Archive for the 'Curtis Magazines' Category

Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee Reading Horror Comics (Circa 1974)

Cushing Creepy

Lee Dracula #4 1974

Two of my heroes. The issues are Creepy #11 and Dracula Lives #4.

Lee passed away on June 7, 2015. Earl Norem, who painted the cover of the issue Lee is reading, died on June 19, 2015.

(Images via The Peter Cushing Appreciation Society UK)

The Art of Earl Norem: Tales of the Zombie (1973 – 1975)

Norem Zombie #5 1974-1

Norem Zombie #5 1974-2

Norem Zombie #9 1975-1

Norem Zombie #9 1975-2

Tales of the Zombie (1973 – 1975) ran for 10 issues and an annual. Boris Vallejo did the first four covers, and Earl Norem did the rest. You can see them all at the Marvel Wikia.

Norem was a much better all-around artist, in my opinion, even though Vallejo is the one who became famous. Norem could paint anything, electrify and dramatize any scene (see the falling flashlight and erupting chunks of earth above), catch the details (rain-soaked leaves sucked through a thrown open door, the textures of leather, denim, clean hair, dirty hair). Boris, on the other hand, was a one-trick pony. What he did he usually did well, but never as well as his master, Frazetta.

(Images via Fantasy Ink)

The Art of Earl Norem: Planet of the Apes #8, #22, and #28 (1975 – 1977)

Norem Original Pencils 1975

Norem POTA #8 1975

Norem POTA #22 1976 original

Norem POTA #22

norem pota 28 1977

POTA #28

Many of Earl Norem’s original pencils and paintings, from the ’60s through the ’90s, are popping up on eBay. (The original pencils for Planet of the Apes #28 went for over $1000.) A lot of it is in pretty rough shape—multiple folds, tattering, yellowing. Illustration was a tough gig, and artists had to crank out page after page of quality work to make a living. Even for Norem, who was well established by this point, there was no time for sentimentality. It was all business.

The more I see from Norem, the more I realize how much he contributed to the vision of almost every major kid’s property from the late ’70s through the late ’80s, including Conan, The Six Million Dollar Man, Indiana Jones, Planet of the Apes, Buck Rogers, Masters of the Universe, D&D, Marvel Comics (superhero and horror), G.I. Joe, and the Transformers.

The amount of detail he squeezes into his cover paintings is staggering. See the control panels in #28, the chimp’s hair in #22, and the dense, layered colors he uses to fill the big spaces in #8.

The Art of Earl Norem: The Rampaging Hulk #9 (1978) and Marvel Preview #22 (1980)

Norem Rampaging Hulk #9

Norem Rampaging Hulk #9-2

Norem Marvel Preview #22

Norem Marvel Preview #22-2

A decorated World War II veteran, Earl Norem got his start in men’s action-adventure magazines and worked steadily in that genre throughout the ’50s and ’60s. He broke into comics in the mid-’70s, doing a large number of memorable covers for Marvel’s Curtis Magazines, including Savage Sword of Conan and The Rampaging Hulk.

Norem was a major contributor to the Marvel Books imprint from 1982 to 1986 (The Amazing Spider-Man, The Transformers, G.I. Joe), elevated the Masters of the Universe image in a slew of books and magazines, and painted the covers for a Choose Your Own Adventure-style book series called Wizards, Warriors & You (1984 – 1986). I think he also did some package art for G.I. Joe. I’m trying to track down the details.

I’ll be posting Norem’s art on an ongoing basis. He deserves the attention.


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