Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Andre Norton - Witch World Covers

If you haven't followed me here or at Black Gate for very long, you might not know I'm a fan of Andre Norton's sci-fi/swords & sorcery mashup series, Witch World. The first book, titled just Witch World, came out in 1963. It was followed by an immediate sequel, Web of the Witch World in 1964. I reviewed the latter here.

The following trilogy - Three Against the Witch World, Warlock of the Witch World, and Sorceress of the Witch World, tell the adventures of the three children of the original novels' heroes. I reviewed all of them at Black Gate and found them, if not as good as Witch World and Web, at least interesting and occasionally quite creepy.

The most interesting thing about these is the lack of artist continuity across the series and editions. I get not keeping with the first design for Witch World, but I would have kept it, emphasizing the pure pulpy goodness of the book. The later Jack Gaughan covers, more impressionistic, are excellent advertisements for the sort of monster-killing and spell-casting pulp inside.

I'm torn between saying the Philip Castle covers are bad and saying they're good. They are surprisingly connected to the actual stories, something covers are known for NOT doing many times. On the other hand, they're done in a really unremarkable airbrush technique that's both bland and garish at the same time. Every time I want to defend the aesthetics of the 70s, something like this comes along. Who at Tandem ever though those colors said "Pulp adventure inside?"

I love the Breslow art and wish he'd done covers for the whole series. He did a few others for the High Hallack Witch World books, but not all of them.

The Jeff Jones and Davis Meltzer covers are not bad, but a little bland and not especially specific to the books. The less said about the Jack Pound cover the better.

                            Jack Gaughan      J.H. Breslow      Philip Castle

                            Jack Gaughan      Davis Meltzer   Philip Castle

                            Jack Gaughan    Harry Borgman  Philip Castle

                           Jack Gaughan     J.H. Breslow      Philip Castle

                               Jeff Jones        John Pound        Philip Castle

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