Friday, July 4, 2008

A Few Found Frank Kelly Freas Illustrations, 1954 - '55

Frank Kelly Freas (1922 - 2005) worked professionally for over 50 years, almost exclusively in the realm of fantasy and science fiction.

Freas was one of those highly prolific artists who could 'crank out' work that was consistently good.

From the 1950's heyday of American sci-fi magazines like Astounding Science Fiction (later Analog) and If and on through the sixties and into the seventies, it seemed more likely than not to find his artwork on the cover or his illustrations inside.

Freas also did many painted covers for MAD magazine during their early years (after their comic-sized format), up until 1962.

The small smattering of images presented here are from 3 old sci-fi magazines I found recently;
The May and June, 1954 issues of If, and the December, 1955 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.

(click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)

◀ from
'Forsyte's Retreat',
by Winston Marks
(If, 5/54)

◀ from 'The Ties That Bind', by Walter Miller, Jr.
(If, 5/54)

◀ from 'The Skin Game', by Charles E. Fritch
(If, 5/54)

◀ from
'No Strings Attached',
by Lester del Rey
(If, 6/54)

◀ from 'The Holes and John Smith', by Edward W. Ludwig
(If, 6/54)

◀ (Astounding 12/55)

◀ from 'Breakaway',
by Stanley Gimble
(Astounding 12/55)

- These and other
Frank Kelley Freas images can be found online (with a little bit of work) at the extensive Freas bibliography located at The Internet Speculative Fiction Database

- See also: The Official
Frank Kelly Freas Website

◀ at left and below ▼ from 'Sand Doom',
by Murray Leinster (Astounding 12/55)


DJWildBill said...

The most astounding thing about the Astounding cover is that the bra is drawn upside down. Maybe that was a play into the "Sand Doom" article it accompanied and the nice gent in shades was approaching just to warn her of impending immodesty.

The only real problem with the Sci-Fi illustrations is that more often than not the drawing didn't quite match the storyline's textual descriptions. Since the artist was usually working with only a story outline, the writer would enhance the imagery differently than the artist. When I was a younger person this bothered me. Now, I'm too old to care... except that this nice lady is about to loose her top because she inadvertently put it on upside down. That still concerns me to this day.

DBAJones said...

WOW!!! I love this site!!!!!
I was searching for a fast way to relay on to my associates the great Kelly Freas cover for Oct. 1961 (i think) MAD, with the Headless Horseman by Freas...and found your blog!!
A treasure trove. Thanks. Back to work...still can't find the cover. I may have to get it from my storeroom...the harmonies of blue, purple, and glowing yellows and oranges against the black and the briars - the insane look in the eyes of the horse - it inspired me so much as a 6th grader. The color scheme's going into images I'm creating for the upcoming R2L web site.

I hope to see more of your blog later and exchange emails with you.
I met FKF once, and got to hang out with Kelly and wife Patsy in 1975 at the Phoenix World Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Comics Expo. Yes, I was a celebrity (almost) then. They paid me to do demos of makeup. A room, a meal and drink tab, and a paycheck. Couldn't beat that!
'Bye now.
Doug Jones

The In Crowd said...

Hey, dba Doug:

Thanks so much for your note. Glad you're enjoying the blog.

The MAD issue you're looking for is #59, from December, 1960.

There's a small image of it at the Doug Gilford MAD Cover site - -

(Also linked to in my sidebar here, under the 'Cover galleries' set of links)

Good Luck!

mike weber/fairportfan said...


If Kelly painted it, it existed and it worked; he was a stickler for accuracy and photo reference (see if you can find his story about the "Double Star" cover that featured an HO model of the "Royal Scot" and an actual descendant of William of Orange...)

Also, sometimes Kelly would let art directors fob him off with a summary, but when he could, he insisted on the full text to work from - and, with JWCjr at "Astounding" he got it.

Freshly-stirred links