Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Finds: “A Journey to the
Center of the Earth”

Another in our growing line of vintage book covers we love.

A Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne (Scholastic, 1966). Illustration by Mort Künstler.

This paperback was the first edition I read of Jules Verne’s classic 1864 science-fiction tale about a most fantastical expedition to Earth’s mysterious core, via a descent through an extinct Icelandic volcano. But it wasn’t until recently that I learned its cover was painted by American artist Mort Künstler, who just today celebrates his 84th birthday. Künstler is recognized these days for his historical imagery, but he used to be better known for the cover and interior illustrations he created for men’s magazines, many of which featured curvaceous young women in noteworthy states of dishabille.

Künstler’s art for A Journey to the Center of the Earth is unquestionably dramatic, with its gargantuan geological features--dwarfing Frenchman Verne’s human explorers--illuminated by what the reader can only assume are fires raging deep within our planet. However, there are none of his signature lovelies on either the front or back of this volume. If you would like to enjoy some of those, you’ll want to click here.

READ MORE:Po-Man Talks with Artist Mort Künstler,” by Chris Poggiali (Temple of Schlock).

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