Weird Tales Interview with Robert Weinberg
First off I like to say thank you Mr. Weinberg for finding time for this interview.
So thank you!
How did the new Virgil Finlay art book, "The Collector's Book of Virgil Finlay" come about? If my memory is correct, there were quite a few collections that came out back in the 1990s. How will this new collection be different?
Late in 2013, Doug Ellis, another art collector living in Chicago, and I were talking about our art collections and he mentioned how so few collectors and fans these days knew about the great artists from the science fiction magazines of the past. We immediately both thought of Virgil Finlay, perhaps the greatest science fiction artist of the 20th century, and yet mostly forgotten in the 21st. We decided then and there to do a Finlay book using our two collections as the basis for this new compilation. We recruited Bob Garcia, a friend and well known book designer to help us publish the book. Famed art collector, Gerry de la Ree, published six books of Finlay art back in the 1970’s, but only the first book was done using reproductions from originals. The rest of his books used publishers proofs for the art. As best we can tell, all other Finlay books have used the de la Ree books for their art. Our book will only use art reproduced from the originals. And, along with over 100 black and white illustrations reproduced from the original art, there will be 50 pages of color art as well.
You have quite a large collection of original Virgil Finlay art pieces don't you?
I own 100 Finlay originals; around 80 black and whites and twenty color illos. While I don’t believe it is the largest Finlay collection in the world, I think it is one of the largest.
How long did it take you to gather all those individual pieces together?
I started collecting art in August 1972, At first, I was only interested in paintings, but I soon realized that some of the finest art ever to appear in science fiction was interior illos done in black-and-white. I bought my first Finlay (for $15) in March 1973 and have been collecting Finlay art ever since.
There's probably no argument that Mr. Finlay was not only one of the greatest SF, Fantasy, Horror illustrators in general, but also the single greatest interior artist that any of these genres have ever seen. What would you say is the appeal to his work even after all these years and with fans who weren't even alive when these pieces were produced?
I think Finlay had the power to capture raw emotion and feeling in his art. His women are more beautiful than possible, his men were more heroic than imaginable. His monsters were both horrifying and beautiful. His space ships were dynamic yet possible. His art was the true art of the imagination. His art was, and is, exciting.
I was just over at the Kick-Starter page and saw that the book has received an amount of pledges that has exceeded the initial goal by almost 200%. And there are still 7 days to go!
Does this surprise you? Or where you expecting the over whelming success of the campaign, being that it is a collection of Virgil Finlay art?
Can I be slightly egotistical and say that I expected this book to be a success. I wish I could say I had a role in this, but I didn’t. Finlay was the greatest SF artist of the 20th century. I think fans agree with me and find it impossible to resist a book of his greatest art.
And to branch off into another topic. Weird Tales is celebrating it's 90th anniversary. And even though there have been some pauses and changes in publishers, the magazine is still alive. And I need to add that a great deal of Weird Tales longevity is entirely due to your efforts in championing the magazine , its stories and its history!
What would you like to see from the magazine and the genre in general that would help insure another 90 years of success and to keep weird fiction relevant?
I would like Weird Tales to continue being the home of great fiction that can’t find a home anywhere else. Let it continue in the path followed by its many talented editors over the decades. It can’t go wrong!
And is there anything that you would like to share with our readers and your admirers?
I just turned 68 and so far, it’s been an interesting trip. I’ve written 36 books, half fiction and the other half non-fiction. I also edited around 200 anthologies and written several dozen comics. I’ve won awards, published books, and kept Weird Tales afloat when no one else wanted to bother. Yet, despite it all, I’m not ready to retire. There are still books I want to publish, movies based on Lovecraft stories I’ve been working on I want to see on the big screen, and lots more. Life is an adventure. Don’t ever give up. Keep going!
And once again, I want to thank you very much for finding the time for this interview.
As I said above, my pleasure.
Bob Weinberg has worked as a science fiction & fantasy book dealer, writer, editor, and publisher. He sold nearly 150 short stories, 18 novels, 18 non-fiction books and several dozen comic book scripts. He’s also edited more than 200 anthologies. Bob owned Weird Tales magazine for over thirty years. He’s won 2 Bram Stoker Awards; 2 World Fantasy Awards; and 2 Society of Technical Writers Awards. In 2005, Bob was Guest-of-Honor at Robert E. Howard Days held in Cross, Plains, Texas. In 2006, he was Guest-of-Honor at the World Fantasy Convention held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2010, Bob was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association. In 2012, the World SF Convention presented Bob with a special award honoring his many contributions to the SF/fantasy field.
You can visit Mr. Weinberg HERE!!