Friday, September 30, 2016

Hyang Ro Kim (b. ?)

Ro H. Kim
Artist, Portraitist, Illustrator, Teacher
Born ?, Republic of Korea

There were only two issues of the Bellerophon Network's version of Weird Tales and only two covers. The Korean-American artist Ro H. Kim created both. The Winter 1985 issue called him Hyang Ro Kim, but Mr. Kim clearly signed his cover art as "Ro H. Kim." That same issue wrote of him:
Mr. Kim is revered as one of the top portrait and scenery painters in Hollywood, having been commissioned for his portrait work by names such as George C. Scott, Judy and Diana Canova, and the late William Holden. Mr. Kim's work is best known by millions of television viewers on the evening soap, "Dallas." [p. 21]
In becoming an artist to stars, celebrities, and presidents, Ro Kim has come a long way. Growing up in Poahung, South Korea, he drew pictures on toilet paper because that was his only available medium. His parents wanted him to be something other than an artist. Instead, Mr. Kim came to America in 1972 and set about his chosen career. Since then, he has become a very successful artist and especially a painter of portraits. His two covers for Weird Tales are in fact portraits. Brinke Stevens appeared on the front of the Fall 1984 issue. Texas-born dancer, model, and actress Jacqueline Pulliam was the subject of the Winter 1985 cover. Ro Kim also created the cover for Lon of 1000 Faces! by Forrest J Ackerman, et al. (1983). You can see images of Mr. Kim and created by Mr. Kim at his website, Ro Kim Art, at http://www.rokimart.com/home.

Ro H. Kim's Covers for Weird Tales
Fall 1984
Winter 1985

Further Reading

Weird Tales, Fall 1984, with cover art by Ro H. Kim showing model and actress Brinke Stevens.

Weird Tales, Winter 1985, with cover art by Mr. Kim. This time his model was Jacqueline Pulliam

According to James van Hise in Locus #308 (Sept. 1986), Mr. Kim's cover for the Winter 1985 issue was a swipe from a Victoria's Secret catalogue. After seeing photocopies of the two Bellerophon issues, very generously provided to me by publisher Brian L. Forbes, I have to admit to a little confusion. Jacqueline Pulliam, the model for this cover, was associated with Bellerophon and Weird Tales: a photograph of her appears inside on the editor's page (Winter 1985, p. 21), and she modeled Weird Tales nightshirts in a couple of advertisements (Fall 1984, p. 37, and Winter 1985, p. 49, both with Brinke Stevens). I can't say whether the woman in the photograph on the right above is Ms. Pulliam. It doesn't look like Ms. Pulliam to me, but I can't say for sure. But if that is she, then maybe the same person was a model for both images shown here. More likely, it seems to me that Mr. Kim, who freely works from photographs, used an image from a Victoria's Secret catalogue and perhaps a photograph of Jacqueline Pulliam to create his cover. In any case, you can read Mr. van Hise's full article, "Weird Lingerie Tales," at this URL:

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Bruce David-A Speculation

On July 4, 2016, I wrote the introduction to this series on the art and artists of the Bellerophon issues of Weird Tales from 1984-1985. I have moved through the categories of art reprinted from other sources (Clare Angell, Edd Cartier, and Rod Ruth) and art reprinted from previous issues of Weird Tales. I will leave a few names in the latter category--Joseph R. Eberle, Jr., Virgil Finlay, and Frank Utpatel--for another day. Instead, I would like to move on to the five names in the category of artists new to Weird Tales with the Bellerophon issues. First is Bruce David. And what I have written here is based on the speculation that the Bruce David about whom I write is the same Bruce David who contributed to the magazine. I can say at least that it is a speculation with a little force.

Bruce David
Journalist, Writer, Editor, Cartoonist, Screenwriter
Born 1941
Died June 17, 2016, presumably in Los Angeles, California

Bruce David was born in 1941 and served in the U.S. Army, in Germany and elsewhere. When he and his sister graduated from college, she asked him what he would like to do with his life. "[B]asically because I'm a shallow person," he remembered, "I said[,] '[U]ltimately I'd like to be the editor at Playboy magazine'." (1) David didn't quite make it to Playboy. Instead, he worked for Hustler for nearly forty years. Publisher Larry Flynt remembered how David arrived at Hustler:
Bruce was working for Screw and wrote a review of the very first issue of Hustler back in 1974. He said, "The new men's upstart, Hustler, has just nudged out Refrigerator Monthly as the most boring publication in America." So I called him up. I told him, "I love your review. And I agree with you, by the way. Why don't you come to Columbus and help us out." He worked for Larry Flynt Publications for nearly four decades. He was stubborn, arrogant . . . very creative. He was Bruce." (1)
Before going to work for Mr. Flynt, Bruce David wrote for Screw and Penthouse, was founding art director of Andy Warhol's Interview magazine, and produced and sometimes co-hosted a television show called Midnight Blue in New York City. David returned to television in the mid 1980s with scripts for Family Ties, ALF, Mr. Sunshine, and MacGyver. He was a fan of science fiction and was interested in UFOs and mythology. "I came up through the underground press," David said, and that influence showed in his comic strips, including S.M.O.G., which appeared in Weird Tales in 1984-1985. (3) Although I have not seen every issue of Weird Tales (far from it), I think it pretty likely that S.M.O.G. was the only comic strip ever to appear in the magazine.

Bruce David retired from Larry Flynt Publications in about 2013 and died this year, on June 17, 2016, presumably in Los Angeles, at age seventy-five. He was well remembered at his death and is keenly missed by those who knew him.

Notes
(1) Quoted in "Interview with Bruce David" by Bruce David in Genetic Strands, November 3, 2008, originally in Hump magazine in the 1990s, here.
(2) Quoted in "Hustler Editorial Director Bruce David Passes Away" by Ariana Rodriguez in XBiz: The Industry Source, June 21, 2016, here.
(3) Quoted in "Interview with Bruce David."

Bruce David's Comic Strip S.M.O.G. in Weird Tales
Two installments each in the issues of Fall 1984 and Winter 1985

Further Reading
The sources shown above in the notes; "Former Hustler Editorial Director Bruce David Passes" by Mark Kernes in AVN, June 21, 2016, here; and other sources easily found on the Internet.

S.M.O.G., Bruce David's comic strip about a man who immerses himself in a sensory deprivation chamber in order to face his fears, from Weird Tales, Winter 1985, page 87.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Fred Humiston (1902-1976)

Commercial Artist, Illustrator, Writer, Author, Local Historian
Born July 20, 1902, Jersey City, New Jersey
Died March 27, 1976, Portland, Maine

Frederick S. Humiston, Jr., was born on July 20, 1902, in Jersey City, New Jersey, and grew up in Hillsdale, New Jersey. He graduated from Hillsdale High School in 1920 and went to work as a commercial artist at the Vitaphone Company in New York City. The young artist's uncle, Walter J. Rich, was president of Vitaphone at the time, and the company was engaged in developing sound for movies during the 1920s. In 1922, Humiston's parents purchased the Hotel Riverside in Popham, Maine. For many years afterwards, the family alternated between Maine and New Jersey, then between residence at the hotel and a house in Popham. After the deaths of his parents in the early 1940s, Humiston sold the hotel but still alternated between homes in Maine and New Jersey. He finally settled in Portland, Maine, where he wrote stories and drew pictures for the Portland Herald Press. He also wrote and illustrated Blue Water Men and Women, published in 1965.

Fred Humiston created illustrations for Weird Tales beginning with "The Crowd" by Ray Bradbury in May 1943 and ending with the poem "Suspicion" by Harriet A. Bradfield in November 1953. One of those illustrations was reprinted in the magazine in the Winter 1985 issue. Humiston also contributed to Short Stories, including a cover for the November 10, 1947, issue (shown below).

Fred Humiston died on March 27, 1976, in Portland, Maine, at age seventy-three.

Fred Humiston's Illustrations in Weird Tales
See the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, here, for a full listing.

Further Reading
See David Saunders' Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists, here, for a more full biography of Fred Humiston. My article is merely a condensed version of his, and I am entirely indebted to Mr. Saunders.


Text copyright 2016 by Terence E. Hanley and based entirely on the research of David Saunders.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Hannes Bok (1914-1964)

NĂ© Wayne Francis Woodard
Aka Hans Bok
Artist, Author, Illustrator, Poet, Astrologer/Occultist
Born July 2, 1914, Kansas City, Missouri
Died April 11, 1964, New York, New York

There has been much written about Hannes Bok. Just two weeks ago, I wrote about him myself in my posting on his friend and sometime collaborator Boris Dolgov. (You can read what I wrote by clicking here.) I won't go over too much of what has been written on Bok, but I would like to offer information specific to his contributions to Weird Tales.

Hannes Bok was born Wayne Francis Woodard on July 2, 1914, in Kansas City, Missouri. His father, Irving Ingalls Woodard (1888-1975), was an insurance salesman. That might explain the itinerant lifestyle of the Woodard family. In 1920, they were in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1930, in Duluth. Wayne Woodard graduated from Duluth High School in 1932 and departed for Seattle, according to Wikipedia to live with his mother, Carolyn Bantiz Woodard. According to that same source, Wayne Woodard was estranged from his father. His problems in life--sexual, personal, professional, spiritual, and otherwise--suggest an unhealthy or dysfunctional family life early on.

In 1937 or 1938, Woodard moved to Los Angeles and became associated with the science fiction scene there. He was friends with Emil Petaja, Ray Bradbury, Forrest J Ackerman, and others. In 1938, he returned to Seattle and worked for the WPA painting murals. His artist contacts in that city included Morris Graves (1910-2001) and Mark Tobey (1890-1976). Assuming the name Hans or Hannes Bok, Woodard moved to New York City in December 1939, the same month in which his first cover and interior illustrations appeared in Weird Tales. Bok would remain in that city for the rest of his too-brief life. Again, he was in contact with others engaged in writing and illustrating science fiction and fantasy. Towards the end of his life, he seems to have lost contact with many of them. If that was the case, it was probably owed in no small part to his peculiarities and his difficulties with personal relationships.

Hannes Bok created seven cover illustrations for Weird Tales. One, for the issue of July 1941, very likely includes a self-portrait. His interior illustrations for the magazine numbered in the dozens and include collaborations with Boris Dolgov, which were attributed to "Dolbokov." Bok's first interior illustrations were for "Nymph of Darkness" by C.L. Moore and Forrest J Ackerman and "Escape from Tomorrow" by Frank Belknap Long, Jr., in December 1939. The last was for "Brenda" by Margaret St. Clair in March 1954. Bok also created the headings for the interior main title and for the Weird Tales Club feature.

Bok was multitalented and wrote five stories for the original Weird Tales, plus one story published in the paperback editions of the 1980s and a poem published in July 1944 (in collaboration with an author named Nichol). Bok's contributions to Weird Tales tailed off in the mid to late 1940s, but he remained very active in fantasy and science fiction into the 1950s. Curiously, his last interior illustrations and among his last cover illustrations in those fields came in 1957, well before his death. By then, Bok was in decline, separated from former friends and acquaintances and living in poverty so extreme that his teeth had rotted, his dentures had fallen apart, and his diet consisted of the simplest of fare. Hannes Bok died alone in his apartment, either of a heart attack or starvation, on April 11, 1964, at age forty-nine. He has not been forgotten, however, for his art lives on, and he is recognized as one of the foremost illustrators of fantasy and science fiction of the twentieth century.

Hannes Bok's Stories and Poem in Weird Tales
"Poor Little Tampico" (July 1942)
"The Evil Doll" (Nov. 1942)
"Dimensional Doors" (Jan. 1944)
"Tragic Magic" (Mar. 1944)
"Weirditties" (poem, July 1944, with Nichol)
"The Ghost Punch" (Nov. 1944)
"Someone Named Guibourg" (Spring 1981)

Hannes Bok's Interior Illustrations in Weird Tales
See the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, here, for a complete list.
Editor Brian Forbes reused Bok's main title heading on the interior of his two Bellerophon Weird Tales issues of 1984-1985. He also reprinted an illustration of a rocketship around a planet, signed by Bok and dated 1949. I don't know whether that illustration originally appeared in Weird Tales or not.

Hannes Bok's Cover Illustrations for Weird Tales
See below.

Further Reading
Any number of sources and collections, including A Hannes Bok Treasury (Underwood-Miller, 1993) and A Hannes Bok Showcase (Charles F. Miller, 1995).

Weird Tales, December 1939, Hannes Bok's first cover for the magazine.

Weird Tales, March 1940. Artist Gary van der Steur refashioned this image for his cover of Weird Tales for Fall 1973. Mr. van der Steur replaced the profile on the bottom with that of Richard Nixon.

Weird Tales, May 1940.

Weird Tales, May 1941.

Weird Tales, July 1941, a rare science fiction cover for the magazine and one that includes what is almost certainly a self-portrait of the artist.

Weird Tales, July 1941, another effective war cover.

Weird Tales, March 1942, Bok's last cover for the magazine.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Golden Anniversary of Star Trek

If this were fifty years ago, you could tune in tonight to a new television show called Star Trek. (And unless you were Al Gore, you would not be reading this on the Internet.) Yes, half a century has passed since that first episode was broadcast on September 8, 1966, and although Star Trek would last only three years in its original run--the last episode, a repeat, was broadcast on September 2, 1969--the show has become an enduring global phenomenon. Witness the thirteenth movie in the series, released this summer, and the impending debut of the seventh TV series.

That first episode from September 1966 was "Man Trap," an outer space monster story. I think more than a little of Star Trek was owed to the previous television series The Outer Limits (1963-1965). Both shows were known not only for science fiction but also for their monsters. Many of the actors and some of the props and other visual elements from The Outer Limits also appeared in Star Trek. I suppose that the people in charge decided to launch Star Trek with a story of a monster in order to grab viewers. The more cerebral episodes could wait. Of course, one of the beauties of television from the 1960s and '70s is that it worked on two levels: plenty of thrills for the kids and something to think about (including sexual situations) for the adults.

I have written before about the connection, however tenuous, between Weird Tales and Star Trek. You can read my article "Weird Tales and Star Trek" by clicking here. In that article I mentioned the writers who were in Weird Tales who also wrote for Star Trek. One was Robert Bloch, author of three episodes, one of which was called "Wolf in the Fold." "Wolf in the Fold" is from the second season and was broadcast on December 22, 1967. It concerns a serial killer who, as it turns out, has traveled through time and space to carry out his depredations. In one of his incarnations, he was Jack the Ripper. That plotline may have sounded familiar to readers of Weird Tales. Nearly a quarter century before, in the issue of July 1943, "The Unique Magazine" had published Bloch's story "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper," which proved to be essentially the source for "Wolf in the Fold."

That's only one connection between Weird Tales and Star Trek. Another, or I guess I should say a similarity between the two, is that both have survived their own demise many times over (like Bloch's Jack the Ripper). Weird Tales is currently defunct. I imagine it will be back. As for Star Trek: the original run came to an end on September 2, 1969, as I mentioned. Fans must have been in despair, but less than a week later, on September 8, 1967, the show went into syndication, and so today is a double anniversary of beginnings. So Happy Anniversary, Star Trek! Now we can look forward to the Diamond Jubilee--or maybe we should call it the Dilithium Jubilee--twenty-five years hence.


Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley