Sonntag, 24. März 2013

Beware the Beasts

“Beware the Beasts”
(A collection of stories as good as the cover is bad)
Edited by Vic Ghidalia and Roger Elwood
MacFadden-Bartell Books. 1970. $0.75
Cover art by Cover by “Jack Faragasso”

Cover Blurb:
“They dared invade the beast’s realm and saw things no human should ever see. Some of them even came back-seemingly alive…”

                                                                      My copy.

“Beware the Beasts” has the dubious honour of being the best collection of stories with the most inappropriate cover art and blurb. Look at the cover by “Jack Faragasso” you get the impression that this is a science fiction novel and not a collection of classic horror/monster stories. I have strong memories of buying “MB” and “Belmont2 books from the bargain bin at “Woolworths” back during the early 1970s. I even went and looked this up just to make sure that my memory wasn’t playing tricks. I mean, this was over 40 years ago. It turns out that even though my memory is in good working order, I still wasn’t 100% correct. It seems that during the early 70s and publisher named “Unibooks” sold reprints of “MB” and “Belmont” titles under their own imprint and sold them as instant remainders at such stores “Woolworths”, “Woolco” and “Grants”.  I used to love digging through the bargain bin at Woolworths and finding such good stuff as H.G. Wells titles and Ron Goulart’s “Space for Hire”.

 As I said in my insert beneath the title, “Beware the Beasts” is an outstanding collection of stories selected by Messrs. Ghidalia and Elwood with some of the worst packaging that I ever seen. At first glance and even at the 2nd, you get the strong impression that this is a SF novel. Only after opening it up and taking a look at the table of contents do you realize that this is actually collection of horror stories. And as an added bonus, almost half of the stories are reprinted from “Weird Tales” original incarnation! So let’s take a look at them there stories!

·         In the Avu Observatory by H. G. Wells
This is a nice little monster story by Mr. “War of the Worlds” Wells. An Astronomer working in an isolated Observatory on a mountain top above the jungles of Borneo receives an unexpected visitor one night in the form of a man sized bat “thing”. The story is fairly mundane and incredibly straight forward in its telling. What makes it such an entertaining story though, is Well’s description of the Astronomer’s “cat and mouse” struggles with the monster bat in the total darkness of the observatory’s dome after his lamp gets knocked over. Just the very idea of being trapped in the darkness with something that’s out to kill me gives me the willies. I want to bring to your attention that this is, in my opinion, is the weakest story in the book.  Which you should realize is not at all a bad thing, considering how enjoyable of a story this is! This puts the collection off to a good start which just keeps improving as you read along.

·         The Cats of Ulthar by H. P. Lovecraft
I love “The Cat’s of Ulthar” even though it’s been re-printed to death. This is one of HPL’s stories that was written during his “Lord Dunsany” phase and is one of his most popular. “Cats” is in Mr. Lovecraft’s “Dream Lands” and is one of my favourite “revenge” tales. An old couple hates all things feline and are responsible for all the cat disappearances in the village of “Ulthar”. Unfortunately for them though, they make their worst and last mistake when they “disappear” the kitten belonging to an orphaned “gypsy” child. This story manages to be simultaneously creepy, poetic and humorous.  You can also see here in the story that HPL genuinely loved cats.
So never ever forget that……
“It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the river Skai, no man may kill a cat; and this I can verily believe as I gaze upon him who sitteth purring before the fire. For the cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see. He is the soul of antique Aegyptus, and bearer of tales from forgotten cities in Meroë and Ophir. He is the kin of the jungle’s lords, and heir to the secrets of hoary and sinister Africa. The Sphinx is his cousin, and he speaks her language; but he is more ancient than the Sphinx, and remembers that which she hath forgotten.”
 The online text is HERE

·         Here, Daemos! by August Derleth
“Here, Daemos” is one of Mr. Derleth’s more effective stories. I’m almost willing to bet that this is a small homage to “M.R. James”. A small village in England receives a new Vicar. It’s seems that even though the village’s former minister was well loved, he wasn’t exactly a financial genius and the parish is all but broke. Mr. Webly, the new Vicar, being a very ambitious man and meant for better things, decides to remedy the situation with a wee bit of self righteous grave robbing. This of course would be for a good cause, or so he tells himself and his superiors. The grave in question belongs to a long dead Knight who was rumoured to be a black magician. Local legend says that he had been entombed with his entire treasure and a companion who was to act as guardian of the treasure. Some of the villagers believe that the Knight was buried with his faithful hound “Daemos” The legend also tells that the Knight’s hound was in reality his “familiar” who he always summoned to his side by calling “Here, Daemos!” so to make a long story short, the new vicar open the tomb to plunder it’s contents and afterwards “hilarity ensues”.  I have the impression that Mr. Derleth took a little bit more time to write this one.

·         The Hound by Fritz Leiber
During his career, the late Fritz Leiber wrote some of the most original horror stories ever published. I think his greatest concept was that modern metropolises and their collective psychic energies would create their own horrors and demons to replace those of the middle ages. “Smoke Ghost” “The Girl with the Hungry Eyes”and “Our Lady of Darkness” are probably his most famous examples using this theme. Leiber’s Chicago in this story is a dark, dreary, lonely and filthy place filled with annoymity and despair. A young man in a dead end job at a department store becomes haunted and pursued by the titular “Hound” and slowly starts to lose his mind. At first you suspect that the events are playing out entirely in his imagination. We slowly learn though that others around him are starting to notice the hound or at least traces of its existence. And being a “Fritz Leiber” story, these folks, sensing that something is terribly wrong,  they begin to distance themselves from him instead of offering him emotional support. The ending is pretty unusual in that the young man eventual learns that flight and resistance are futile, that there is no escape! He does though gain an allie/witness to his suffering and horror which even though he might be doomed does lessen his burden in that he isn’t alone with the horror anymore. Fritz Leiber was one of America’s greatest writers of weird tales even though he is mostly famous for his Science Fiction and Fantasy stories/novels. I have to say though that the combined atmosphere of doom, insanity, isolation and depression is so strong that I can’t honestly call the story enjoyable. It is definitely not an easy read. What I can say though, is that it is brilliantly written and disturbing as all hell.  

Mr. White’s “House of Nightmare” is one of my all time favourite horror/ghost stories. It’s so good that is was included in “The Century’s Best Horror Stories” published by “Cemetery Dance Press” and edited/selected by “John Pelan”. “The House of nightmare” was chosen as the entry for 1906. You didn’t misread that, “Nineteen-Oh-Six”! You can’t imagine when reading this story that it was actually published 107 years ago. This is one of those stories that shows that atmosphere can be everything. A motorist has an accident while coming down from some mountains. They aren’t named but something makes me think that they must be the Ozarks.  He goes looking for help and ends up spending the night in what seems to be a dilapidated farm house on the very edge of the woods. His host is a strange young boy with a hair lip who seems to be living all alone. During the night the narrator is visited in a vivid nightmare by what appears to be a monstrous hog which attempts to crush and devour him. Upon waking up he finds that the young boy is no where to be found. Giving up his search he walks to the next town to find a garage that can repair his auto. He tells of his stay at the abandoned farm where he learns of the house’s terribly past. This is a fantastic story. Even though you figure out pretty quickly what is going on, the atmosphere and descriptions are so incredibly that it’ll be a very long time before you forget the story! I dearly love this one.

·         The Mark of the Beast by Rudyard Kipling
A British officer desecrates a shrine in India and gets a curse put on him by a beggar/holy man. The guy has it coming since he broke a golden rule which is as valid today as it was in past centuries. This rule was even pounded into our heads during my time in the Army.  And it’s simply five little words.
“Don’t F##K with the Locals”!
This is a fun little tale that lets off some of the tension built up by the previous two stories.

·         The Squaw • (1893) by Bram Stoker
Stoker’s „The Squaw“, even with its completely non-PC title, holds a special place in my heart. I first came across it in an adaptation that appeared in an old issue of “Creepy” when I was a kid. The “Reed Crandall” art was deliciously appealing in it’s goriness. The other reason that it’s so special to me is that it takes place in Nuremberg and I’ve live here in Nuremberg as a civilian for the past 22 years and I was stationed here for 4 years during the 1980s with the “2nd ACR”.
A Brtish tourist accidentally kills a kitten while visiting the “Kaiserburg” in Nuremberg with friends. Later they are visiting the town’s famous medieval dungeon with its preserved torture chamber. Our tourist, having not learned his lesson, goofs around by posing inside of Nuremberg’s infamous “IronMaiden”. This is then the moment where momma cat makes her move. Being a British story I guess that you could simply say that this is all “bloody good fun”.

·         Metzengerstein • (1832) by Edgar Allan Poe
„Metzengerstein“is a Poe story that I never read before. I’m always surprised to rediscover how many of his stories hold up so well when compared to modern writing styles. A young spoiled count whose family has been feuding for centuries with their neighbours enjoys a great moment of “schadenfreude” when said neighbours stables burn down and the families head dies in the fire. A short time later the young count’s grooms find a stray horse carrying the markings of the neighbouring family. The neighbours deny all knowledge of this steed and the young man decides to keep it. He does notice that the horse bears a striking resemblance to one that is portrayed being ridden by an ancestor of the neighbour’s in a tapestry celebrating a military victory of his ancestors over the ancestors of his neighbours. It also happens that during this battle the ancestor was killed while riding the horse. Now here’s where the story falls apart for me. On the very same day that the live horse is found, the other horse vanishes from the tapestry.  The young counts only response to this mystery is to have the chamber contain the tapestry walled off. Of course the young man becomes obsessed with his new steed even though it never ceases trying to throw him. His obsession becomes so great that he gives up all contact with the outside world to spend all his time riding about his estate on this horse. Of course it all ends tragically. Except for the odd logic, this is a very good story that holds up after all these years. Good for you Mr. Poe!

·         The Tortoise-Shell Cat by Greye La Spina
Miss La Spina’s “Tortoise-Shell Cat” is an extremely entertaining tale of theft, love, loyalty, voodoo and a Were-Cat taking place as a preparatory school for wealthy young women down in Louisiana during the 1920s. This could have made a great supernatural “Nancy Drew” mystery if it wasn’t for the covert and casual racism that plays a major role in the attitudes of the characters good and bad in the story. It’s sadly that kind of racism that’s completely taken for granted and seems to be assumed that it’s the natural state of things. It’s not easy, but if you can accept it as a period piece and read it with a huge grain of salt, you will find it to be an interesting and suspenseful story. The racism isn’t mean spirited, it’s just some outmoded assumptions on relationships between the races that by today’s standards verge on pure idiocy. So don’t say I didn’t warn you.

·         The Wendigo • (1910) by Algernon Blackwood
“The Wendigo”, by Algernon Blackwood, ends this anthology on such a high note that if it had been placed first in the contents every story that came afterwards would have paled greatly in comparison regardless of how truly good they were.
Mr. Blackwood lived a very active and interesting life. He spent much time in the wilds of Canada and it shows here. His experience in the Canadian wilderness adds a depth of atmosphere and authenticity that is rarely seen in horror stories. This story had such a huge influence on H. P. Lovecraft that that it has been more or less officaly added to the “Cthulhu Mthos”. The “Wendigo” is a Native American demon/spirit/demon/elemental that is said to posses it’s victims and turn them into berserker cannibals. Blackwood’s “Wendigo” is not quite as gory as this, but it still makes for one hell o a frightening tales. A group of hunters and their guide are lured by their greed for a “big kill” ever deeper into the Canadian wilderness where they fall prey to the never shown, but ever present “Wendigo”. This is truly one of the finest horror stories ever written. This is another fine example of showing that what is not shown can be more terrifying that what is shown. Even though we never see the “Wendigo” it is still one of the greatest monsters ever portrayed on the printed page. It’s available to read on line. So if you consider yourself a genuine horror/weird tales fan and have never read this story then do it now or shame on you!

“Beware the Bests” is one of the better anthologies that I’ve read lately. It has a strongly focused theme and consists of very strong stories where even the weakest ones exceptional stories. It’s well worth getting if you can find an affordable cop some where.

That’s it for this time.
Thanks for stopping by.

Dienstag, 12. März 2013

Masters of Terror Vol.I: William Hope Hodgson

Masters of Terror Volume 1

William Hope Hodgson

Corgi Books 1977

                                                                      My copy.

William Hope Hodgson has, from the very beginning, been one of my favourite writers of the weird. When you read through this slim, quasi “best of” collection you’ll see how much influence he had on H. P. Lovecraft. It’s not fair to Mr. Hodgson, but many of his short stories could easily be described as “proto-Lovecraftian”.

Mr. Hodgson was not only an excellent writer of short horror stories; he was also a very successful novelist.  His most famous novels of horror and the fantastic were “The House on the Borderland”, “TheBoats of the “Glen Carrig”” and “The Night Land”. He also penned a series of stories about the supernatural investigator “Carnacki the Ghost Finder”. All of these stories and novels are in the public domain and are available on-line to read. They are also all still in print and available at Amazon! So do yourself a huge favour and look up some of these stories and novels. They are fun, readable and have held up amazingly well when you realize that this was all written before 1914!

Mr. Hodgson sadly died at a fairly young age when he found himself at the receiving end of a German Artillery shell in France during WWI. So we will never know how many more novels and stories he had in him still.

 Mr. Hodgson didn’t bother with mundane or traditional horrors such as Ghosts, Demons or other such supernatural horrors that are so common in Edwardian horror stories. Nope, Mr. Hodgson’s horrors are tentacled, slimy and squamous. Just the way Mr. Lovecraft liked ’em! The horrors in these stories may be unnatural, but never supernatural. They are all physical, if not terrifying and disgusting, tenants in our world. If Mr. Hodgson is famous for anything it would be more or less single handedly inventing the popular concept of the “Sargasso Sea”. That huge continent sized mass of sea weed floating out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. A huge seething mass that has trapped sailing ships through out all of history. That it also happens to be the home of numberless shapeless and slimy horrors that defy description just makes it that much more enjoyable.

Every story, except one, in this collection deals with these maritime horrors. If you find a copy heed my advice and space them out. They are all wonderful tales, but the plotting and setting lend them a sameness that blends them all together if you attempt to read them all, like I did, in one sitting.

Mr. Hodgson spent many years at sea when he was very young. And it’s this maritime experience that lends a strong sense of authenticity to his stories set at sea. I think he did take a few liberties though when describing the ship’s crewmen. In these stories they all come across as good, decent and brave men.  From what I’ve read of his own life , it seems that this is not actually the case as far as Mr. Hodgson’s experiences went.

I’m not going to go into to describing these stories this time. They have to be read to be believed. And lucky for you, they are all available online!

The collection opens up with Mr. Hodgson’s most famous story, “A Voice in the Night”. This is one of the first horror stories I ever read. I can vividly remember taking home a copy of “More Tales to Tremble By” from the library at “Johnny Clem Elementary School” back around 1970. The story, although bloodless, scared me out of a year’s growth and managed to give me a lif long fear/hatred of moldy things. I reread it last week and even though I’m 51 years old now, it still managed to be deliciously creepy! You’ll have to trust me on this. The story is so good that it was even filmed in Japan as “Matango, Fungus of Terror” aka “Attack of the Mushroom People”. You can find a few clips of this film on “Youtube”.

Here’s a typical passage describing one of Hodgson’s horrors….

 "But he never finished, for a tremendous hoarse scream cut off his words. They hove themselves round and looked. I could see without turning. The man who had run from us was standing in the waist of the ship, about a fathom from the starboard bulwarks. He was swaying from side to side, and screaming, in a dreadful fashion. He appeared to be trying to lift his feet, and the light from his swaying lantern showed an almost incredible sight. All about him the mould was in active movement. His feet had sunk out of sight. The stuff appeared to be lapping at his legs and abruptly his bare flesh showed. The hideous stuff had rent his trouser-leg away as if it were paper. He gave out a simply sickening scream, and, with a vast effort, wrenched one leg free. It was partly destroyed. The next instant he pitched face downward, and the stuff heaped itself upon him, as if it were actually alive, with a dreadful, severe life. It was simply infernal. The man had gone from sight. Where he had fallen was now a writhing, elongated mound, in constant and horrible increase, as the mould appeared to move towards it in strange ripples from all sides.“

Now, did that wet your appetitie? If it did, then search out these stories online or at your bookstore or library. I can honestly say that these are some of the finest stories of this sort that the genre has ever seen. And they are of course, of special interest to any serious fan of H.P. Lovecraft.

Well that it for this week.

Take care and thanks for stopping by!


Dienstag, 5. März 2013

A Converstion with Murray Tinkelman

                                      Mr. Tinkelman and his favorite cover!

Two weeks ago I had the great pleasure of speaking with Mr. Murray Tinkelman, the famous and award winning illustrator. This came about by my wanting to do something different for once in the blog. Mr. Tinkelman has been one of my favourite cover artists since the middle 1970s when he illustrated the front and inside covers for the Lovecraft and Lovecraft related titles for Ballantine books under the editorship of Judy Lynn del Rey. Anyone who is familiar with these editions will immediately recognize and appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of these editions. Mr. Tinkelman went on to do many more wonderful covers for such authors as Kurt Vonnegut, John Brunner, Richard Matheson, Zane Grey, Joe Haldeman and E. R. Eddison

Mr. Tinkelman grew up in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Upon graduating from High School of Industrial Arts he started working for the famous Iger Studios doing “touch up work” for other artists along with his best friend “Dick Giordano2. Mr. Tinkelman didn’t get along very well with Mr. Iger and moved on to greener pastures. His first professional sale was to “Seventeen Magazine”. This shows that even great artists like Mr. Tinkelman have to start somewhere. Since these humble beginnings Mr. Tinkelman has gone on to become one of the nations greatest Illustrators and respected artists. Here is a direct quote from his Studio’s home page…

“Murray Tinkelman is an award-winning artist who has won gold medals from the Society of Illustrators, The New York Art Directors Club and the Society of Publications Designers. His illustrations have appeared in a variety of publications such as Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Tinkelman has been commissioned by The National Park Service to do drawings and paintings of National Parks and Monuments and by The U.S. Air Force to be an artist-reporter on specific missions. He has had a one-man exhibit of his baseball art at The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York in 1994 and The United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama in 1995. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, the Delaware Art Museum, the International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum, and the New Britain Museum of American Art.
Tinkelman has been a guest curator for The Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and the Society of Illustrators, Museum of American Illustration in New York City.
Tinkelman has been named the recipient of the 1999 Distinguished Educator in the Arts award from the Society of Illustrators in New York. He has received the 1995 Sports Artist of the Year from The United States Sports Academy, the 1970 Artist of the Year award from The Graphic Arts Guild in New York City, and the 2001 Syracuse University Faculty Service Citation.
He is Professor Emeritus from Syracuse University where he taught in the undergraduate program and was the senior advisor in the Independent Study MA Program in Illustration for over 25 years from 1979 - 2006.

I have to make a confession now, up until two weeks ago I only knew Mr. Tinkelman as one of my favourite cover artists and nothing more! I actually had the Chutzpah to write to the man and ask him if he’d answer a few questions form the blog. I sent him a link to a previous post of mine covering his cover work for the HPL titles. He quickly responded to my email. He said that he didn’t like to type and he wouldn’t burden his wife with his correspondence. But I was free to call him at home. He then added his telephone number. I thought ok, this’ll be an interesting, since I had only originally planned on sending him a few simple questions. I then realized that I had better learn a little bit about the man if I was actually going to be audacious enough to actually impose on his time, kindness and generosity.

After reading up on Mr. Tinkelman’s (real) career, I was terrified to think that I had the nerve to impose upon such an important artist.  At first I thought of begging off.  But then after chewing over it, I then thought that I’d just express my admiration, ask a few simple questions and leave the man alone. So two weeks ago today I pulled my nerve together and called at the agreed upon time.

What I at first feared to be a humiliating experience turned into one of the most joyful, informative and entertaining 54 minutes of my life.  I quickly discovered that Mr. Tinkelman, to my great relief and pleasure, is an extremely warm, friendly, unpretentious and charming man!

Mr. Tinkelman asked me about myself and why I was interested in his work, which I explained. He told me that he never considered himself a “Cover Artist”. He explained that cover art allowed him the freedom to move onto to his actual artistic interests. He said that when he makes public appearances that he gets recognized by three groups of fans/admirers. Those who are interested in his art and illustration career, those who know him as a SF/Horror/Fantasy cover artist and those who admire his cover work on westerns.

Mr. Tinkelman loves 1950s autos, Baseball, the rodeo as inspiration for his western art and Gene Autry. He explained to me that there are two kinds of people in this world. They are “Gene Autry” people and “Roy Rogers” people. Because of my father, I’m a Roy Rogers person myself. Mr. Tinkelman was kind enough not to hold that against me though!
                      Mr. Steve "Doc Savage" Holland
I asked him about the HPL covers he did and he told me that he knew Lovecraft from his youth by reading his father’s copies of “Weird Tales Magazine”. He went on to tell me that he had been offered by “Ballantine Books” to illustrate the covers to Ballantine’s reissue of the Tarzan novels. Mr. Tinkelman didn’t feel that his style would be appropriate for the Tarzan novels and declined. This was a huge break for the famous comic’s artist “Neal Adams” since he ended up getting the assignment. I have to say, that even though I agree with Mr. Tinkelman, that his style might not fit the Tarzan novels, I would still have loved to have seen what he would have done. He then went on to tell me that just a day or so later he was approached by re-approached by Ian Summers to do the Lovecraft illustrations for Ballantine.

Mr. Tinkelman also told me of his time stationed in Germany with the army where he worked in Wurzburg as an illustrator painting welcome signs for officer’s wives and hand drawing cigar bands when officer’s children were born. I asked him how this was (this was during the Korean War) and he said that it was better than getting shot at. I can agree with 100%!

We then went on to discuss illustration in general and the decline of “Book Design”.

Mr. Tinkelman believes that the decline in the quality of book design can be mostly blamed on inexperienced art directors at the publishing houses. He told me that these days the position of “Art Director” is often considered to be an unimportant opening position that is filled by young inexperienced people and that it isn’t taken nearly as seriously as before. He also thinks that even though “narrative illustration” is much less in demand there is still plenty of wonderful work being done in “decorative illustration”. Mr. Tinkelman stated that, his good friend, the late Maurice Sendak also shared the opinion that quality book design had suffered greatly these last few decades.

                  Mr. Tinkelman's Original Cover                             The "Red sells" cover

Mr. Tinkelman told me two interesting stories regarding how Art Editors will meddle with and destroy fine book art. Mr. Tinkelman did the famous cover for Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”. This is lovely piece of art that draws your eye to the book that is done predominantly in shades of yellow. When “Dell Books” decided to reissue the novel, the art director decided that “red sells” and heavily cropped the art and placed a heavy red border around it. The second story involves Mr. Tinkelman’s continuing interest in book design and art. He told me that he still browses the SF section and the books stores. He came across a new edition of “John Brunner’s “Stand on Zanzibar”. “Random House” still owned the reprint rights to his cover art which allowed them to continue using it over the years. It seems that some “genius” in their art department decided to “improve” upon Mr. Tinkelman’s original art and completely butchered it into a horrible collage. Mr. Tinkelman was understandably angry enough that he wrote a letter to the art department at Random House asking them what they thought they were doing. And as a perfect example of how things are run these days, instead of explaining their decision, they just sent him a form letter referring any future inquiries to their legal department.  I can’t decide for myself what is worse in this situation, the ignorance, the hubris or the arrogance. 

      The Original cover                                           The Butchered late 80s cover

As I was doing my research/home work on Mr. Tinkelman’s art and career I came across his series of covers he did for some of the “Zane Grey” westerns. These were new to me and I was overjoyed to see that he was using “Steve Holland” as his model. Even if the name “Steve Holland” doesn’t mean anything to most people, millions of readers still know the man’s face, physique and torn shirt. Steve Holland is the man who was immortalized as the personification of “Doc Savage” on the famous “James Bama” paperback covers from the 1960s!!! It turns out the Mr. Tinkelman and Mr. Bama are good friends and that Mr. Tinkelman got to “borrow” Steve for the Zane Grey covers. Mr. Bama went on to become an admired and respected western and landscape painter. One funny note to this interesting piece of information is that when I informed Mr. Tinkelman that the original “torn shirt” worn by Mr. Holland had been auctioned off for a very high price, Mr. Tinkelman told me that he still owned the denim jacket worn by Mr. Holland in all those Zane Grey covers.

At one point during our conversation I told Mr. Tinkelman that the “Tinkelman Lovecrafts” bring much higher prices with collectors than the ”Michael Whelan Lovecrafts”. He just laughed and said “don’t let Michael know that!”

I’m going to wrap this up. I was so nervous and the beginning of our conversation and then so over joyed and enthralled that I forgot to take any notes while we were talking. As soon as we hung up I started jotting down notes like a mad man. So I’m sure I’ve left a few things out. Regardless, it was a wonderful hour spent with one of my idols who turned out to be so much more kind, generous and charming as I could ever have hoped for.

I am very much in Mr. Tinkelman’s debt and extremely thankful that he shared his precious time with me.

Thank you Murray from the bottom of my heart!


I’m going to add something here that I recently realized and I’m kicking myself for not bringing it up with Mr. Tinkelman.

Lastly, take a look at the books that Mr. Tinkelman worked on. Every single one of these books is still in print and considered classics in their fields. Mr. Tinkelman was chosen to represent the finest that these genres had to offer. This shows me how highly Mr.Tinkelman was held in the esteem of the publishing houses. They wanted the very best to represent the very best.

Mr. Tinkelman told me that he was once approached by Joe Haldeman, who told him that Mr. Tinkelman’s cover for “The Forever War” was his favourite cover from all the ones that ever appeared on his books.

Looking at the body of his work, and even though Mr. Tinkelman stated he didn’t consider himself a cover artist. I myself consider him a Grand Master of the field and the faces which he placed on these books greatly increased the reading experience of each one.

On a last note, I’ve just learned that Murray has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Kendall School of Art and Design in Grand Rapids Michigan and the he is also being inducted to the Illustrators Hall of Fame!!

Congratulations Murray!!

Thank you Mr. Tinkelman!

Take care and thanks for stopping by.