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J.W. Scott’s Sky Devils, Pt1

Link - Posted by David on October 11, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

HERE, at Age of Aces Books, we have featured a lot of great aviation covers by Frederick Blakeslee (Dare-Devil Aces, Battle Aces and Battle Birds), Eugene M. Frandzen (Sky Fighters and Lone Eagle), Paul Bissell (Flying Aces) and C.B. Mayshark (Flying Aces). You can add to that list J.W. Scott! Scott painted covers for practically every genre of pulp—sports, western, detective, science fiction and aviation. Most notable of his aviation covers are the ones he did for Western Fiction Publishing’s Sky Devils. The title only ran for seven issues. Scott was very adept at capturing people, so his aviation covers center on the pilots and gunners in the planes rather than the planes themselves for the most part. The issues contained no stories for these covers like other titles we’ve featured, but Scott’s magnificent work was just too good to not feature! And besides, he captures the action so well, you can imagine the story that goes with the cover he’s painted.

Here are his first two covers for Sky Devils—those for March and July 1938!


Sky Devils, March 1938 by J.W. Scott


Sky Devils, July 1938 by J.W. Scott

As a bonus, here is David Saunder’s biography of J.W. Scott from his extensive Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists website!

J. W. SCOTT
(1907-1987)

John Walter Scott, Jr. was born on December 1, 1907 in Camden, New Jersey. His father of the same name was a second generation immigrant from Scotland, and was a draftsman at the Camden Shipyard. His mother was Helen L. Scott, who was of Irish ancestry. They lived at 7 Wood Street, which was one block from the busy riverfront piers. He and his father were avid fishermen.

During the Great War his father rejoined the U.S.Army and attained the rank of Captain before dying in 1919.

His mother took a job at the La France Tapestry Mill in Philadelphia, and in 1923 at age fifteen, he left school and began to work at the same mill.

The mill operator offered free night school classes in various facets of mill work to his child laborers, including design at the La France Art Institute.

In 1930 he finished his art training and began to pursue a career in freelance illustration. He worked under the name “J.W. Scott” out of emulation for the well-known pulp artist “H.W. Scott” as well as to capitalize on any resultant confusion over his professional status.

In 1932 and age twenty-five, he moved to 390 First Avenue in New York City.

His first published pulp cover appeared on the July 9, 1932 issue of Street & Smith’s Wild West Weekly.

He sold freelance pulp covers to All Star Fiction, Best Western, Complete Western Book, Detective Short Stories, Future Fiction, Ka-Zar, Lone Eagle, Marvel Science Stories, Mystery Tales, Quick-Trigger Western, Real Sports, Star Detective, Star Sports, Top-Notch Western, Two-Gun Western, Western Fiction, Uncanny Tales, Western Novel and Short Stories.

By 1938 he joined an advertising agency and began to find work in slick magazines. He became friends with R.G. Harris and other New Rochelle illustrators. In the Fall he married Eleanor Snyder, a banker’s daughter and socialite, but the marriage only lasted one year. There were no children.

During WWII he served in U.S. Army Corps of Combat Engineers. His detailed field drawings were sent by his Lieutenant to the editors of YANK Magazine, and he was soon invited to work on their art staff. He eventually wrote several articles and was promoted to the editorial staff.

After the war Scott found slick magazine assignments with Coronet, Elks, This Week, and Woman’s Day.

In 1946 he married Flavia Bensing. She was also an artist, as well as the daughter of an artist, Frank C. Bensing. They moved to Ridgefield, Connecticut, where they raised two daughters.

In the 1950s he began to work for men’s adventure magazines, such as Argosy, True, and Sports Afield. He continued to produce illustrations for Sports Afield for almost two decades.

In the 1960s he was commissioned to paint several impressive murals for The Church of Latter Day Saints and The Petroleum Museum of Midland Texas.

In his final years Scott worked on easel paintings of the Old West.

According to the artist, “I paint the pictures I am interested in painting. Much of contemporary art is about people who think they are IN. The quickest way to lose yourself is to lose your individuality. The important thing is to be yourself and forget about being IN.”

John Scott died in the Danbury Hospital at the age of seventy-nine on October 20, 1987.

Check out David Saunder’s page for J.W. Scott at his excellent Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists site for more great examples of Scott’s work. And check back in two weeks for two more of Scott’s covers for Sky Devils magazine!

“Famous Sky Fighters, July 1938″ by Terry Gilkison

Link - Posted by David on January 13, 2021 @ 6:00 am in

STARTING in the October 1933 issue of Sky Fighters and running almost 5 years, Terry Gilkison’s “Famous Sky Fighters” was a staple of the magazine. Each month Gilkison would illustrate in a two page spread different Aces that rose to fame during the Great War.

Although Gilkison was probably better known for his syndicated newspaper work, he also provided black and white story interior illustrations for pulp magazines. His work appeared in Clues, Thrilling Adventures, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and Popular Western. Gilkison provided similar features in a few other Thrilling Publications—there was “Famous Soldiers of Fortune” and later “Adventure Thrills” in Thrilling Adventures, Famous Crimes” in Thrilling Detective, and the fully illustrated air adventure stories of Buck Barton “The Flying Devil” in The Lone Eagle! He signed most of this work with only his initials “T.G.” to maintain a low profile and preserve his reputation as a syndicated newspaper cartoon artist.

The July 1938 installment, from the pages of Sky Fighters, features Georges Thenault, Lt. Jimmy Bach, Mario Galderara, and Captain John H. Towers!

Next time in “Famous Sky Fighters”, Terry Gilkison features Major Jimmie Doolittle, Armand Pinsard, and Captain Bruno Loerzer! Don’t miss it!

“They Had What It Takes – Part 18: Glenn L. Martin” by Alden McWilliams

Link - Posted by David on February 21, 2011 @ 1:20 pm in

Age of Aces presents the eighteenth installment of Alden McWilliams’ illustrated tributes to the pioneer fliers of the early days of aviation. In the 16th part McWilliams chronicled the life of Capt. Edwin Musick, famed for piloting PanAm’s China Clipper. This week, McWilliams dotes on Glenn L. Martin, noted airplane designer and, in fact, designer of said China Clipper. Also an astute business man, he managed to guide his company to the forefront of the aviation business where it remains to this day as part of the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

“Hell’s Hangar” by Donald E. Keyhoe

Link - Posted by Bill on January 20, 2010 @ 9:26 pm in

Save for some strange, organ-like trills that had sounded from his radio,  Dick Knight’s flight had been uneventful. But Knight did not know that those weird tones he had heard were the ominous notes of an overture to a drama of death. Nor did he know that just five minutes before, a gaunt Prussian, with feverish eyes on a black clock, had whispered: “Five more minutes! Only five more minutes to wait after all these years!”