Thursday, June 16, 2016

Frank Frazetta on Barsoom and Pellucidar

Now here, my friends, is some wrap-around cover art. Behold the dust jacket for the Nelson Doubleday book club edition (1971) of The Gods of Mars / The Warlord of Mars, with painting by the peerless Frank Frazetta:


Fond though I am of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy covers, I must admit that most come off as amateurish; here, obviously, we are in the presence of a master. Being a geek, however, I must note that, like most Burroughs illustrators, Frazetta takes some liberties with the green Martians, making them look more human than Burroughs describes them.
Their eyes were set at the extreme sides of their heads a trifle above the center and protruded in such a manner that they could be directed either forward or back and also independently of each other, thus permitting this queer animal to look in any direction, or in two directions at once, without the necessity of turning the head. [A Princess of Mars]
On the other hand, those are some pretty awesome apes. It saddens me that I haven't yet come across a copy of A Princess of Mars in this line. However, as a consolation I do have the Nelson Doubleday book club edition (1972) of Thuvia, Maid of Mars / The Chessmen of Mars.

 
I hereby nominate this as the most glorious wrap-around cover painting ever. It's got it all. Lovely color scheme? Check. Dark sky with multiple satellites? Check. Fabulous retro-future city in the background? Check. Enormous, slavering monster? Check. Manly man defending scantily clad but relatively unconcerned princess from said beast with nothing but a saber? Double check. And the groovy font is just icing on the cake.

Then we have the 1974 edition of Swords of Mars / Synthetic Men of Mars:

 
No wrap-around painting here, but still beautiful.

Since we're on Frank Frazetta and Edgar Rice Burroughs, here's the cover to an Ace edition of At the Earth's Core:

 
And here's the cover to Tanar of Pellucidar:

 
I have some other* Burroughs editions with wrap-around covers, and plan to post a few in the not-so-distant future. In the meantime, enjoy my festival of Ballantine covers.

* I have something like four editions of most of the Mars books. And I'm likely to acquire more if no one stops me. Yes, I need help.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful work. It's almost impossible to believe covers like these were on every bookstore's shelves.

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