Evolving tastes

I’m very particular about the usage of the word “evolve.” Probably because in politics it’s so often misused. Some scummy politician will hand-wave away a long-held “conviction” by claiming that he’s “evolved” on an issue.

“Nevermind what I told my constituents for 7 years and that I’m now up for reelection. My views on abortion have evolved!”

Too often there has been no actual growth, no improvement; just a shallow change of position born of political calculus. True evolution implies a gradual process and often a beneficial change. Example – a child doesn’t like broccoli, but as he ages his tastes evolve and he grows to tolerate or even enjoy the healthy green vegetable and maybe other once-repulsive weeds.

Similarly, I once found little attractive about the old classic SFF covers of Frank Frazetta and his ilk. For whatever reason, they just didn’t do it for me. I think a large part of it may have just been that they belonged to old, musty books in my basement. I had not yet been exposed to the high adventure of Robert E Howard or the excitement of Burroughs, and so there was no association there, no fondness.

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I’ve read similar accounts online, and it makes me wonder. Is it age and experience that’s brought an appreciation for the work of Roy Gerald Krenkel?

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Is it my familiarity with the weird tales depicted by Margaret Brundage that have made her illustrations more alluring?

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How large a part have the stories themselves played? Or is it just that I’ve gotten used to this particular style of artwork?

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Either way I’m glad that I’ve come to enjoy it. At first, when I was just getting acquainted with the old greats, I didn’t pay much attention to the cover art of the Conan stories. But now I see. There are many beautiful (though a lot of admittedly strange) pieces to be found among the collections of these older artists, and the joy of discovering new cover art has added to the pleasure of finding classic SFF books.

How about you, dear readers? Do you like this kind of art? If so, have you always, or did it grow on you?

-Bushi

bushi

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9 thoughts on “Evolving tastes

  1. That Pellucidar cover looks like it’s out of this week’s episode of Legends of Tomorrow. And what’s with the naked leprechaun and naked woman?

    I’ve learned to appreciate the craftsmanship that went into those old covers, and see them as part of a school rather than just as isolated images. When you see a run of them, you get a feel for what they are all about and how they fit the scene of the tie. Also, a lot of modern cover work is really graphic design, which when done well is a true art, but mostly isn’t done well at all, certainly with no mental or visual ‘stickiness’ to it.

    I do sometimes wonder if the lack of interesting cover art in general today is down to the lack of genuine, individual content. How do you visualize the plot of a book where all that happens is the protagonist sighing and staring out of a window?

    Like

    1. Haha yeah, the leprechaun and naked chick is a bit baffling. Apparently it was a pillow book of Frazetta’s. I wonder what the story behind it was!

      And you’re right, a lot of covers these days are lazy.

      Like

  2. The Pelluciador cover is so beautifully drawn. I really do miss these kinds of drawings. They just made you WANT to buy the books and read them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pc Bushi

    I like those covers that either use the Great masters, o rhave the poster influence ( not movie poster but the whole gamut that was popular from the Belle epoque to the end of WWII)

    xavier

    Liked by 1 person

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