Tomorrow, Tao Fa [E. Hoffmann Price] hits town,” Mary Elizabeth Counselman wrote me 40 years ago. Ed Price made several what he called “safaris,” to visit fellow pulp authors all over the U. S. and I was always lucky to be included by visits from both these masters of the macabre. MEC (Miss Counselman) continued her epistle: “I’m following his progress from New Orleans by sound—women screaming, or squealing as the case may be: men yelling and cursing and firing shotguns… Will let you know about his visit, unless my husband gets him first!”

I was fortunate to have known so many of the “pulpsters” and each through unusual channels: Robert Bloch because Wandrei called him every week and made me play “Rhapsody in Blue” on the piano for him; Carl Jacobi whom I first met while tricks or treating at his house on a long ago Halloween night; August Derleth because he rejected my story and called it “the worst story I’ve ever read (I was 15);” and Charles DeVet because Andy Decker and I found a geographical error in one of his novels. And most of the pulpsters followed because of similar reasons over a long period of time.

Come share these memories with me. The subjects are some of the finest people I’ve ever met.—Jack Koblas

* * * * * * *

“Anyway here it is. As I told [Jack Koblas] over the phone I got a laugh out of THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WEIRD and thought it nicely written to boot.” —Carl Jacobi

* * * * *

“When it comes to twentieth-century pulp writers, especially those connected with H. P. Lovecraft, Jack (“Count”) Koblas has “been there and done that.” From an alligator chase in the environs of R. H. Barlow’s erstwhile Florida home to the sighting of an albino squirrel in Don Wandrei’s backyard, Jack tells all in The Lovecraft Circle. His accounts of writers like Bloch, Counselman, Wandrei, Brackett and many others range from the informative, to the moving, to the simply amazing. No one interested in twentieth-century pulp fiction, and the Lovecraft Circle in particular, will want to be without Jack’s book.”
— Ken Faig, Jr., editor, The Fossil

* * * * *

“John Koblas’s hallmark has always been exhaustive research. Koblas is a bulldog of a researcher.” —Dave Wood, former books editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune;
former vice president, National Books Critics Circle

* * * * *

John “Jack” Koblas has met the Great Old Ones and survived to tell the tale. Fortunately, these Antient Beings were authors and artists associated with the luridly enjoyable pulp magazines. Here are reminiscences and research to fill many a dark and stormy night for casual or dedicated fan. I was present during some of the meetings described in this entertaining volume and can only regret that my misspent life did not include more of these fascinating discussions.
Scott F. Wyatt
Northern Representative Fedogan & Bremer (Publishers)

* * * * *

The “Old Ones” of fantasy stories and of the Lovecraft Circle inspired the ghostly path for these haunting tales, a feat that would surely please them all. The circles under my eyes and my night light blazing are proof of Koblas’s awesome skill in keeping you up all night. Compelling, gripping and most of all fun, don’t miss this interesting journey.
— Kay Price, Sauk City, Wisconsin

* * * * *

Jack Koblas was my point of entry into the literary world of Donald Wandrei and Carl Jacobi. I’m certain that both old masters would be proud to see their young acolyte following so successfully in their foot-steps. — Dwayne Olson, Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

Bookmarks for 2011

I borrowed a couple of books from Robert Weinberg of Virgil Findlay’s illustations. I thought there would be something there to create new bookmarks — perhaps 4 per year? — and I was not disappointed. I plan to use them as premiums for book purchases from The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, and they will have a limited run changing every year.

In the process, I had the idea to share the two volumes with my friend John Robert Colombo, because he was in the process of republishing a volume of Supernatural Stories by Canadian authors titled “Not to be Taken at Night.” which will appear later this year. JRC found a number of suitable illustrations for the cover, and the one we decided on “The NIght Road.” Now this story was originally drawn to illustrate the story by August Derleth which appeared in the Weird Tales, May 1952. The story was subsequently collected in Dwellers in Darkness (1976, Arkham House) and again in Volume 2 of The Macabre Quarto in 2009. the the illustration was not included; in hind sight it would have been a good idea to collect all the original magazine illustrations fromt he magazine appearances for the stories in the Macabre Quarto; hind sight is always clearer than foresight! I also selected a striking image for the back cover titled “Other Worlds.”

On the facing page of the Virgil Fndlay volume was another illustration for “Sexton, Sexton, On the Wall” a story by August Derleth which appeared in Weird Tales, January 1953. this story subsequently appeared in Lonesone Places (1966, Akrham House) without an illustration.

Now I pose the quetion — How many other times did Virgil Finlay illustrate the work of August Derleth, and I will leave the answer to the readers of this post, and invite dialogue. I know VF illustrated “Roads” but although that was an Arkham House publication in 1948, it was written by Seabury Quinn.

I attach all three illustrations by VIrgil FInlay, as additiional eye candy for the reader.

 

A Christmas Card from Frank Utpatel

to August Derleth -- from Marion and Frank Utpatel

August Derleth sent and received many Christmas cards during his career as a writing, publisher and family man. Christmas cards have become almost an anachromism in today’s world of e-mail, cell phones, and camera phones; somehow they are old fashioned, and expensive with postage charges, and international rates. I called overseas today with a flat rate of 2 cents per minute. A Christmas card would cost a minumum of $1.07 with HST! whereas with a telephone you get immediate feedback, with the give and take of social interaction. Here’s a scan of a card that the Utpatel’s sent to August Derleth in the 1940’s.

 

Baker Street Irregular ARC

The advanced reading copy (ARC) of Baker Street Irregular by Jon Lellenberg is going to press today. Attached is the cover layout which features cover art by Laurie Fraser Manifold. The graphic design by Pat Visneskie of Volumes Publishing in Kitchener Ontario. The publication date is November 2010, and the edition itself will be produced by the Maple Press in York, PA. This is the first Arkham House Publication since 2006, and this is a book published under the M&M imprint.

Woody Hazelbaker in love and war

 

The Garden of Eden — Auggie and Eve

August Derleth’s  scrapbook contains many different interesting items, including some woodcuts by Frank Utpatel that I have not seen before. There are two of particular note which I have entitled “The Garden of Eden” and “Auggie and Eve.” I suspect the originals were produced in the 1940s when Frank was at his best. I have censored the latter not so much because it has a single pornographic overtone, but rather to stump the pirates on the internet from appropriateing it the whole and reusing it. These illustrations would make good content for the dustjacket of Annals of Walden West. This volume is long overdue, and August was working on it, at the time of his death. Peter Ruber started to assemble short pirces for the volume in the 1990’s. I received the manuscript directly from April, in 2002, and showed it at the Walden West Festival that year, misplaced it at the Freethinker’s Hall and retrieved it once again in 2004.

 

“Under the Darkling Sky”

Only the serious Holmes aficianodo will recognize this as a short quote from The Hound of the Baskervilles. In Florida, I made the final editorial changes to the manuscript, and finished the compilation of the index, and sent the print out to the author John Weber of Syracuse for his final perusal. This book is fully titled: Under the Darkling Sky: A Chrono-Geographic Odyssey through the Holmesian Canon. It should be ready for a conference in August in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The two pictures attached are Sunset on Dartmoor and the author at the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland. In passing, a trip to the Reichenbach Falls is the Sherlockian equivalent of a trip to Mecca — strange but true!