Friday, July 27, 2007

Monty Wedd & Stanley Pitt

Just sharing some recent finds. I'm not exactly sure how common these two covers are, possibly someone with a bit more knowledge than I, say Kevin Patrick, might be able to look at them and pin-point them exactly down to the day they came out. I bought them recently just for the covers - they're flimsy little books, all text, and the T.D. Rand book has a brilliant title - War On Fences. I've not read the book so I'm not sure if the cowboys in question are actually fighting fences, or if they conduct war whilst sitting on fences. I have no idea how many of these little books were produced, nor how many covers either Wedd or Pitt drew. I suspect that the answer might well be quite a few as these artists would have been able to produce these images at a fairly rapid pace, and the pay wouldn't have been too bad.

The Border Rustlers. Cover art by Monty Wedd. Published by The Whitman Press, 21 Macquarie Place, Sydney. Wedd is an Australian artist, best known for his work on Captain Justice back in the Golden Age. He also drew the same title for Horwitz and supplied the visuals for the newspaper strip, Ned Kelly.

War On Fences. Cover art by Stanley Pitt. Published by The Malian Press Ltd Ltd, 29 Blight Street, Sydney. Pitt, another great Australian artist, is best known for his stellar work on Silver Starr, also back in the Golden Age of comics. Most people know Pitt as the artist for the book Yarmak. Pitt was good, so good in fact that more than one USA publisher chased him and offered him work, however he only worked in the USA on the newspaper strip Secret Agent Corrigan. Pitt remains one of the better artists that this country has produced.

1 comment:

Kevin Patrick said...

Daniel -Ask, and ye shall find! While I can't quite pin down the actual day these pulp gems first went on sale (I'm not that much of a 'brainiac'), the Monty Wedd cover for 'The Border Rustlers' most likely dates from the early 1950s. After Syd Nicholls' line of comics folded at the end of the 1940s (for which Wedd drew the original Captain Justice series), Wedd drew numerous covers for several postwar 'pulp novellette' publishers, such as Whitman Press. You can see some further examples of these covers at: http://www.collectingbooksandmagazines.com/wedd.html

The cover for 'War on Fences' is one dozens that Stanley Pitt painted for Mailian Press, a Sydney publisher which seems to have florished between 1951/2-1955. Pitt produced many covers for Malian's Diamond Romance series, as well as for the company's American Science Fiction Magazine. This was Pitt's first foray into full-colour painted covers, and you can already see the beginnings of the excellent handling of colour and composition, which made him a sought-after illustrator throghout the 1950s and 60s.
Oh, and just to clarify things, 'War on Fences' no doubt refers to the perennial 'wild west' conflict between cattle ranchers (who ran their herds over the open plains) and the farmers (disparaginly called 'sodbusters') who put up barbed wire fences to mark off their property - thereby denying cattle herds unfettered access to grazing pastures, streams, etc. It was a widely-used plot device for many of these so-called 'horse operas'!