I know, I know. I skipped a week and I’m late again this week. Since starting “Art of Fantasy,” I set out to never to skip a week and I’ve been successful at keeping to my routine for 92 weeks. However, October threw so many things at me I dropped the ball(s). I could handle looming deadlines, looking after the kids and cooking, and a new job–but my wife and all three my kids succumbing to stomach flu at the same time? And another family member suffering a heart attack? That got me. That got me good. October, and especially the last two weeks have not been pleasant.
But things seemed to have stabilized now. My kids are eating and drinking again and the fevers are gone. A few minutes ago I learned my mom’s husband is out of ICU and stabilized and will come home this afternoon. My wife is still sick, though, but I’m positive she’ll be better by Friday (I hope). I’m surprised the stomach flu didn’t get me. Must be my mutant-like healing ability. Or I’m just too plain stubborn to give in.
Anyway, “Art of Fantasy (Legends)” is back this week and we kick off with Ken Barr, (17 March 1933 – 25 March 2016). A Scottish artist, Ken illustrated DC and Marvel comics and magazines, specifically Doc Savage covers, and science fiction and fantasy novel and magazine covers.
After completing his National Service in the Army in Egypt, Ken established himself as one of the top artists in the graphic art and comic industry early on. His first covers appeared on the British magazine Nebula Science Fiction in the 1950s which launched his career. Ken produced a vast and wide range of art for many of the top companies, including Star Wars and Star Trek covers.
From the 1970s onwards, he created hundreds of book covers for many of the leading book publishers such as Avon and Random House; and drew dozens of film posters like The Wind and the Lion, Terminal Man, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and several horror and fantasy films.
A trading card set reprinting some of his best fantasy and horror artwork, The Beast Within, was issued in March 1994 and a book featuring a collection of his work, titled The Beast Within: The Art of Ken Barr, was published in 2007.
Below is a small collection of his work. Each image links to the place of origin. Enjoy!
Ken Barr illustrated some of the covers of DC Thomson’s Commando: War Stories in Pictures books which I read back when I was a kid, although I did not know it at the time. I would only realize this much later after seeing his Doc Savage and Conan work.
I’ve mentioned on here before that along with fantasy and science fiction novels, I also read comics: Marvel, DC, 2000 AD, and a host of others, and Commando falls squarely within “others.” It was a black and white war comic that fed that part of me that had become obsessed with World War 2 stories. Sadly, from my very large collection I only have a dozen or so of these little books left and I haven’t read any in years.