An Artist’s Artist : The 1952 FANTASTIC pulp covers of Barye Philips

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.

Fantastic_1952_3

435px-Fantastic_1952_Summer_front

Sites where you can view additional Barye Phillips work:
http://www.pulpinternational.com/pulp/keyword/Barye+Phillips.html
http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/barye-phillips
http://www.thrillingdetective.com/trivia/triv277.html

Advertisements

Classic SPICY DETECTIVE Covers!!

As any casual visitor to this blog knows I’m a huge pulp fiction fan, so I’m always on the lookout for vintage or new age pulp covers that grab me. Under the heading risque Vintage Pulp Fiction covers comes the following selection of classic, caustic, and even calamitous covers from the defunct but rightly named SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES.

Take a gander and enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And if you’d actually like to read one of these stories (A Norvell Page!!) go here.

MONARCHS OF MAYHEM: AN INTERVIEW WITH DERRICK FERGUSON


“Fortune nodded pleasantly at those who acknowledged his presence. There were many who did not. A significant number of who had enjoyed the hospitality of Fortune’s gambling ship and had drunk champagne with him and laughed at his jokes. But here, they looked right through him as though he simply were not there.

Fortune wasn’t offended. Despite his wealth, his obvious culture and intelligence, he was still a Negro and therefore, even though his wealth afforded him access into company such as this, he would never be truly accepted by them.

And showing up at a function such as this, even though he was invited…well, most here would treat him as a novelty and others as a bounder. And as for having a white woman on his arm…there were some here in their finery and jewels and aristocratic bearing who cheerfully would have hung Fortune from the nearest tree for such an insult to their delicate sensibilities. But the bottom line was this: he was providing them a service. An outlet to indulge themselves at night but deny in the light of day. And providing that service discreetly was armor more protective than any forged by the finest of iron workers.”
The Adventures of Fortune McCall

Derrick Ferguson hails from Brooklyn, NY which as all right thinking people know is the true and proper Center Of The Universe. The son of Leroy and Corine Ferguson, he was introduced by them to movies and books which soon became the twin passions that ignited his desire to tell stories of his own. Inspired to become a rule-breaking writer, he dedicated himself to learning the rules so that he might break them more fully and artistically. Derrick’s manic obsessions are carefully monitored by his wife, Patricia.–Bio


What impresses me about Derrick Ferguson is just the broadness of his interests and passions, and how all of that informs his work.

With interests that range from old radio shows to classic pulps to comic books to science fiction to movies, as well as being a pioneer in the fields of pod-casting (as co-host of the fun film pod-cast BETTER IN THE DARK with Thomas Deja) and E-books, Derrick Ferguson is a writer and creator who combines the best of the old, with the sophistication of the new.

And I was honored to have him consent to the following. He is a wealth of knowledge, and it all comes across in the great answers provided below. Check the links as he gives a clinic on great writers, books, and films for you to search out and get. Enjoy!!

“Written in the fashion of the classic pulp novels made popular by characters such as Doc Savage and The Shadow, author Derrick Ferguson has created a new adventure hero whose toughness and bravado will be long remembered after you finish reading this book.”- GOOD READS on the Dillon Books

HT: What is your favorite genre or genres?
DF: Well, quite naturally, given the stuff I write my favorite genre is pulp action adventure. I’m also a lover of science fiction, western and detective/spy fiction.

HT: What is the favorite thing you’ve written?
DF: Right now I’d have to say that “Dillon and The Judas Chalice” which is in the anthology FOUR BULLETS FOR DILLON is my current favorite. I’m usually not entirely satisfied with my work but that story I point to with pride and say without any hesitation that it’s a damn good story.
Four Bullets for Dillon

HT: Name 5 classic or genre writers who inspire or impress or influence you?
DF: Lester Dent. Robert R. McCammon. Charles Saunders. George C. Chesbro. Robert E. Howard.

[Lester Dent created and wrote pulp hero DOC SAVAGE, some books by or about him are:

The Revised Complete Chronology of Bronze

Doc Savage Omnibus, Vol. 1: The All-White Elf / the Running Skeletons / the Angry Canary / The Swooning Lady

Honey in his Mouth (Hard Case Crime)

George C. Chesbro is known for:
Shadow of a Broken Man

And for more Charles Saunders greatness see our coverage here!— HT]

HT: Name some current or new writers, whose work you’ve recently read or discovered that impressed you.
DF: Wayne Reinagle: He’s emerged as one of the truly distinctive voices of New Pulp. He writes truly epic stories spanning generations of adventure. He writes the New Pulp equivalent of “Gone With The Wind” and as good as the books he’s already written are, I believe that he’s got even better books ahead.

Paul Bishop and Mel Odom: These two gentlemen are singlehandedly bringing back the boxing pulp genre with the FIGHT CARD series. When most people think of Pulp, they think of characters such as Doc Savage, The Spider, Conan or The Phantom Detective. But a multitude of genres came under the umbrella of pulp adventure and boxing pulp was one of the most popular.

Milton Davis: a writer and editor of enormous drive, talent and passion who I feel is the natural successor to Charles Saunders in the field of Sword and Soul. For those of you who don’t know, Sword and Soul is heroic fantasy fiction based on African culture, history and mythology. In recent years Milton Davis has been tireless in expanding this genre and bringing it to mainstream attention.

Meji Book One
Meji Book Two
Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology

Valjeanne Jeffers: she’s an important voice that has brought me back to reading science fiction which I’ve been neglecting for some time now. But her work isn’t just science fiction. She blends fantasy and horror in a wonderful mixture of truly well-written and compelling prose.
Immortal

HT: Going along with the above name an author or authors (either new or old) who you think don’t get the attention they deserve, and everyone should be reading?

DF: Robert R. McCammon has never gotten the credit he deserves. He is quite simply one of the most amazing writers I’ve ever read. His SWAN SONG is easily just as good as Stephen King’s THE STAND. STINGER is a book I’d have sold a kidney to be able to write. And THE WOLF’S HOUR is one of the best pulp adventures written in the past fifty years.

Swan Song
Stinger
The Wolf’s Hour

George C. Chesbro is a writer who through his own work which blends the hardboiled detective/spy genre with mysticism, science fiction, mystery, martial arts and the supernatural taught me not to be afraid of mixing genres together.

Charles Saunders is a creative powerhouse that I frankly am in awe of. His IMARO series should be required reading for anybody who wants to write heroic fantasy/sword-and sorcery.

HT: Name 2 or 3 of your favorite horror short stories.
DF: Robert E. Howard’s “Pigeons From Hell”
Stephen King’s “The Jaunt”
Ray Bardbury’s “Mars Is Heaven”

HT:Name 5 Favorite films, horror or otherwise.
DF: I’ll give you my five favorite horror films first:
“House on Haunted Hill” (1959)
“The Haunting”
“Night of The Hunter”
“Angel Heart”
“Phantasm”

And here’s my five favorite films. At least for right now. Ask me the same question a couple of days from now and you’ll probably get a completely different list. Here goes:
“The Ten Commandments”
“Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom”
“Once Upon a Time In The West”
“Blazing Saddles”
“Jackie Brown”

HT: What do you think can or should be done to get more writers producing genre fiction?
DF: First and foremost, writers should write whatever they feel compelled or driven to write. To do otherwise would not be true to the desire of their particular creative muse. And there is a considerable number of writers… who are producing genre fiction. It’s just that readers aren’t reading it. And that’s not an indictment against readers at all. Money is tight and times is even tighter. Writers… are struggling against other forms of entertainment such as video games, the Internet, cable/satellite TV with 500 channels, Netflix, Hulu… you get my point.

HT: And finally in closing with a little less than 11 months left in 2012, what are you looking forward to?
DF: Sleeping less and writing more.


I want to thank Derrick Ferguson for some excellent insight into the medium, and introducing myself and others to voices we might otherwise have missed. And please show your support as well, by using the links and treating yourself to some great films and books including the following:

Dillon and the Voice of Odin

The Adventures of Fortune McCall

Dillon and the Legend of the Golden Bell

On HP Lovecraft, HAUNTER OF THE DARK and The Melancholy of All Men

I’m not a fan of HP Lovecraft. I’ve read several of his short stories, listened to several more via audio dramas, and while the cult of Lovecraft is strong, and I appreciate his dark ramblings, I’m not particularly a fan of them.

I’m far more fond of the work of some of his contemporaries such as Clark Ashton Smith, MR James and particularly H Russell Wakefield.

And this goes beyond Lovecraft being a product of his manifest destiny upbringing, his work judged on its own… largely drones on me. He has a tendency to ‘talk’ his stories into repetitive circles, perhaps feeding his love for litany and language, at the expense of momentum and a story. And perhaps even simpler, as a pulp writer, paid by the word, padding the story was not out of the realm of his possibility or his purpose.

Whatever the truth his stories to differing extents, are perhaps not the better for their length. HAUNTER OF THE DARK being an example. The most interesting thing about the story is the 4 line poem that opens it.

I have seen the Dark Universe Yawning
Where the Black Planets roll without aim
Where they roll in their horror unheeded
Without knowledge, or luster, or name
… From the opening of THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK

That’s a great opening, unfortunately the story fails to be worthy of it.

I consider myself a person with some patience, and appreciation for the setting of mood. As I said I’m a fan of some of Lovecraft’s contemporaries, and even a few of Lovecraft’s own stories (The Outsider comes to mind), but the HAUNTER OF THE DARK showcases the over stylization that hinders rather than helps the world Lovecraft is trying to create. He can take 10 sentences to say “Blake ran out of the building”, and if you’re enriched by those 10 sentences that’s fine, but largely it’s a repetition of ten sentences he used to describe his protagonist walking into the building.

His erudition, taken to such extremes… is by definition pedantic. And as such his work can be far from compelling.

But at moments, in small doses, his work rises above the minutiae of the man, to be something not unlike… a window onto the melancholy of all men.