The Best Of The Worst
The Internet Speculative Fiction db (isfdb.com) attributes this to H.J. Ward citing Robinson, Weinberg and Broecker’s Art of Imagination. Do you have a competing source?
I honestly can’t remember where I got the William Soare tag from, but I usually trust ISFDB. Tags updated.
This is neither Ward nor Soare. It’s Delos Palmer.
Of course, no one will believe me that’s it’s Palmer. David Saunders has it listed on Soare’s web page as William F. Soare at Pulp Artists dot com. Everyone will take his opinion over mine, of course.
David Saunders knew William F. Soare’s son and got access to his father’s collection of proof sheets. That’s why he calls this cover a Soare and not a Palmer.
Saunders says that Palmer was a technically inferior artist to Soare when it comes to color schemes, composition, anatomy, and volumetric illusion. I absolutely agree with that assessment. This is one of the reasons why this cover appears to me to be a Palmer and not a Soare. It’s not up to Soare’s standards by any measure.
Soare’s work on the Spicy pulps was one of sharp, clear cut lines, great detail and polished colors (the porcelain effect). The above cover is blended, just like Palmer did his Spicy covers, not sharp, like Soare.
Saunders’ good friend Hames Ware used to say, “Always look at the hands! That is where you can see the differences between artists!” And I again would agree with that assessment, except that when I look at the hands of the above cover’s female character, they look like how Palmer painted a woman’s hands on the Spicy’s, not like Soare painted them on his Spicy covers. In fact, even the shape of the woman’s head is like Palmer did his female heads; also her eyelashes and hair are Palmeric. Heck, even the skeletons look Palmeric, in that their lines are blended, not crisp like Soare does. The whole image is blended, in fact.
Also, the background has wispy smoke, just as Palmer loved to add to his covers. Soare’s skills certainly were sufficient to imitate the Palmer style, but why would he do so? It’s very confusing. I would love to see those proof sheets Saunders said he saw. …
Haha! Looking over this cover again (Ghoul’s Nightmare) and comparing it to Gunslick Hellcat and also to I am a Monster, I see that Delos Palmer once again re-used the very same poses, as usual. There is no way in hell that Soare did this. I’m now ready to put down money on this one being Palmer. I don’t know what David Saunders saw in those proof sheets, but whatever it was, should he bring it forth, he will see that he made a mistake and that it doesn’t prove that Soare did this cover.
To demonstrate that I’m right on this, let anyone review these three covers I’ve named, side-by-side: Ghoul’s Nightmare, Gunslick Hellcat and I am a Monster. I will walk anyone through the comparison:
Palmer has all three female characters in the very same pose. Right leg up, left leg down. Same lighting on the left leg (look at the shading–its EXACTLY the same on all three legs). Notice the hips of all the ladies: it’s all the same shape. Notice the shape of the abdomen, small of the back, belly and rib curves: it’s all the same. Now, and here’s the kicker, notice the woman’s breasts on Ghoul’s Nightmare and compare her breasts to the breasts of the woman of Gunslick Hellcat: it’s an EXACT copy of the shape. The left breast of each woman is exactly the same and the right breast of each one is also just the same. If you were to take both paintings and superimpose them, matching them up at the breasts, you would find that the lines of the breasts are the SAME. Now, look at the left hand of the woman on I am a Monster and look at the right hand of the woman on Ghoul’s Nightmare. The hands are the same, even to how the fingers are spread. Palmer apparently loved to paint the same cover, and just made variations on the same theme.
So, I am going to put this one to rest. I’m now fully convinced this is Palmer. I’m going back to telling everyone that this is Delos Palmer and should anyone tell me otherwise, I’ll just say, “Prove me wrong.”
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