Wednesday, December 7, 2011

R.I.P. Darrell Sweet

One of my favorite scifi/fantasy mags is Black Gate. They cover all fantasy, from 80s role-palying tie-ins to the pulps to 60s science fantasy, and they do so with unabashed love. I found out from their site that cover artist Darrell Sweet passed away.

Sweet is the kind of person who made people read fantasy in the 80s. After all, the cover is what you see first. He came from the school when fantasy covers were gorgeous, detailed, colorful and blatantly, happily fantastical. Along with the Hildebrandts and Elmore, this guy pretty much set the standard. His portfolio is a treasure trove of halflings, dragons and magic swords. They let you know you were in for adventure. Seeing his covers on the shelves were the reason why I read series like the Deryni books.

Here's Black Gates tribute, which is far more eloquent than anything I could put it. Please, please look into his work if you have not already. I feel lucky to have grown up in a time when every fantasy book was blessed with a beautiful painting for a cover, and Darrell Sweet was at the top of the heap. R.I.P.

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