Dedicated to the memory of K. H. Scheer and Walter Ernsting, who first gave us Perry Rhodan in 1961 and of Forrest J and Wendayne Ackerman, who first brought his adventures to the United States in 1969.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Art of Gray Morrow

Gray Morrow's iconic painting for
Perry Rhodan #50
Happy New Year!

I spent a couple of hours today exploring various of my favorite bloggers' blogrolls, just to see what new and interesting blogs I might come across, and I found one which, I'm sure, will be of interest to all fans of the American ACE editions of Perry Rhodan.  One of the most attractive features I remember drawing my eye to those paperbacks nigh on forty years ago was the striking art of Gray Morrow.  While, regrettably, very seldom having any specific relevance to the story contained within the pages of the Perry Rhodan volume which cover it graced, a Gray Morrow painting was guaranteed to grab the casual browser's attention and thus fulfill its primary purpose of selling the book.  His renditions of the main characters, Perry Rhodan (at left), Thora (from #70), and Khrest (from #91), to this day dominate my own mental images as I read through the early volumes of the saga.

Although I have not fully explored it, Shades of Gray:  An Internet Celebration of the Illustrative Art of Gray Morrow is, according to the opening post, "The Importance of Being Gray," devoted to maintaining a web presence for one of the truly great illustrators of both book covers and comic books during the the mid to later decades of the 20th century.  This it does by posting a variety of examples at the rate of one every few days over the past three years.

I do not have a wide enough historical and artistic perspective to properly assess the statement in that opening post that Morrow "toiled virtually unheralded in the industry for more than fifty years."  I do have a memory that Gray Morrow's distinctive, realistic style made him one of the earliest comic book artists whom I recognized, probably from work on various of the DC "mystery" titles that still thrived in the late 1960s to early 1970s.  The character -- besides Perry -- with whom I most identified Morrow was the western hero Vigilante based on a couple of short-lived back-up features in Adventure Comics #417 and #422 from 1972 and World's Finest Comics #245-248 from 1977, as celebrated here and here.

I have added Shades of Gray to my list of "Sources of Images and Other Information" at right.  I hope you find as much enjoyment browsing it as I have.

Cheers, and Ad Astra!