Sunday, February 15, 2015

Italian Cover Artist...Mario Caria

Mario Caria studied at the School of Decorative Arts in Rome, before taking his first steps as an illustrator designing sets for the "Paradiso and Favalli"  film studio. The young artist then drew covers for Polar Books and various movie stills, as well as several posters for the 1960 Olympics Games. In 1962, he worked for the Nerbini comic series "Avventura West" and created his one and only own comic in 1963: "I Fratelli Senza Paura" (“Brothers Without Fear”), a Western story written by Emilio Fanelli. But Caria's best remembered for his work with publisher Fratelli Spada, as their most prolific cover artist. He produced hundreds of covers in the 1960's and 1970's, that appeared not only in Italy, but reprinted around the world. Star Trek, The Phantom, Brick Bradford, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant , and Mandrake, were just a few of the popular characters he painted monthly. Mario was renowned for producing dynamic action scenes by only a simple phone call with an editor, able to capture the exact  image for a cover. With that simple format, he illustrated  around 40 covers per month. Once leaving publisher Fratelli Spada, Mario Caria worked for numerous Italian editors (both in books and comics as well as television magazines) until the early nineties. Outside print, he returned to Dino de Laurentis Studios drawing scenery for the sets. In 1992, an auction sale of his original works - mainly composed of his Fratelli Spada covers - was organized at Christie's offices in Rome, recognizing the value of his outstanding work over his many years as an illustrator.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Pulp Covers from the Past!

Pulp magazines (often referred to as "the pulps") are inexpensive fiction magazines that were published from 1896 through the 1950s. The term pulp derives from the cheap wood pulp paper on which the magazines were printed with ragged untrimmed edges; in contrast, magazines printed on higher quality paper were called "glossies" or "slicks". The typical pulp magazine had 128 pages filled with lurid or exploitative stories  and sensational cover art. Pulp covers were printed in color on higher-quality (slick) paper. They were famous for their half-dressed damsels in distress, usually awaiting a rescuing hero. Cover art played a major part in the marketing of pulp magazines. Many artists specialized in creating covers mainly for the pulps; a number of the most successful cover artists became as popular as the authors featured on the interior pages. Among the most famous pulp artists were Walter Baumhofer, Earle K. Bergey, Margaret Brundage, Bruce Minney, Mort Kunstler, Edd Cartier, Virgil Finlay, Frank R. Paul, Norman Saunders, Nick Eggenhofer, (who specialized in Western illustrations), Hugh J. Ward, George Rozen, and Rudolph Belarski. Covers were important enough to sales that sometimes they would be designed first; authors would then be shown the cover art and asked to write a story to match. So enjoy some of these sensational examples from the golden age of pulp fiction.



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Esteban Maroto's "Buried Pleasure"

I thought I'd end the year with this captivating and detailed pirate tale by the talented Spanish artist, Esteban Maroto. It features ten dynamic pages of swashbuckling action. The complete story is a wonderful example of Maroto's moody work. It includes a fantastic full page title splash and a "creepy" sexy vampire finale page. Maroto was no stranger to fantasy and horror, having worked heavily in the genres within CreepyEerieSavage Tales as well as other Warren and Marvel magazine format titles. But don't take my word for it enjoy this tale entitled "Buried Pleasure" published in Creepy #49 in 1972...



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Direct Currents: Ultra The Multi-Alien

With his first appearance in DC Comics Mystery in Space #103 for November of 1965,Ultra the Multi-Alien pushed out both long-time space heroes Adam Strange and Space Ranger from that anthology title. Created by writer Dave Wood and artist Lee Elias, Ultra was originally Earth spaceman Ace Arn, living in an future era when spaceflight was commonplace. After crash landing on a planet in a far off solar system, he was attacked by four aliens, each a member of a different species from their respective planets Ulla, Laroo, Trago, and Raagan. The four aliens simultaneously shot him with ray guns designed to transform him into an obedient member of their respective species. Because all four rays hit him at the same time, he was instead transformed into a combination of the four aliens, but free of their control. The upper right section of his body grew green fur and gained super strength; the upper left section turned blue and gained magnetic powers; his right leg grew feathers and small wings, giving him the ability to fly; and his left leg was transformed into a bolt of lightning. He combined the first letter of the worlds the four aliens were from, along with the first letter of his name to come up with: U-L-T-R-A, his new name. He soon finds a device to convert back to human form, giving him a secret identity. His series lasted until issue #110, September of 1966, when Mystery in Space was cancelled. He would not reappear for several years again in the DC Universe and occasionally pops up in titles still today.