Thursday, June 23, 2011

Avon T-135 (1956)

Title : The Moon Pool
Author : A. Merritt
Cover art : Art Sussmann
  [N. Y. : Avon, 1956. No. T-135. 'Compete and unabridged.']

style ***
substance **
collectibility **

Art Sussman’s cover art for Avon T-135 is a good example of the stylized, collage-like, and vaguely expressionistic aesthetic favored by cover artists and art directors in the mid and late 1950s. If the present cover doesn’t quite have the Good Girl Art panache of the earlier Avon #370, it nonetheless can be appreciated as a well-heeled representative of the late vintage style. The cover of Avon T-135 also scores points by sneaking into the design a fully unclothed naked woman [1], which was pretty risqué for the 1950s, even within the science fiction context. At this late date Avon was still pushing the envelope! [2]

  [1] To be precise, and though the image is hazy, she seems to be wearing high heels, a curious adornment given the science fiction setting.

  [2] Avon Books always liked to test the limits of cover art decorum. Science fiction, and the Merritt novels in particular, gave them some of their best vehicles to do so. Along with Moon Pool, in the 1950s they published a series of Merritt sci-fi/fantasy novels which featured covers with scantily-clad or fully-unclad [if slightly obscured] heroines in peril -- The Ship of Ishtar, Dwellers in the Mirage, Metal Monster, and, perhaps most memorable of all, Seven Footprints to Satan. 

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