About this project
THE COLLECTORS’ BOOK OF VIRGIL FINLAY
This November, we will publish a beautiful art book featuring Virgil Finlay art from the collections of Robert Weinberg, Doug Ellis, Glynn Crain, and Robert K. Wiener. Virgil Finlay was one of the premier artists of science fiction, fantasy and horror art of the 20th Century. His work appeared in every major SF magazine and on the most prestigious of the small press SF books. Premiering at the World Fantasy Convention in Virginia in conjunction with the Centenary celebration of Finlay's birth, this collection will contain some of the finest reproductions of his B&W work to date, with most printed at their original size, so you can truly appreciate his fine artistry. The color pieces will be printed on a 200 LPI press, assuring a beauty and faithfulness to the image hard to surpass.
- 9" x 12" Hardcovers
- 208 pages
- Commentary on Virgil Finlay by two of the field's foremost pulp art collectors: Robert Weinberg and Doug Ellis.
- Over 40 pages of color artwork (including many uncollected color roughs & several 2-color pieces) which will constitute the largest collection of color art by Virgil Finlay ever assembled.
- Over 140 pages of text and Black & White artwork, which alone will make it one of the largest collections of Finlay B&W artwork.
THE EDITIONS AVAILABLE
- A Buckram cloth-bound Trade Edition with thick boards, acid-free paper and smythe-sewn. 400 copies available. Signed by Robert Weinberg and Doug Ellis.
- A Bonded leather-bound edition with a signed, cancelled publishers' payment check to Virgil Finlay. 26 copies. This edition is also signed by Lail Finlay (Virgil Finlay's daughter), in addition to Bob Weinberg and Doug Ellis. Shipped by Insured Priority Mail. 10 copies available through this Kickstarter.
- A Special Kickstarter Version of the Trade Edition. 90 copies of the Trade also signed by Lail Finlay as well as Bob W. and Doug.
Since October of last year we've been scanning in the original artwork. Scads and scads of original artwork. From spot illustrations to full size paintings. We have samples of Finlay's pointillism, his scratchboard art, his work done on coquille paper, even a large pencil piece, plus painted cover roughs with magazine's trade dress in the paintings, over 30 fully finished paintings, two-color pieces he did for the Science Fiction Book Club and even one rare piece from The American Weekly. It's been fun and delightful work.
Released under American Fantasy Press, the book will premiere at the con in Baltimore this November. This Kickstarter is to help us defray some of the expenses. We've bought a new 2400 dpi scanner, we need to bring larger pieces to scanning services, we've needed to buy new storage equipment because the production files are huge, we still need to print and ship signature pages, the shipping materials and there's the final printing bill to consider. The printer we're using is one of the finest we've ever been partnered with. For 75 years, it's done work for museums, galleries, academic presses, fine artists, and photographers, with a strong eco policy. It's one of a handful of printers nationwide qualified to manufacture books for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Metropolitan Museum in New York.
This Kickstarter ends on July 23rd on what would have been Virgil Finlay's 100th birthday.
Virgil Finlay was the most accomplished and outstanding line artist in American SF-Fantasy history. From 1936-1971 he illustrated an astounding amount of pulp fiction, beginning at Weird Tales his interior art appeared in 62 WT issues and he painted 19 covers. His run only ended when the magazine did in 1954. He didn’t stop there. For years afterward his illustrations appeared in almost every genre magazine: Amazing, Strange Stories, Fantastic Universe, IF, Galaxy and more. Through A. Merritt, he was hired as a staff artist for The American Weekly magazine and eventually worked for astrology magazines in the 50s. 1953, he won the Hugo Award for Best Interior Illustrator.He did the dust jacket art for the most sought after H. P. Lovecraft collection from Arkham House Publishers, The Outsider and Others as well as their edition of Seabury Quinn’s Christmas tale Roads. He also illustrated the hardcover of A. Merritt’s The Ship of Ishtar. And so much more. About 2500 pieces have been catalogued. He passed away in 1971 after a harsh bout with cancer. In 1996, he wad awarded the Retro Hugo as Best Professional Artist of 1945. In 2012, Virgil Finlay was posthumously inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
This book a project I’ve been wanting to do since I first toured Bob Weinberg’s house back in the 1980s and saw many of these beautiful illustrations close up. Afterward, I snatched up every Finlay book collection I could afford. I became a lifelong fan.
About a decade ago, I met Doug Ellis and toured his extensive pulp and fantasy art collection which only had about 50 Finlay pieces (and a few hundred by other great artists).
With both collections I was fascinated by how many of these pieces I had never seen reproduced, and marveled at the beauty of some of the classic often collected pieces.
So I wanted to to do a book. Surprise. My first inclination is to preserve and share things with others who would appreciate them. But to do that, I needed to ask these guys to take these (sometimes very fragile) pieces down from the wall, remove them from frames (some sealed decades ago), trust me to handle them, and then take the time to scan them properly. Not likely to happen.
But I was wrong. At the 2012 SF Worldcon in Chicago, World Fantasy Convention Chairman Michael J. Walsh came up to me and told me that the WFC would be having a special commemoration celebrating the Centenary of Virgil Finlay’s birth. His daughter Lail Finlay would be attending in a very rare convention appearance. With such a very rare opportunity to celebrate the career and work of the artist we three loved, Doug Ellis, Bob Weinberg and I decided to publish a book featuring not only their incredible collections, but also those of Glynn Crain and Robert K. Wiener as well.
Science Fiction fans are a feisty bunch. Put a group of them in a room, state a topic, and listen to them argue. A good starting point would be "Who was (or is) the greatest SF cover artist of all time?" Everyone has an opinion, some have two or three. You would probably hear "Frank R. Paul, Virgil Finlay, Lawrence Sterne Stevens, Kelly Freas, Ed Emsh, Richard Powers, John Schoenherr, Michael Whelan, and several more." It's not an argument that has an answer, no matter how loud someone screams.
But, then, ask the obvious follow-up question, "Who was the greatest SF interior artist of all time?" and listen. Only one name is stated. Virgil Finlay. There's no debate. He was and is the best black-and-white illustrator ever to work in the science fiction field. This book offers ample evidence of that.
Doug is a collector of pulp, science fiction and fantasy art, and he and his wife, Deb, have one of the largest collections in North America. He co-founded and co-organizes the Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention, whose art show has displayed thousands of vintage illustrations. For many years his Tattered Pages Press published the acclaimed pulp fanzine Pulp Vault, as well as other books on the pulps. He was one of the authors of The Adventure House Guide to Pulps, and has edited several pulp anthologies, including the acclaimed Best of Adventure series. His book, Uncovered: The Hidden Art Of The Girlie Pulps, an in-depth study of the spicy pulps and their art, was named ForeWord Magazine's 2003 Popular Culture Book of the Year. For the Comic & Fantasy Art Amateur Press Association, he producedVirgil Finlay: The Art of Things to Come, a very limited print run book reproducing much of Finlay's art from the Science Fiction Book Club's "Things to Come" bulletin.
’ATLANTIS‘ PRINT BY VIRGIL FINLAY: $25.00 each. Unsigned B&W print on acid-free paper. Run limited to the amount of people who order this Add-On (+ 6) and Premium.
FINLAY ENDORSED CHECKS: $40.00 each : This add-on (limited to 40 backers) includes a check endorsed by Virgil Finlay issued by Popular Publications or its affiliates, Fictioneers or All-Fiction Field, paying for work Finlay did for their pulps. (32 of 40 available)
TATTERED PAGES PULP PACK: $15.00 each: CONTAINS: 2 Hugh B. Cave fiction collections from Doug Ellis's Tattered Pages Press: The Dagger of Tsiang and Other Tales of Adventure (160 pgs, TP). and Escapades of the Eel (224 pgs, TP). $20 PUBLISHED PRICE (50 sets available)
AMERICAN FANTASY PACK: $75.00 each. CONTAINS: Signed edition of Darkside by Dennis Etchison, Signed leather-bound edition of Stalking the Zombie by Mike Resnick, Signed trade edition of Invisible Pleasures by Mary Frances Zambreno. Unsigned copy of A Walking Tour of the Shambles by Neil Gaiman and Gene Wolfe (Third Printing). $120 VALUE. (20 sets available)
AF FANTASY ARTISTS ADD-ON: $100 each: A copy of the signed, limited edition of THE DREAMTHIEF'S DAUGHTER an Elric novel by Michael Moorcock from American Fantasy Press. Illustrated and signed by a who's who of contemporary fantasy artists: B&W work by Donato Giancola, Gary Gianni, Robert Gould, Michael Wm. Kaluta, Todd Lockwood, Michael Whelan, and Randy Broecker. The restored cover art by Robert Gould. A Chesley-Award nominated full-color frontispiece by Don Maitz. All original to this edition. True 1st US edition of the novel.Also signed by Michael Moorcock. DISCOUNTED JUST FOR THIS KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN: $125 PUBLISHED PRICE (20 copies available)
Risks and challenges
We're putting together a very time-intensive and high-quality book. Something we haven't quite attempted at this scale before. The book needs to be at the printer in mid-August and there is still plenty of work to do. We are committed to getting this book done on time and at the World Fantasy Convention for the Centenary. Bob W., Doug and I have had to meet convention deadlines before, and we've always met them.
But of course, equipment can fail, files could get lost (though there are three backup files for each image in the book), any one of us could get sick and we would lose time. But so far, we're two months out and things are going smoothly.
We've put a modest goal for this Kickstarter. We could use 3 times that amount. (I would love to spend a week in New Hampshire doing press proofs). So there are reasons we would love to exceed the target, but no matter what we are dedicated to publishing the best book on Virgil Finlay, ever.
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