ERB, Inc. Authorized Venus Series Dust-jackets

THE FIRST of the ERB, Inc authorized dust-jackets are online and available. All four of the Venus series jackets have been reconstructed and cleaned up, with cover art from high-res photos and scans of the original art on two of the titles. Below are a few closeups of the work that was done and why the Recoverings reconstructions are the best reproductions you can find.

PIRATES OF VENUS

One of the benefits of my current association with ERB, Inc. is the access to their library of original art. For the first time ever, this jacket is produced from a high-resolution photo of the original J. Allen St. John painting. With this comparison you can see the difference between the quality of the actual, original dust-jacket with its heavy halftone dot and the much more detailed reproduction possible with today’s technology.

The original PIRATES jacket art.
The original PIRATES jacket art with yellowed varnish.
The restored PIRATES jacket art.
The restored PIRATES jacket art.

The art on the back cover was recreated from scans of the actual jacket for TARZAN AND THE CITY OF GOLD in order to get a much clearer representation, and the small halftone for the Apache Devil promo on the back flap was made from the original art.

The original back cover and back flap printing on PIRATES.
The original back cover and back flap printing on PIRATES.
The restored images.
The restored images.

 

LOST ON VENUS

Unfortunately, the cover art for this jacket was not available. I tightened up the image by overpainting and sharpened up the skull art on the spine as well. I worked with ERB, Inc to confirm the color of the green in the skull and the author name on the cover. The book image of TARZAN AND THE LION MAN was made from a scan of the actual jacket. Interestingly, the cover image on the promo and the actual jacket as printed are slightly different. I matched the look of the promo not the final dj. The small halftone of the klangan and Duare on the back flap uses the same file as the cover of PIRATES.

The original printing quality of the LOST back cover and back flap.
The original printing quality of the LOST back cover and back flap.
The restored art.
The restored art.

 

CARSON OF VENUS

The original art for this cover was burned badly in the infamous warehouse fire of 1958, so I worked from a jacket in my collection. The image of Carson on the spine of this book was shot as a halftone on the original, but that obscured the black line art somewhat so I decided to trace it. This, again, makes the image sharper and more detailed. I was also able to clean up a scan of the water damaged original John Coleman Burroughs illustration from TARZAN AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY, used on the back cover, and give it more detail and tone range.

On left: an enlargement of the original spine image; On right: the reworked art.
On left: an enlargement of the original spine image; On right: the reworked art.
On left: the original printing of the illustration; On right: the restored illustration.
On left: the original printing of the illustration; On right: the restored illustration.

 

ESCAPE ON VENUS

For some reason, the actual JCB painting for this cover shows Duare with blonde hair. On the original jacket she is shown with black hair. I worked on a scan of the painting and recreated the black hair with all highlights as shown on the published cover. I adjusted the color slightly to match the coloring on the jacket as well. Certain details, such as the water dripping off the Myposan soldier, follow the painting rather than what the photoengraver did on the original.

On left: The original dust-jacket printing; On right: The JCB painting.
On left: The original dust-jacket printing; On right: The JCB painting.
The restored cover art.
The restored cover art.

Even if you already have the original jackets for these books, you might consider getting these new reproductions for the added detail they contain. If you don’t have original dust-jackets for your Venus books, then these are the finest and most carefully produced versions.

I hope you enjoy them.

2 thoughts on “ERB, Inc. Authorized Venus Series Dust-jackets”

  1. Phil,

    The Venus series jackets look really great, and I’d really love to see an art print of the restored painting for Escape on Venus. This would provide a JCB art print of Venus and that DJ is one of his best paintings (the dark hair on Duare looks best).

    ERB Inc. should explore selling the movie rights to the Venus series. With ERB’s Venus being a lush jungle world with vast oceans and sea and sky monsters, I think they’d have s shot at success – assuming a script that makes the action look like a video game. Movies with video game like action sequences seem to be the ones that are big hits these days – Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers 4, Edge of Tomorrow, the Marvel hero movies, etc. All the action is similar to video games.

    Regards, Kenneth

    1. Thanks for the comment, Kenneth. I’d have to get permission from ERB, Inc. for an art print of the JCB art, but that might be a possibility. I’m glad you like the restoration!

      I’m pretty sure that ERB, Inc. would certainly be willing to license the rights to the Venus series if someone came up with a good script and production backing. They have usually been in the position of having to wait until someone comes to them. There was an independent company, a few years back, who had optioned the rights and did some work pre-production art for it, but they apparently couldn’t raise the backing to get much further. To those of us who read the books when the media possibilities were so much more primitive, having someone like Ray Harryhausen create a film based on either the Mars or Venus books seemed like a wonderful dream. These days there’s a lot more involved in getting a show that will sell — witness the lackluster performance of “John Carter” a couple of years back. At least with the Venus books there is the element of satire already built into the franchise, so that might work for it. Although smart humor is harder to come up with than corny snark.

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