Saturday, March 10, 2012

Martians Are Aces!

While Ballantine Books was putting out what it considered "authorized" editions of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, a confusion developed over the copyright situation and before you know it ACE Books was also producing Tarzan, Mars, Venus, Pellucidar, and other books wearing the Burroughs brand. A deal was apparently struck and Ballantine kept control of the Jungle Lord and Barsoom properties while ACE kept everything else.

But thank goodness for the confusion because it allowed ACE to contract Roy Krenkel (assisted by Frank Frazetta) to create some devastating artwork for several of the Mars novels that ACE was able to publish before the dust settled.

Above and below is the original artwork to three of those covers.

Here are the four covers themselves.

And here's a treat, the four frontispieces Krenkel did for the books.

Rip Off


  1. Ace found a number of books that were PD even in the late 1950s-early 1960s, including the Lord of the Rings trilogy (which had much better covers than the Ballantine Books editions)!
    If they wanted to continue publishing the contested titles, they could have done so, but the cost of legal proceedings would have negated the profit margins, so they struck deals with Tolkien and Burroughs.

  2. There's no doubt the ACE books are better looking than the Ballantines, for all the titles you mention. ACE brought a more robust approach to its covers, more pulp oriented while Ballantine often seemed to go for something akin to magazine advertising. They could be pretty but not necessarily compelling in the same way.

    Rip Off


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