I’ve been reading a bit of Algernon Blackwood recently, so I thought I’d post what is one of my favourite fantasy illustrations, Matt Fox’s two-page spread for Blackwood’s excellent weird story, “The Wendigo”:
It would have originally been divided by inner page margins, hence the fact that the two halves don’t fit together.
It originally appeared in Famous Fantastic Mysteries in June 1944 (Blackwood’s tale was first published in 1910), but the above scan comes courtesy of Peter Haining’s wonderful Terror! A History of Horror Illustrations from the Pulp Magazines, a 1976 book chock-full of classic (and not-so-classic) pictures from the pulps and penny dreadfuls.
When I first saw this illustration, I was initially put off by its unrealistic style, but I kept coming back to it, and eventually it won me over. Nowadays, I’ve come to prefer illustration which is as much design as realistic representation, and, particularly in fantastic art where an air of make-believe is so necessary, I always find art which is only realistic — however perfect — just doesn’t do it for me as much as stuff which is plainly artificial, and so obviously the product of a human imagination.
If you want some more Matt Fox, here’s a pretty thorough gallery of his Weird Tales covers, illustrations, and some comic work, over at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.