Tuesday, May 5, 2009

RON TURNER: A PAST MASTER OF SCIFI ART


One of the best illustrators in the world of children’s comics and scifi novels from the 1930s to the 1990s was the British artist Ron Turner. His work seems to be relatively little known, compared to the likes of today’s Dave Gibbons (Watchmen) and yesteryear’s Frank Hampson (Dan Dare), but Ron's hugely long illustration career was evidence of how the publishing community respected his work.

A bold, economical style gave all his art a totally unique look, and I have bought books over the years on the strength of his cover-art alone. Ron illustrated a pocket-sized series called Rick Random Space Detective, and ten of these tales are now bound up into the super-thick single volume shown in the picture above.

To be honest, the storylines are pretty ordinary, but the art is there for looking at over and over again, though one of the adventures is drawn by... ‘someone else’. The art in this one is functional enough, but serves mostly to show just how vibrant Ron’s art was. Rick Random is available from Amazon and is terrific value at the moment, at £8.99 ($13.36). The insides are mono, but the cover has been specially tinted by John Ridgeway, one of today’s best graphic story colourists.

The wonder of the internet never ceases to amaze me, for - treat after treat! - there’s a huge Flikr gallery of Ron’s covers here. It’s droolworthy stuff indeed. Sad to say, Ron died in 1998.

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