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Showing posts by: Gregory Manchess click to see Gregory Manchess's profile
Aug 9 2010 6:27pm

Robert Abbett and A Princess of Mars

A Princess of Mars

Many SF enthusiasts may not have heard of Robert Abbett. He made his mark in mainstream illustration, but would do science fiction and fantasy art from time to time. He painted all the covers for a paperback series of Tarzan. But he first tackled Burroughs’ Martian stories.

This to me is one of the best A Princess of Mars covers ever done for the series. Painted in the mid-sixties, it captures that era of paperback style: from the handsome Napolean Solo look of John Carter, to the blue eye-shadowed, brunette Deja Thoris.

Look at the moment caught here. It’s an odd slice of painting. Who’s he battling and what’s Deja fearful of? We don’t know, but we can suspect it is large, green, has four arms, and goes by the name of Thark.

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Aug 3 2010 3:49pm

Magnus, Robot Fighter 4000 A.D.

Magnus Robot Fighter 4000

That metal-slamming sound could be heard all over North Am in 4000 A.D. Equipped with red mini-jumpsuit, white go-go boots, and a Kung Fu grip, Magnus—Robot Fighter, was at it again, battling errant robots back to their nuts and bolts—even during dates with his smokin’ hot space vixen Leeja, the daughter of North Am’s Senator Clane.

Russ Manning’s creation of Magnus held my interest circa 1966 with his sharp focused, graphic ink strokes and deftly rendered metallic surfaces. He was a master of the comic world to me. I copied panels from his stories over and over again. I spent eighth grade dodging teachers while I sat in the back of the room copying Magnus and robots and trying to remember American history.

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Jun 21 2010 3:37pm

Illustration Master Class 2010

Last week, eighty-four science fiction and fantasy artists gathered at Amherst College to attend the third annual Illustration Master Class, Rebecca Guay’s finely-tuned week-long workshop spearheaded by faculty artists: Rebecca, Boris Vallejo, Dan Dos Santos, Donato Giancola, Scott Fischer, Irene Gallo, Julie Bell, and myself.

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Jun 15 2010 6:21pm

Thank you, Al Williamson

Twenty four hours ago, I gave a lecture at Amherst College during the Illustration Master Class. While showing images from famous and favorite artists who have influenced my paintings since childhood, one black and white panel glowed in the darkened auditorium from a favorite comic series of Flash Gordon.

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May 31 2010 11:34am

John Berkey’s The Humanoid Touch

John Berkey, The Humanoid Touch

I love this painting by the incomparable John Berkey for a book cover entitled, The Humanoid Touch, by Jack Williamson, published in 1980.

The ship sits on an Earthly landscape and immediately gives the sense that its just landed and out pours its inhabitants, arms open, to embrace mankind. Instead of a smooth cylinder, Berkey has given it relief, texture, and design. All of those little pieces give the ship a technological advance. As in all of John’s spaceship art, the technology feels practical. I believe it made it this far in space.

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May 10 2010 7:19pm

Frank Frazetta

Frank Frazetta

The world has lost another of its legendary painters, and one that so strongly influenced my young artist’s life. Frank Frazetta passed away yesterday, having released more passion on canvas than might be humanly possible.

I used to ride my bike to a Cincinnati bookstore in the 60’s. There, amidst the incense-infused lower level, tucked away in the corner, they kept the science fiction books. I was probably about ten when I first recognized the outstanding mayhem on a paperback cover as a Frazetta. The painting stood out immediately because it was so bold, and the light in the painting felt so damn real. I didn’t care that it was a barbarian, or some giant beast, or some curvaceous half dressed goddess. (ok...maybe a little on that last one). It was so believable, all I could do was stare, and absorb.

It was different from the covers around it because in the 60’s, most of the science fiction covers had a strong, colorful graphic approach, and occasionally, manipulated photos. But this was painting. This was museum painting. Classical painting. Sunlit flesh popped off of dark mysterious backgrounds. And all of it applied to my favorite subjects.

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Apr 15 2010 11:55am

Remembering John Schoenherr

John Schoneherr, Children of Dune

What could you say to a man about his painting? What could you say that would impress him and yet let him know that his work has informed your own struggle to learn throughout your life?

John Schoenherr’s work has been a part of my life since I was a kid, looking at an Analog cover in my favorite drug store. I was drawn in by the mysterious shapely woman in a tree, accompanied by her gigantic otter. From across the store one could tell that they were friends. This is when I began to realize that painting could not only be fun, it could touch an emotional chord.

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Jul 20 2009 5:20pm

On July 20th, Gregory Manchess

I was 14 years old, sitting up late with my family in the kitchen, sometime after midnight in Kentucky, waiting. I could feel the entire world quietly listening to the tiny beeps of the astronauts’ radios.

But with all of that attention on the first step, there’s one thing that’s never mentioned about the last moments before Armstrong set the LEM down on the surface hours earlier: they had reached the limit of fuel for their return trip.

There was a palpable intensity between the beeps of the astronauts’ voices in the cockpit during the landing. You could hear Buzz say, “Red light!” in the dialog, reminding Neil that the landing fuel was exhausted and it was now or never. Armstrong was not satisfied with the chosen site and wanted to fly over a large boulder for a better position. He stretched the fuel right to the last second...and beyond! He took that risk.

I find it fascinating that for all of the precision involved in getting there, in the last moments before Man landed on the moon, the outcome was not determined by technology and science, but by intuition and guts. It still came down to a rudder, a stick, and a pilot.


Gregory Manchess is an American artist and illustrator. His art has highlighted covers for Time, National Geographic, Atlantic Monthly, and the Major League Baseball World Series Program; spreads for Playboy, Omni, Newsweek, National Geographic, and Smithsonian; and countless advertising campaigns and book covers.

Jul 20 2009 12:59am
Original Comic

2009: A Birthday Odyssey