Sunday, December 23, 2012

Venusian Venuses: NEL book covers from the seventies

Nice girlie images were a bit lacking in Agent Triple P's life in the early mid-seventies.  We were aware of our father's collection of Penthouse magazines but they were kept fairly inaccessibly in a cupboard in his study.  We enjoyed the bikini-clad girlies in the Sunday Express newspaper every week but they were, of course, in black and white (no colour pictures in UK newspapers then).

Richard Clifton-Dey

But our burgeoning appreciation of the female form was fed by the covers of many of the science fiction novels we enjoyed reading at this point.  We had just discovered Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian and Venusian stories, thanks to new editions by New English Library which had striking covers by many of the top SF artists of the time.  Even more striking were some of the exotic ladies enticingly featured on the covers although, sadly, the contents of the stories were not, of course, as exciting as regards women as the covers promised!

This one, also by Richard Clifton-Dey (d. 1997) was our favourite.  She looks lean and athletic and not like the overblown Playboy-style Barbies you get in fantasy art these days.  With the top one what we liked was her Paco Rabanne style metal plate skirt which has an excellent peek-a-boo factor!

These pictures spurred on Triple P's first attempts to draw naked women using both these and Sunday Express bikini beauties as source material.  We started to put them on the covers of our school rough books and did them in coloured biro as we had one of those ten colour ballpoint pens.  Green skinned maidens were our favourite!

In the future we will look at the equivalent covers from the Martian series.  We still have the original books up in our loft somewhere but they aren't very accessible.  Maybe over Christmas we will try to get them down and produce better scans.  We will also look at the next generation of naked lovelies we enjoyed on book covers for John Norman's breathtakingly sexist Gor series.

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