Archive for the 'Lord of the Rings, The' Category

The Lord of the Rings Comic Book Adaptation, 1979 – 1981

LOTR Iceland 1979

LOTR Iceland 1980

LOTR Iceland 1981

LOTR Spanish 1979-2

LOTR Spanish 1979-3

LOTR Spanish 1979-4

LOTR Spanish 1979-5

There was no American or English comic book adaptation of The Lord of the Rings following Ralph Bakshi’s animated movie of 1978—the closest we got was the Warren Special Edition magazine—but there was a beautiful three volume adaptation that appeared throughout Europe, licensed by Tolkien Enterprises in California. The lack of an English adaptation is attributed to “copyright issues,” which probably means that it was prohibitively expensive.

The artist is Luis Bermejo Rojo, a Spanish illustrator best known to American audiences for his work on Warren’s Creepy from 1974 to 1983. The covers above, all by Bermejo, are the Icelandic editions, and the pages are from the Spanish editions. The series was released between 1979 and 1981. Bermejo passed away in 2015.

(Images via Tumba Abierta and Tolkien Library)

Gandalf’s Garden, Circa 1969 – 1972


Gandalf Circa 1969-3

Gandalf's Garden Circa 1969

Gandalf Circa 1969-4

Gandalf Circa 1969-5

Gandalf Circa 1969-6

Gandalf Circa 1969-7

Gandalf Circa 1969-8

Gandalf Circa 1969-9

Gandalf Circa 1969-10

Gandalf’s Garden was a shop and mystical community in Chelsea, London, that was active between 1969 and 1972. Founded by Muz Murray (a.k.a. Ramana Baba), now a “world renowned Mystic and Mantra Yoga Master,” the community downplayed psychedelics, instead embracing meditation, yoga, and various Eastern religious practices. A magazine of the same name was produced by Murray, Jaya Amler, and friends, running to six issues. Here’s a section of the introductory manifesto from the first issue:

Gandalf the White Wizard from the trilogy of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, by J.R.R. Tolkien, is fast becoming absorbed in the youthful world spirit as the mythological hero of the age, as graven an image on the eternal psyche as Merlin of the Arthurian legends. In the land of Middle Earth under threat of engulfment by the dark powers, Gandalf unites the differing races, mistrustful of each other through lack of understanding and communication, in a final effort to save the world. The crusader spirit in Gandalf is echoed in the cry of the Now Generation seeking an Alternative to the destructive forces of today’s world, by spreading human love and aid, for the unity of all the peoples of the Earth.

GANDALF’S GARDEN grows in that same spirit. For GANDALF’S GARDEN is the magical garden of our inner worlds, overgrowing into the world of manifestation. GANDALF’S GARDEN is soulflow from the pens of creators – mystics, writers, artists, diggers, delvers and poets. A wellspring of love and anguish that those with searching thirsts may drink thereof. As in the Stone Gardens of the Orient, where Soul Wizards sit within the stimulus of their own silences, contemplating the smoothness of the million pebbles, so should we seek to stimulate our own inner gardens if we are to save our Earth and ourselves from engulfment.

You can read more about Gandalf’s Garden, and thumb through the magazines, at the tribute site maintained by two original “gardeners,” Rosemary and Darroll Pardoe. All of the photos except the first one were taken by Colin Bord.

And there’s a short video “capturing a gathering of ‘heads’ outside Gandalf’s Garden” here. The video was shot on July 5, 1969, the day the Rolling Stones played the free show in Hyde Park.

(Images via Pardoes, Pinterest, and The Library Time Machine)

The Lord of the Rings 3-D Paper Cut-Out Doodle and Play Set (Tolkien Enterprises, 1978)

LOTR Doodle and Play 1978

LOTR Doodle and Play 1978-2

LOTR Doodle and Play 1978-6

LOTR Doodle and Play 1978-3

LOTR Doodle and Play 1978-4

LOTR Doodle and Play 1978-5

Also check out the AD&D Color and Build Castle from 1983.

The Lord of the Rings Custom Vans, Circa 1978 – 1980

LOTR Van 1980

LOTR Van 1980-2

Old Man Willow holds the wet bar and TV, folks, and the bed is “upholstered in gold crushed velour.” Those are real tree stumps leading up to the bed.

Here are two more specimens, with art and titles based on the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit animated movies of 1978 and 1977, respectively.

More custom vans here.

LOTR Van Circa 1978

Hobbit Van Circa 1978

(Photos via Phoney Fresh, Pinterest, and Rollin’ Heavy)

Middle Earth Clothing Ad, Circa 1967

Middle Earth Clothing Ad 1967

Middle Earth Clothing Ad 1967-2

The artist is Terre, who is closely associated with Haight Ashbury’s Straight Theater, which is identified on the middle left of the map. The exotic fruit hanging from the various branches, as well as the mountains at the bottom of the ad, are direct allusions to Barbara Remington’s cover art for the first authorized paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings.

According to SFist, in 2013 the awning of a beauty salon was removed in North Beach, San Francisco, revealing a beautiful, hand-painted sign (below) of what was once a second Middle Earth Clothing location.

See also A Change of Hobbit Bookstore.

Middle Earth Clothing 1317 Grant 1968

(Images via eBay and SFist)

The Lord of the Rings T-Shirt (Tolkien Enterprises, 1978)




You’ll see a “Hip-O-Potamus S.F.” on the bottom left of the shirt. That refers to an influential San Francisco company founded in 1970 by Jeffrey Axelrod and Barry Anderson. Their first job, after they had no luck selling their own designs, came when a store owner asked them to print out 200 t-shirts of an original design over the weekend. Says Jeff, who still sells some of the original Hippo Tees designs:

It just so happened that the owner of that very store was the wife of the drummer for the iconic band, the Grateful Dead. It was 1971 and she had the vision to sell t-shirts at rock concerts, and so our t-shirt venture exploded! Our first rock’n t-shirts [the company was originally called Rock-n-Roll t-shirts] went on tour with the Grateful Dead.

The company would later collaborate with promoter Bill Graham’s Winterland Productions, selling shirts at Bay Area rock shows, a practice that shortly became standard. Jeff (mushroom shirt) and Barry (far right) can be seen below, circa 1970.

You can see more of the Tolkien Enterprises Lord of the Rings t-shirt designs here and here, and a much stranger design here.


Heinz Edelmann Cover Art for The Lord of the Rings (Klett-Cotta, 1969/1970)






Heinz Edelmann (1934-2009) is most famous for his distinctive design and art direction on the Beatles-inspired Yellow Submarine (1968), but his Lord of the Rings covers—for the first German edition, translated by Margaret Carroux with help from Ebba-Margareta von Freymann—are a very close second. (Unfortunately, I could only find a larger scan of the Fellowship of the Rings cover.) There was nearly a Lord of the Rings movie starring the Beatles, if you remember.

A German paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings was also published by Klett-Cotta featuring new, equally mesmerizing cover art by Edelmann, as seen below, but I’m not sure about the year: Amazon Germany has it at 1977. The books came in a slipcase featuring additional art. You can see more of the case here. Note the shifting position and condition of the ring—is that the Eye of Sauron inside?—in this edition, .


(Images via Tolkien Collection, Sci-fi-o-Rama, and Design is Fine)

The Lord of the Rings Vinyl Sculpture Banks: Gollum and Aragorn (Tolkien Enterprises, 1978)







The fish!

See here and here for other LOTR merchandise, and go here to check out the action figures.

`Hobbit T-Shirts’ and `Come to Middle Earth’ Ads in Rolling Stone (December, 1977)

Rolling Stone 1977

The Quest of the Magic Ring board game, seen below, was published in 1975 by Land of Legend, the placer of the ad on the right. You can see more photos at Board Game Geek. The first board game based on Tolkien’s work is probably Conquest of the Ring (Hobbit Toy and Games, 1970).

The ad image is via Butterfly Mind, where you can see more of the Rolling Stone issue. “Come to Middle Earth” and “Frodo Lives!” were slogans adopted by the counterculture starting in the late 1960s.

Quest 1975-2

Quest 1975-3

Middle Earth Discount Records and Tapes, Circa 1977

Middle Earth 1974

I found the photo at Michael Poulin’s Flickr and subsequently discovered the Middle Earth Records Memorial Page. The music store and head shop opened in 1969 and closed in 2007. Business card below.

Middle Earth Card




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