And I'm still a day behind. March 7th ( Saturday ) was Gray Morrow's birthday. Gray was one of those great old school illustrators who produced hundreds of book covers during his career, but occasionally ventured into comics too.
He had a lean, realistic style, and though his work looks great in black & white, it looked absolutely incredible in colour. He did loads of stuff for Warren & Joe Orlando's DC horror titles, but one of my favourite things of his was this book he produced for Byron Preiss:
Published in 1978, The Illustrated Zelazny contained adaptations of martian romance A Rose For Ecclesiastes:
Venusian monster tale The Doors Of His Face, The Lamps Of His Mouth:
Planet-hopping epic The Furies:
And a new adventure for Zelazny's fantasy character Shadowjack, along with some superb portfolio's. Morrow's work is stunning throughout, and his use of colour breathtaking.
Gray was a huge fan of the old swashbuckling movies of the '30's, like The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Prisoner Of Zenda. There's a great story in Twomorrow's book Streetwise, of Gray and a pal regularly going out into Central Park with a couple of foils, and practicing their fencing moves, usually before an appreciative audience of park goers.
One time, the two were swashbuckling away, when they noticed a distinguished looking gentleman watching them intently. Looking again, Gray realized his sword skills were being gauged by none other than Guy Of Gisbourne/Sherlock Holmes himself - Basil Rathbone!
Gray indulged his passion for swashing buckles with Orion, a fantasy epic that ran in Heavy Metal, and starred Errol Flynn as the lead character:
One of the last things he did in comics was the Orion like Edge Of Chaos, for Pacific.
Cruelly, Gray suffered from palsy, a disease that took from him the ability to draw, and in 2001, after months of despondency over his illness, Gray Morrow sadly took his own life.
Sudden Death (1977)
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