I like pulp covers, but i have to confess that most of the people portrayed on the covers had a total lack of expression comparable to the Great Stoneface, Buster Keaton himself. They could be dealing with a rogue elephant, a runaway stagecoach or a snarling man eating beast, and they would serenely confront them, as if the artist were trying to show Buddha vs. Beast.
What was true of the people was even truer of the animals. George H. Wert was perhaps the first, and certainly in my opinion the best at giving animals expressions, while simultaneously withholding them from the people in the picture.
Here are a few examples, all from Western Story Magazine which is where i first came across his work (all covers taken from the FictionMags Index):
Wert was a New Jersey based artist who did some excellent covers and interiors for the pulps – Western Story, Action Stories, North-West Stories, Lariat Stories and many others. A couple of articles on him are at David Saunders’ excellent website, The Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists and another from a blog on Central New Jersey History.
Enjoy, and tell me what you think of these covers.
I like George Wert and I have some of his cover and interior art but I have to admit that I have also noticed that his horses and cows have bulging eyes and terrified expressions. Modest Stein also had this habit with some of his cover paintings. Not with cows and horses but with women.
Thanks, I really enjoyed putting this together.