Sunday, October 24, 2010

Barry Traylor's Favorite WEIRD TALES Covers and Why

Barry Traylor is a long time science fiction and horror enthusiast, which makes him a also a die-hard WEIRD TALES fan. This is a man who's favorite holiday is Halloween; he starts the countdown to October 31 in August.

At WEIRD TALES, the cover art was an unusual and as boundary-crossing as the stories it printed. Here are Barry's favorite WEIRD TALES covers with his explanations.

February 1929 is on the list as it was the first one I acquired with a Hugh Rankin cover, plus it has The Star Stealers by Edmond Hamilton.

February 1933, because of the J. Allen St. John cover.

December 1933, because I love this Brundage cover and have since I first laid eyes upon it years ago. And it has the added advantage of not being a bondage cover (so it does not offend anyone). Also I like that it has no overprinting on the cover. I could be wrong but I think it is one of only two WT's like that. The other is the month before (Nov. 1933).

November 1941 is on the list because I just love skeletons on a pulp cover (not a shabby lineup of authors either).

July 1948. This is a Matt Fox and is the first Weird Tales I ever bought (from Richard H. Minter).

March 1948, just because I love this Lee Brown Coye cover.

May 1950. Boris Dolgov is a big favorite of mine and I love the composition and the colors in this one.

Thanks Barry for contributing. I really like the last two myself. Is the March 1948 a 25th anniversary special edition? Were the tales reprints from the first issue?

Next up: A link to three complete WEIRD TALES stories written by the master himself, H.P. Lovecraft. So you can really get in the mood for Halloween.

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Deka Black said...

The last cover is.. makes me feel uneasy? (when you are not calm). Don't know why. But is good. What surprise me is to know Otis Adelbert Kline published in Weird Tales.

Walker Martin said...

Excellent choices Barry. I'm glad you picked an early cover from the twenties because I couldn't make up my mind on which I liked. Of the 8 covers I picked there is only one that we both chose. But it should not be a surprise to have only one that we both liked because there were 274 covers!

You can't go wrong when you choose such great artists as J.Allen St.John, Margaret Brundage, Matt Fox, Boris Dolgov, Lee Brown Coye, and a skeleton cover(I almost picked this one also). Hope to see you Nov 6 at the big Bordentown, NJ convention(

Charles Gramlich said...

The Buccaneers of Venus is my favorite of these. Brundage was always good.

Barry Traylor said...

I should have mentioned at least one of the things that have fascinated me about the magazine is this tidbit . Robert Bloch killed off Lovecraft (first asking permission of HPL) in the story " The Shambler from the Stars". Lovecraft then returned the favor by killing off "Robert Blake" (Bloch) in the story "The Haunter of the Dark". Weird Tales published so many fine stories by so many fine writers that most likely would never had found a home if not for Weird Tales aka The Unique Magazine.
Another story a bit more personal, in 1963 I began working at Lancaster Press and one of the proofreaders was a man by the name of Karl Butz. When I began collecting Weird Tales in the early 1970's I saw a letter in The Eyrie by a Karl Butz, Lancaster PA.
It was the very same man!
Also my Mother almost fainted when she learned what I paid for a 1929 issue she recognized. Turned out she read them in the late 1920's When I asked what happened to them she replied "we just tossed them after we had read them".
Good Grief! She hung onto just about everything else.

Barry Traylor said...

Also should mention that my brain was warped very early in life (around the age of ten) when I discovered the works of Edgar Allan Poe in the adult section of the public library. Thank goodness for the kindness of that librarian that let me take out whatever I wanted. So I suppose I was already infected by the Weird Gene when I bought my very first Weird Tales. Or perhaps it was all Mom's fault. Not sure if she understood when I thanked her.

Ron Scheer said...

A comment on Barry Taylor's last note: Poe and every other writer of "classic" literature is now on the YA shelves at my local branch of the public library...As for the covers, most of these would have given me nightmares if I'd seen them as a child. Ha.