$50.00

Recommended. First Fandom Experience presents the work of fan & semi-pro artist Roy Vernon Hunt. Hunt lived and worked in Denver, Colorado from 1914 until his passing in 1986. His first published art appeared in the fanzine The Alchemist in February 1940. He was a founding member of the Colorado Fantasy Society, a group formed to organize the 1941 World Science Fiction Convention in Denver. But he went on to do much more fanzine work, book covers for early small press publishers, and much more. Hunt took his own path, specializing in monsters, Lovecraft and otherwise, sometimes in the style of Lee Coye Brown, and Art Deco-inspired spaceships and sci-fi. He was an excellent designer. Includes his revealing essay on early sci-fi fantasy artists, from 1943. First Fandom Experience, 2021.

 

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First Fandom Experience presents the work of fan & semi-pro artist Roy Vernon Hunt. Hunt lived and worked in Denver, Colorado from 1914 until his passing in 1986. His first published art appeared in the fanzine The Alchemist in February 1940. He was a founding member of the Colorado Fantasy Society, a group formed to organize the 1941 World Science Fiction Convention in Denver. But he went on to do much more fanzine work, book covers for early small press publishers, and much more. Hunt took his own path, specializing in monsters, Lovecraft and otherwise, sometimes in the style of Lee Coye Brown, and Art Deco-inspired spaceships and sci-fi. He was an excellent designer. Includes his revealing essay on early sci-fi fantasy artists, from 1943.

Price on this is a high for a softcover, but this is a small specialty publisher and the edition size is very small. On the other hand, it’s a unique look at both an interesting artist and also informative about the earliest days of sci-fi fandom and fanzine publishing in the 1940s, with wonderful reproductions of ultra-rare zine art and articles. I found it fascinating. -Bud

Art plays an essential role in science fiction. We are a visual species, and our visions of the future are sparked more viscerally by pictures than by words. Beginning in the 1920s, the provocative, sometimes outlandish work of artists such as Frank R. Paul called out from the covers of pulp magazines, luring susceptible youth into realms theretofore unimagined. Some of those thus ensnared became the core fanatics who established the science fiction industry that now dominates our media landscape.

Through the 1930s, science fiction fans with discernible artistic talent emerged. A handful of fan artists managed to cross over to professional careers, including Julian Krupa, Ronald Clyne and Hannes Bok. Hunt mostly remained a fan artist, but a talented and articulate one.

Among his inspirations were J. Allen St. John and Hannes Bok. Included here is a wonderful essay by Hunt about these and contemporary sci-fi and pulp artists — in 1943. It’s fascinating, and Hunt is impressively knowledgeable. Although he did a little professional work — his career was working in a Colorado Museum — most if not all of his artwork was labor of love, as he was a dedicated ERB/sci-fi/fantasy/horror fan throughout his life.

He designed the LASFS logo (The Los Angeles Science Fiction Society), still used today; the program book covers for the 1940 and 1946 World Science Fiction Cons; a 1975 cover for the hallowed ERB-dom, etc. He drew book covers in the early 1950s for novels from specialty small press publishers Fantasy Press and the New Collector’s Group, for books including  The Sunken World, Out of the Unknown, Some Chinese Ghosts, etc.

Later in his career, he did vintage-style illustrations for Sherlock Holmes and Fu Manchu and they are here, too. He also produced woodcuts, first under the auspices of art projects for the Depression-era Work Projects Administration and later for his own enjoyment.

“Hunt is obscure, even among ardent science fiction historians. First Fandom’s interest was first sparked by a remarkable artifact: an illustration included in the Spring 1941 issue of the fanzine Starlight. The image struck us as perhaps the best ever rendering of H.P. Lovecraft’s iconic Elder God, Cthulhu.”

The book includes:

  • A rich biography that documents Hunt’s life, influences and career
  • A foreword by Martin Mahoney, Director of Operations and Collections at the Norman Rockwell Museum, that puts the artist’s work in historical perspective
  • Many scarce fanzine illustrations, some likely not seen since original publication in the 1930s – 1950s
  • Stunning wood block prints produced for the Work Projects Administration in the 1940s
  • Selections from Hunt’s folios illustrating subjects from Sherlock Holmes and Fu Manchu
  • As you’d expect from FFE, lots of contextual and historical commentary
  • An illustrated appendix documenting the evolution of the technology early fans used to reproduce their art
  • A full chronological index of Hunt’s published art

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