There is little written about the pulp cover artist Barye Phillips, no books dedicated to his work or his deft watery and fluid style, which is something of a shame considering he was known as “King of the Paperbacks” by his industry. His work marries a sleek sensuality with elements of the surreal and sinister to make for some of the standout covers of the pulp era.
Here are two of his covers used to launch the long running FANTASTIC pulp title. He only did two issues of this weird fiction pulp, and they stand as not just the best covers done for FANTASTIC but among the best and most striking of the medium and of Phillip’s work. His issue #3 cover art being noteworthy for being one of the earliest examples of a wraparound cover.
Sites where you can view additional Barye Phillips work:
Quick update on the FLASH GORDON Trilogy:
Just finished all three of the Flash Gordon serials. While I praised the first one FLASH GORDON (from 1936, renamed FLASH GORDON SPACE SOLDIERS), and was kind of luke-warm on the sequels (1938, 1940), I have to say re-watching the last two, they are rocky (dressed as Robin Hood’s Merry men in a Space Opera?? Really?), but you get past the shaky openings and they really get pretty darn good. Well the third one gets pretty darn good, the comedy bits of the 2nd one, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS MARS still do not work for me, and it is the weakest of the trilogy, lacking the sexiness or action/intensity of either the first one or the third one, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE.
But that last one, FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE, really builds to a kick-ass finale, every bit as good as the first film and a fitting end to the trilogy. A highly recommended box-set!
“You are born insane.” — STARSHIP TROOPERS II
Today’s selection is….
STARSHIP TROOPERS- The 2nd film (a straight to DVD entry) for this series, is a far better and more subversive and smart and entertaining film than the big-budget original. Think THE THING meets MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE with Big Alien creatures, and that final big ‘You think you have a destiny’ speech, is great writing. The screenplay is by Edward Neumeier, whose work I am unfamiliar with outside of this film.
While undeniably low budget, every time I watch this film, I like it more. This 2004 film is (as of this writing) the only feature directed by award winning visual artist Phil Tippett, and it is an intimate, well acted, and most of all well written film, with a subversive edge; and given the endless war cycle America is on, it unfortunately remains what the best of scifi always is… relevant to today. An unfairly underrated and maligned film (similar to how Carpenter’s 1982 film, THE THING, people weren’t able to appreciate when it first came out), that deserves a viewing. Grade:B+.
Kerry Conran’s SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW is one of the most sumptuous, imaginative and ground breaking films of all time.
That said I can see why it failed at the box office when released in 2004. The main issue is pacing. There is too much movie to comfortably sit through from beginning to end, and not feel the fat.
True to Conran’s initial impulse, the movie is very much a serial, and works better broken up in chunks, or perhaps enlivened by Chapter Breaks. Which makes it the perfect film for DVD, but not so much for the theatrical experience.
However in terms of visuals it very much deserves to be seen on the big screen. This is seemingly Conran’s first and only film, and what a film it is. One that shall only increase I think in import and prestige, much as the closing song says, ‘As time goes by’.
If you have never watched the film before, or watched it only once, I would say revisit it. I picked up the DVD for less than rental price, and around the third attempt I finally made it all the way through the film, including special features.
In a word… impressive. Try it for yourself!
“The sea is laughing. As though hell cackled from the mouth of an ass.”
OUT OF THE STORM by William Hope Hodgson
Courtesy of SFF Audio. Listen to it here! It is absolutely brilliant. This is the writer who inspired Lovecraft, and what Lovecraft learned from him (a man plagued by his own demons)… is clear…. and horrible.
David W of BadAzz Mofo, the publisher of the FANTASTIC BadAzz Mofo Magazine of the same name, also runs a way cool blog, that I need to visit more often.