Friday, May 3, 2013

The Savage Sword Of Boris!















I am not necessarily a big fan of Boris Vallejo's work, at least not of his work after he adopted a slicker style, less inspired by the great Frank Frazetta. But when Vallejo was in his full Frazetta mode, as seen on these great Savage Sword of Conan covers, he was able to combine the raw power he's capable of  with the glimmers of mystery he borrowed from Frazetta. Sadly much of his work since celebrates the glistening glory of the human form at the expense of the drama of the scene portrayed. That's not the case with these robust Conan images though.

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5 comments:

  1. Question for ya, Rip: in your opinion, who is the quintessential Savage Sword of Conan cover artist? When you got options like Boris Vallejo, Bob Larkin, Joe Jusko and Earl Norem, that's the textbook definition of an embarrasment of riches!

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    1. Of that lot, the early Vallejo is the most potent, but Jusko has a brashness which really makes his covers pop. As reliably awesome as Larkin and Norem are, that very steadiness sometimes plays against them as folks take what they do for granted, I know I did for a long time.

      I'd say Vallejo since he helped define the book and at once moved it beyond and connected it to its Frazetta paperback roots.

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  2. I like Vallejo much better than Frazetta, who I find overrated and fetishized in a manner similar to Neil Adams. I also think the art looks better with the titles and what not superimposed, so there ya go.

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    1. We'll agree to disagree on this one Matt. Give me Frazetta over the whole bunch. He had something, a mystery to his work that elevates it beyond just pictures of mighty thewed folks. Neal Adams once was a powerful storyteller, but clearly in these more modern days his skills have diminished. I really haven't connected to his recent stuff much at all.

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  3. Thanks for the compliment, Rip! LOVE your blog!! I was just a kid in my early 20's when I first started painting those. Earl and Bob (who I really looked up to) were much better painters than I was, and those early Boris covers, especially #5 were incredible. Great learning experience trying to stay in competition with those guys!

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