Huckleberry Finn by Barye Phillips

Barye Phillips was an American painter and illustrator of pulp magazines and paperbacks. In the mid 1940s, he was the illustrator of several comic strip adaptations of literary classics for the 'Famous Fiction' newspaper feature by the Bell Syndicate.

Early life and career
Barye Winchell Phillips was born in September 1905 in Fort Lee, New Jersey. He attended the National Academy of Design and The Art Students League of New York. He was a bullpen artist for the advertising department of Columbia Pictures until he was drafted in 1943. During World War II, he illustrated training booklets and propaganda material for the US Army Engineers Publications in Fort Belvois, Virginia. Phillips began painting paperback covers around 1945 and was very prolific throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. As a result, he is often referred to as "The King of Paperbacks". He worked for several publishers in varying styles, most notably for Fawcett's Gold Medal Books collection and the original 'James Bond' paperbacks by Signet Books. He also painted covers for the Popular Library, Bantam Books, Cardinal Books, Dell Books, Royal Books and Pocket Books, and provided interior illustrations to the book 'A Treasury of American Ballads. Gay, Naughty, and Classic' (1957), compiled by Charles O'Brien.

Cover art by Barye PhillipsCover art by Barye Phillips

Famous Fiction
Between at least 1944 and 1946 he was the artist of the 'Famous Fiction' newspaper feature for Bell Syndicate. Most episodes are attributed to Chad Grothkopf, although he was presumably only the writer. In the 1944-1946 period several episodes carry the signature "Barye" or "Phillips". It is believed that Phillips has at least illustrated adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue' (July-August 1944), Washington Irving's 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' (September-October 1944), Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (October-November 1944), the Arabian Nights tale 'The Fisherman and The Jinni' (November-December 1944), Grimm's 'Hansel and Gretel' (December 1944-January 1945), Robert Louis Stevenson's 'Treasure Island' (February-March 1945), Robert Louis Stevenson's 'The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde' (April-May 1945), the Persian tale 'Sinbad the Sailor' (May-July 1945), 'Huckleberry Finn's Trip down the Mississippi' (July-September 1945), Mark Twain's 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court' (September-November 1945), 'Aladdin and the Magic Lamp' (November-December 1945), the myth of 'Theseus and the Minotaur' (January-February 1946) and Mark Twain's 'The Wonderful Story of King Arthur' (March-May 1946).

Death and legacy
He died of colorectal cancer in New York City in 1968, at the age of 63. Milton Caniff mentioned Barye Phillips in his 'Steve Canyon' strip of 2 June 1963, in which Steve shows Summer Olson a painting made by Phillips in Libya, called 'The Spectactors'.

Barye Phillips mentioned in Milton Caniff's 'Steve Canyon' strip
Barye Phillips mentioned in Milton Caniff's 'Steve Canyon' strip.

Pulp cover illustrations by Barye Phillips

Series and books by Barye Phillips in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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