Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Two John Bellairs Titles

The Eyes of the Killer Robot was published in 1986 by Dial Books for Young Readers. This title has a wrap-around dust jacket design and a frontis drawing by Edward Gorey. I don't feel that the dust jacket painting for this book is as polished as the art for many of the other titles in the series. The artwork does convey atmosphere, but is not a favorite of mine. To my knowledge, the art from this title was not included with the other Bellairs artwork sold in 1994.

The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb was published in 1988 by Dial Books for Young Readers. Edward Gorey created a wrap-around dust jacket painting and a black & white frontis illustration. The art for the cover of the book is wonderfully spooky, but this is one of the disjointed paintings created for the series. The front and back cover of the dust jacket do not read as a continuous image when viewed as a single image. The back of the jacket is daytime and the front is night, and there is a solid break at the spine between the images. This is one of the dust jacket paintings that was cut and sold in two pieces by Gotham Book Mart (see my posting from January 18, 2010). An image of the front half of the dust jacket art without the type was included in Gorey Rare, a 2007 spiral bound calendar/date book.

I own the frontis illustration from this title. This is one of the more technically challenging pieces of art created by Edward Gorey for the Bellairs series. To convey the darkness of the room, Mr. Gorey covered the entire surface of the art with his signature line work. Even so, the objects in the room are distinct and clearly visible. It is truly a masterpiece of control and consummate skill. When I have my Gorey black and white illustrations framed, my framer often mistakes these pieces of original art for etchings.


BeckoningChasm said...

I have to say that both covers have some really creepy elements. The ghostly "tall man" figure from "Robot" is definitely startling, while both the bottle-shaped forest-house and the flashlight-on-vampire (sounds like an English river) are superb. I especially like the stark space of the bottle-house work.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I came to Gorey through the beginning of Mystery on PBS. I always loved that winking skull as a child. And I used to take down Amphigorey from my grandparents' shelves at a very young age (probably disturbed them!). I found Bellairs because of the Gorey illustrations. What a great marriage of talent! I reread all my Johnny Dixon books every couple of years or so.

ampootozote said...

I also enjoy re-reading the Bellairs titles. I usually start at the beginning of the series and work my way through each title. This takes a little time, but it is always enjoyable!