The WEIRD TALES Thread: Collecting The Unique Magazine
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201 posts in this topic

2 hours ago, Sarg said:

IIRC, Lovecraft himself was pretty lukewarm at best about Brundage. He said that he didn't know what her barely-clothed ladies had to do with weird fiction. it was polite way of saying that Weird Tales was sinking to pure sensationalism in order to sell magazines, hugely disappointing to somebody like Lovecraft, who considered himself a serious, philosophical writer who did not simply include salacious scenes in his stories for commercialism. 

Have you read the Conan stories? Robert E. Howard went to great lengths to describe women and Conan's attraction to them. Margaret Brundage always read the stories she was illustrating before painting them. In fact, Howard, Seabury Quinn, and other writers would write scenes into their stories that they thought would inspire more Brundage covers, and clearly it worked! According to an article by Robert Weinberg, Brundage was Howard's favorite cover artist, and Howard was Brundage's favorite pulp writer.

However, I'm not a fan of her depiction of Conan as a normal-looking Roman rather than an over-muscled barbarian as he was described. And she left out background detail completely. Yet, her figures are highly stylized and her colors are incredible. I'm a huge Finlay fan, but his women have been described as placid, and I would have to agree. And it's clear that his early Weird Tales work was influenced by Brundage. It seems like your beef is more with Farnsworth Wright, who favored risqué covers and actually requested sexier paintings from Brundage. Unlike the competing Spicy pulps, her women were strong and showed dignity in peril rather than being depicted with sadistic voyeurism, and they never seemed intentionally seductive or in pain in their peril. 

Have you looked through all of the Weird Tales covers? Most of them had women-in-peril images long before Brundage showed up! Perhaps Lovecraft was just sore that his works never received a cover by her...

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1 hour ago, Markentoth said:

Have you read the Conan stories? Robert E. Howard went to great lengths to describe women and Conan's attraction to them. Margaret Brundage always read the stories she was illustrating before painting them. In fact, Howard, Seabury Quinn, and other writers would write scenes into their stories that they thought would inspire more Brundage covers, and clearly it worked! According to an article by Robert Weinberg, Brundage was Howard's favorite cover artist, and Howard was Brundage's favorite pulp writer.

However, I'm not a fan of her depiction of Conan as a normal-looking Roman rather than an over-muscled barbarian as he was described. And she left out background detail completely. Yet, her figures are highly stylized and her colors are incredible. I'm a huge Finlay fan, but his women have been described as placid, and I would have to agree. And it's clear that his early Weird Tales work was influenced by Brundage. It seems like your beef is more with Farnsworth Wright, who favored risqué covers and actually requested sexier paintings from Brundage. Unlike the competing Spicy pulps, her women were strong and showed dignity in peril rather than being depicted with sadistic voyeurism, and they never seemed intentionally seductive or in pain in their peril. 

Have you looked through all of the Weird Tales covers? Most of them had women-in-peril images long before Brundage showed up! Perhaps Lovecraft was just sore that his works never received a cover by her...

 

I believe Lovecraft was making that point about WT covers in general during the Depression era, not specifically Brundage's Conan covers. (And she was a pastel artist, by the way -- not a painter.)

I'd say quite a few of Brundage's covers could be described as exponents of "sadistic voyeurism" actually. This was, of course, at Wright's direction, not her personal choice. 

Lovecraft was complaining about nudity being used to sell literature -- i.e., sensationalism -- not "women in peril" per se. 

Edited by Sarg
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I’d like to point out that these are pulps we are talking about. I am a bit surprised that sex appeal and sensationalism is being viewed as a bad thing on a comic book chat board. It’s almost as if those who look down on sensationalism and sex appeal would prefer post-code comics? Plus, Howard and Lovecraft never had a book published in their life. Pulps are what brought sensationalism, sex appeal and pop culture to lituratue which comic book publishers at the time hoped to live up to. Brundage was not the best artist but she was perfect for her time and profession. Not all depictions of Conan have to be a Frazetta (who did sensationalism and sex appeal so well). 

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47 minutes ago, Sarg said:

 

I believe Lovecraft was making that point about WT covers in general during the Depression era, not specifically Brundage's Conan covers. (And she was a pastel artist, by the way -- not a painter.)

I'd say quite a few of Brundage's covers could be described as exponents of "sadistic voyeurism" actually. This was, of course, at Wright's direction, not her personal choice. 

Lovecraft was complaining about nudity being used to sell literature -- i.e., sensationalism -- not "women in peril" per se. 

Well, painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. Not sure why she's not a painter. I think your description of her art being sadistic at Wright's direction is based purely on conjecture, which is fine. That's the great thing about forums like this; everyone brings information and ideas together. It's interesting that the truly violent depictions towards women are typically being done by other women. I suppose we can call Lovecraft's writing literature now that he's published in Penguin Classic and American Library editions, but not so sure it was considered literature at the time...

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2 minutes ago, Markentoth said:

Well, painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. Not sure why she's not a painter. I think your description of her art being sadistic at Wright's direction is based purely on conjecture, which is fine. That's the great thing about forums like this; everyone brings information and ideas together. It's interesting that the truly violent depictions towards women are typically being done by other women. I suppose we can call Lovecraft's writing literature now that he's published in Penguin Classic and American Library editions, but not so sure it was considered literature at the time...

 

Pastels are not paint. Pastel artists call themselves that, not painters. 

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26 minutes ago, Markentoth said:

Well, painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface. Not sure why she's not a painter. I think your description of her art being sadistic at Wright's direction is based purely on conjecture, which is fine. That's the great thing about forums like this; everyone brings information and ideas together. It's interesting that the truly violent depictions towards women are typically being done by other women. I suppose we can call Lovecraft's writing literature now that he's published in Penguin Classic and American Library editions, but not so sure it was considered literature at the time...

 

Nope. Based on her own words, not personal conjecture. 

"Wright told me that the nude covers did better (i.e., sold more) than those that did not feature nudes. He said my covers sold the magazine better than the covers by St.John. I would sumbit several sketches to Wright and (business manager) Sprenger and they always wanted the ones with the scantiest-clad girls. I drew what they wanted." -- Brundage to Robert Weinberg, quoted in The Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage (2013), pg. 16). 

"We had one issue that sold out. It was the story of a very vicious female, getting ahold of the heroine and tying her up and beating her ... (at editorial conferences) I would submit about three different pencil sketches ... they chose the scene, I didn't. Having read the story, the thought of flagellation never entered my head." (Brundage to R. Alain Everts, ibid pg. 29).

Edited by Sarg
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9 minutes ago, RedFury said:

Weird Tales, May 1923 (#3)

My earliest Weird Tales, the 3rd issue.  Pretty scarce issue.   The cover story is for part 1 of "The Moon Terror" by A.G. Birch.  There's also an early work by Vincent Starrett, "Penelope".  Both were included in The Moon Terror and Other Stories, a best-of book published by Weird Tales and continuously advertised on their back covers for years.

Cover by William F. Heitman, his first of only two covers he did for the magazine.

2S5Evclh.jpg

 

Nice! Is it accurate to say that a lot of the early issues are pretty scarce? And at what point do issues stop being scarce? 

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6 minutes ago, Sarg said:

 

Nice! Is it accurate to say that a lot of the early issues are pretty scarce? And at what point do issues stop being scarce? 

Issue #2 is generally considered to be the rarest Weird Tales.  All of the 1923 issues are very scarce.  The 5 bedsheets from the first half of 1924 are a slightly more common than the 1923 issues, but still tough.  When Weird Tales returned in Nov 1924 after a several month hiatus, the format had changed from bedsheet to pulp size.  Those first four pulp sized issued from that point (Nov 1924 to Feb 1925) are very scarce.  The rest of 1925 are somewhat scarce but do turn up.  And from that point on they get a little more common by year up to about 1930 where it levels off. 

I'm missing #1, 2, 7, and 8, all from 1923.  I've had chances at all of them over the years, but missed out for one reason or another. :cry:

 

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On 7/11/2020 at 11:23 AM, Ricksneatstuff said:

I do have to say from the prices of Brundage original Weird Tales covers the dissenting opinion is in the minority. Many iconic covers. The Altar of Melek comes to mind as a strong example and this one that definitely had several interested parties.

 

https://fineart.ha.com/itm/other/margaret-brundage-american-1900-1976-a-rival-from-the-grave-weird-tales-magazine-cover-january-193/a/5347-71023.s?ic4=GalleryView-ShortDescription-071515

 

I'm well aware that my opinion is in the minority. I'm not an advocate of the "everybody on the field gets a trophy" school of philosophy, which -- needless to say -- is heresy these days.

Many comic/pulp artists of great artistic ability sell for very little at auction, because they didn't draw or paint nude women or space aliens. Value is based on demand, not artistic ability. 

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9 hours ago, RedFury said:

Issue #2 is generally considered to be the rarest Weird Tales.  All of the 1923 issues are very scarce.  The 5 bedsheets from the first half of 1924 are a slightly more common than the 1923 issues, but still tough.  When Weird Tales returned in Nov 1924 after a several month hiatus, the format had changed from bedsheet to pulp size.  Those first four pulp sized issued from that point (Nov 1924 to Feb 1925) are very scarce.  The rest of 1925 are somewhat scarce but do turn up.  And from that point on they get a little more common by year up to about 1930 where it levels off. 

I'm missing #1, 2, 7, and 8, all from 1923.  I've had chances at all of them over the years, but missed out for one reason or another. :cry:

 

Thanks for that info. I guess with no census, we cannot really construct an educated guess on how many copies still exist.

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3 hours ago, RedFury said:

Weird Tales, Jan 1933

2nd Conan appearance, "The Scarlet Citadel"

St. John cover

68Bdz1bh.jpg

 

Fine! Weird Tales was factory trimmed by this point, right?

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25 minutes ago, Sarg said:

 

Fine! Weird Tales was factory trimmed by this point, right?

Yes, factory trimmed started in late 1930.

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Beautiful copy of Jan. 1933!!

The January 1933 copy that Todd posted  it has a slight overhang on the bottom if that is what was being asked.  
 

 

Edited by detective35DF
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