Archive for Frank Kelly Freas

Close Up: Judgment Night

Posted in 1952, Close Up with tags , , on January 31, 2010 by Aaron

closeupC.L. Moore

Very striking cover art by Frank Kelly Freas graces this title.  When I first say the cover for this book I immediately thought of vampires.  I haven’t finished the title story yet, so I can’t say for certain, but there doesn’t appear to be any vampire involvement in that particular tale at least, though the freaky black koala with sea anemone hands is playing a part.

It’s so difficult and usually expensive to pick up a flawless Gnome Press book, there is usually some underlying problem that is either not mentioned or that can’t be adequately seen in a photograph.  I think I have maybe two or three that I would consider to be – for all intents and purposes – mint.  This copy certainly isn’t mint, but I mention it because of the disappointment I felt when I removed the dust jacket.

So, why a little deflated?  Well, if we look at the jacket pretty much as I saw it in the auction it looks pretty good.  And indeed it is.  I have seen copies around with jackets in worse condition than this for as much as three times the price I paid.  Anyway, lets see what the deal is.
As you can see, good initial impression, and this was the basis I picked this up on.  The logic being, that if the jacket is ok, the the rest usually follows.  Remove the jacket and the issue is revealed.
Need I say more.  The spotting is quite emphasized here in the picture – it doesn’t appear as bad in person – but it’s there nonetheless.  Note the staining along the bottom edge.  This occurs consistently on enough books to suggest that there is a common cause, and I don’t mean that someone spilled something on the bookshelf.  I think that maybe this stain comes from the oil on peoples skin that gets rubbed in to the bottom edge there with repeated reading.  Try this for yourself – the next time you are reading a book, take note of which part of the book gets the most worry from your hands.  I bet it’s the left hand on the bottom edge of the front board.
Other issues with this particular book – the boards are slightly bowed and the spine has a roll.  The spotting on the block is rather typical and not too much of an problem.

Overall, it doesn’t look very flash – rather untidy.  Let’s look at the spine extremities.
The jacket is pretty good all around.  No drama there.
Looking inside we can see the theme of general poor condition continuing.  Foxing and staining you can see.
Actually photographing it does highlight it a little more, but it’s still there nonetheless.
Just a little rubbing on the rear of the jacket there, but otherwise quite clean.

Year: 1952
Paid: $38
Art: Frank Kelly Freas
Quantity: 4000 copies
Binding: Blue boards with darker blue lettering on the spine.
GP Edition Notes: Currey ‘B’ binding.  1st edition so stated.
Comments: This copy has obviously not been abused physically as it’s pretty intact, but just careless storage, I would image, has led to the numerous problems like the bowed and spotted boards and the foxing.  Shame.
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database


Close Up II: Children of the Atom

Posted in 1953, Close Up, Comparisons with tags , , on July 13, 2009 by Aaron

closeupAs I mentioned in the original Close Up, I want to look closely at the two jackets I have for this book.  Both jackets are barely Good, but I’m not sure which is the better.  I’m just going to offer the two jackets up for closer analysis and any opinions would be most welcome.  Click the pics to see large size images.

The first jacket is the original – the one that came with the book.  We saw this in the first Close Up.
COTA01COTA01_inSomething I didn’t mention earlier is the existence of reinforcing tape on the inside.  Check it out.
Something else I didn’t mention was that cover artist Frank Kelly Freas’ name is misspelled on the rear flap – Frank Kelley Frease.  That’s something for the trivia section.

The second jacket was thrown in for me when I picked up ‘Travelers of Space’, ‘Five SF Novels’ and ‘Men Against the Stars’.  Thanks Matt.  Anyway, I’m not sure which is the superior, they both have similar defects, but I suspect the second jacket might be slightly better because there aren’t any holes, the edges are generally better and there’s no tape.  However, there is some slight discoloration on the second, most noticeable on the spine, and the jacket isn’t quite as bright.  Have a look.
COTA02What do you think?

Close Up: Children of the Atom

Posted in 1953, Close Up with tags , , on July 12, 2009 by Aaron

closeupWilmar H. Shiras

An in-demand Gnome Press title.  I got this as part of a package together with Heinlein’s Sixth Column and The Survivors by Tom Godwin.  I perhaps paid a little too much for all three, but was nevertheless satisfied with those acquisitions.  I have two dust jackets for this but we’ll compare them at a later date.  Here, we’ll look at the book in the jacket I received it in.  A few issues to inspect here, so lets check them out.
The general condition as you can see, is a bit on the poor side.  Minus the jacket though, this copy is still very good.
There is no Currey listing for this, so I don’t know about different bindings.  At a first edition printing of 5000 copies, it seems possible that there was more than one binding state.  Perhaps someone could help me out with regards to that.
You can see the general tatty nature of all edges of the jacket.  The spine is square though a little looser than I would like.  Nothing serious though.  The block shows some small dust-staining on the top, but the bottom is still nice and white.
Lets have a closer look at those issues.
General wearing and tearing at the head and tail of the spine, but the tail isn’t too bad.
The wrap-around on the top front shows a nasty tear and wear.
Let’s have a look further down the same edge.
A small hole there on the ‘s’ and note the tearing that is pretty consistent around the whole book.  Just above the hole is some black scuffing.
It’s taken a knock on the spine, two chips there with one completely out.
That’s probably my biggest disappointment with this jacket.  The back of the jacket is more or less the same as the front.
You can’t really make it out in the photo, but there is some discoloration on the jacket down the spine just next to where the front coloring starts.  But to finish on my favorite high with GP books, those lovely little touches.
See the little spheres??  Beautiful.

Year: 1953
Paid: $50
Art: Frank Kelly Freas
Quantity: 5000 copies.
Binding: Red cloth binding with darker lettering. No Currey listing.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: Nice to have this book, but shame about those chips and the general state of the jacket.
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database


Close Up: Five Science Fiction Novels

Posted in 1952, Close Up with tags , , on July 2, 2009 by Aaron

closeupMartin Greenberg, editor

There isn’t too much to make detailed comment about on this book.  It does have a few flaws, but they are very straightforward and readily apparent.  The book is quite thick, as is to be expected from a set of novellas.

Nice stylish cover if perhaps a little on the dull side.  I like the five spaceships representing the five novellas.  Cool.  Almost everything that is an issue with this copy is represented on the cover.
Small tears, a few nicks out and some general rubbing and that’s about it.  Pretty much the same on the rear of the dust jacket too which we’ll get to later.

No problems in the uncovered state except a little crimping of the spine at the head and tail. The boards are a little worn on the top and bottom edges too, but nothing serious.

The text block is only just a little discolored and you can see a stain there on the bottom.  The stain doesn’t travel up onto the pages.  The spine is still quite square.
You can see the chipping and general wear on the spine extremities.  Perhaps a little more than one would like, but hey, it’s not too bad…  except for this:
A substantial closed tear on the upper rear wrap-around.  The back is very similar to the front in terms of wear.

A couple of closed tears there under ‘East’ and at the top right.  A bit soiled in general too.  It’s all pretty harsh and obvious in examinations like this, but with the jacket protector on and in a normal viewing situation (general handling and on the shelf) it all doesn’t look that bad.
Year: 1952
Paid: $30
Art: Frank Kelly Freas
Quantity: 6500 copies – the second largest single print run for any Gnome Press book.
Binding: Brown boards with black shelf back.
GP Edition Notes: 1st edition so stated.
Comments: Nice book. The dust jacket is a little on the tatty side unfortunately. Not outlandish at $30 though.
Expand Upon:, Internet Speculative Fiction Database