Thursday, March 30, 2023

Cover Only! Teen-Age Romances, March 1955 and The American Weekly, June 16 1940

Matt Baker, Teen-Age Romances March 1955.  A masterpiece.  Maybe my favorite Baker piece of all time.  And that's saying something.  The looks on their faces, the fall scene - this is a complex and simple piece of romantic poetry without a single word.  Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.

You can get a better look on my Flickr feed here.  

Flicker is mostly where I'll be sharing cover only work along with some of the key images from new and old scans (because, have I mentioned, Blogger images suck? At least click on them for a halfway decent look, the unclicked embedded images can be hard on the eyes). 

If you look in the details of covers I share on Flickr, you can find a mediafire link to the full scan.  When there's no link, you know, cover only :I

Cover only. The bane of the magazine scanner.  The eBay search you've had for years finally hits paydirt.  There's that little thumbnail image so full of promise.  I bet there's a lot of pulp collectors out there as efficient as I am in combing through eBay search emails and in crafting ebay search strings.  I can look through pages of thumbnails at mach speed and tell instantly the rare occasion I've actually hit a target.  And - once in a while - you see that magazine you've been hunting for years, decades even.  You click it, and there's those dreaded words, cover only.  What moron cut the cover off this magazine #%@#*!!!

Well, somebody must not have felt the same way about it as I do.  I'm looking to scan an issue front to back.  The cover cutter may be more interested in framing a little bit of art or may be just a pin-up enthusiast, bless his heart :I  

Usually magazine collectors don't go for just the cover, but in rare cases we do - when that  piece of art is just so tempting that we don't even care about the rest.

I've tried to be pretty good about listening to the little scanning angel on my shoulder that tells me, "don't just scan the cover, you've got this mag out of the bag, and the cover is just your reward for the rest.  Preservation first, man." 

These past couple weeks, though, the little devil on my shoulder has been whispering other naughty, wonderful things in my ear, "just the cream, Darwin, ooh, and how about that one and that one and that one and that one..."

Going forward, I'm going to follow the muse a little better than I have in the past when it comes to working with cover images.  If I have a cherry squarebound issue I don't want to subject to the glass, I'll restore the cover and some other scanner can scan their beater copy for the rest. It's OK I'm a cover hound.  I'll just keep it in check.

The first image above isn't quite like that.  Gentleman goldenage scanner Snard did a number of sweet Baker issues for the JVJ project at the Digital Comics Museum way back when and allowed me to grab a couple of raw .tif files from his DC++ share for my own purposes.  Ten years later, I've finally gotten around to the restoration, and it is absolutely glorious.  

I told a friend today my number one piece of advice in cover restoration is to start with a good copy.  The textures are sharper, the colors more vibrant, etc. and the amount of time you save with a high grade copy is enormous.  However, it's not like you get your choice of copies when it comes to valuable or scarce scan targets, and the copy JVJ graciously allowed us to scan was decidedly not mint.  For a gem like this, I'm happy to to go the extra mile.

Another martini, bartender! Cover only.  Henry Clive for The American Weekly, June 16 1940:

Get a better view on Flickr here.

Henry Clive.  Australian born, American master.  Summer Honey. Luscious, indeed.
Art director for Charlie Chaplin and star villain in City Lights. Glamor artist extraordinaire. 

More on Clive in later posts, I promise.

Another new restoration. Clive's American Weekly covers are incredible if difficult scan targets.  In this format, the scan requires an A3 scanner and likely dealing with at least one fold and joining multiple images (at 22 inches tall and 16 inches wide it won't even fit on an A3) but look at the payoff.  As time went on, The American Weekly went to a smaller but still impressive size.  I've got a handful of these by Clive (and others) and will do at least one representative issue but likely a number of cover only scans.  The American Weekly is an incredible trove of American illustration, finding a flat copy with no folds is almost as rare as the dodo.

Tomorrow, keeping up my pace of a post a day which I intend to keep until I've gained some of my old readership back, two more cover only scans and maybe a second quick post of something from the archives.  I have so many old scans that never made it out here on the open web, I could blog them for years.  I'm all about the new projects, though, so I'll be mixing in some more expedient posts when it comes to some of my past scans as I try to get them up here and at the IA in an orderly fashion.


Pmack Scans said...

Aaaaaaayyyyyyyooooo! Welcome back! Looking forward to more of your great scan/editwork!

darwination said...
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darwination said...

Pmack! Looking through old Atlas scans, I've recently been thinking about you and Gambit and the rest of the workmanly scanners dutifully collecting and scanning your way through Atlas, an absolutely exemplary scanning project. I've got some of my favorite Atlas romance covers that we worked on going up at Flickr once in a while. Good shit!

I've got some magazine edits I did for Mal I was just was looking at that really crack my ass up.

People don't really realize the long and varied history involved in the Goodman pubs, it stretches way back and even parallel to more famous happenings of characters in tights.

Those Atlas comics deserve huge praise apart from anything else that happened at Marvel later on.