This week on Rediscovered Realms, we’re going old-OLD school to look at some badass fantasy illustrations from a bygone era. If you’re like me, you can enjoy fantasy artwork from any place and from any time. Welcome to an actual copy of “Famous Fantastic Mysteries”
Great issue. Lots of info! Thanks for the mention ad well! :)
Virgil Finlay, like N.C. Wyeth, Hal Foster, and Russ Heath, is one of the great American artists. It is quite a shame that the Pop Art movement ended up celebrating the people who ripped off master artists rather than serving as a reminder to Americans of how rich their artistic tradition is. We recognized the value of commercial art with the Art Nouveau movement. Mucha was a commercial artist, and we celebrate his posters of Sarah Bernhardt, but sadly were unable to recognize it in so many of our other illustrators.
I first encountered Finlay when I got my hands on a copy of Sprague De Camp's Swords & Sorcery (1963) Anthology as a teen. He's like the Walter Gibson of illustration.
I had heard of Virgil Finlay, but hadn't looked at his art much. I need to look more into his work.
Same here. Virgil Finlay seems to have been a big inspiration to many of the artists who came right after him. I've had an issue of Illustration Magazine sitting around which has an article about him - your comment made me take it out to flip through it - very well done.
He produced over 2700 pieces for magazines and books, working over 12 hours/day, was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2012, and was known for his monsters, beautiful women, and insanely accurate stippling.
-> He wiped the pen tip after EVERY ink dot was applied, before EACH dip of the pen!
The article also states "most pulp artists of the day produced their originals at 1.5 times the size they would appear in the magazines. Their artwork was then photomechanically reduced to fit the page. By contrast, Virgil Finlay did this work "to size" with either scratchboard, pen, or pencil. The originals were made at the exact size that they would appear in reproduction, they were not reduced for print."
He met many famous personalities of his day and sounds like he had a bunch of interesting life experiences.
This just whets my appetite to learn more about him! Thanks for commenting and forcing my hand, @RETROIST !
Nice find. I'm a big fan of the pulp magazines from the 30s and 40s. I tend to prefer the historical tales from Argosy and Adventure and the like, particularly Harold Lamb. And of course the REH crusader tales.
I wonder if the magazine is available on the internet archive or manybooks. I would like to read the Olaf tale.