Before there was a Boris Valejo or a Frank Frazetta, a young illustrator burst upon the scene taking teenagers collective breaths away. Classic, but innvoative, Virgil Finlay made a living illustrating and influencing generations.
Auburn Calif., Sept 27th 1937. Dear Virgil:… Your drawing for The Death of Ilalotha was quite good, I thought, especially in the rendering of the lamia and her monstrous shadow. I liked also the one for Psychopompos in the same issue of W.T. The Shunned House illustration in current W.T. is superb.
What better honor than from the pen of another amazing artist – Clark Ashton Smith!
Lovecraft was a big fan, and Finay of HPL. So much so, he drew him as a Lord of the Manor, periwig and all.
Lovecraft thought this was quite a hoot.
There seemed to be no job too small, as with this 1937 item.
As the years went on, was Finlay influential? Chrispy can’t ay for sure, but a clip form George Pal’s movie, War of the Wars (who was also a fan and freind of Walter Lantz, Woody the Woodpecker fame and aded several images of Woody in the film) looks uncannily like that illustrated by Finlay for Lovecraft’s Colour Out of Space. See for yourself.
Virgil Finlay faded from our world on January of 1971.
His fans missed him, as did his peers. Donald M. Grant’s Virgil Finlay was the first book devoted to the man and his work. It contained an appreciation by Sam Moskowtiz, and a checklist by Gerry de la Ree – de la Ree, a once-stalwart of Indie publishing and very influential would go on to publish six hardback collections of Finlay drawings starting with The Book of Virgil Finlay.