Friday, September 25, 2015

Operation Afreet is Afoot!

If you've been following the comments to Hank Parmer's latest post (a study of P-51 Dragon Fighter, which is, I daresay, a far more exhaustive review than the filmmakers ever expected to receive, and every bit as snarky as they deserve), then you've learned much about Poul Anderson's Operation Chaos, a series of novellas which shares a superficial similarity to P-51 (dragons, witches, and other magical beasts doing their patriotic duty in World War II), and our friend Li'l Innocent's efforts to translate the tale into sequential art.

This part of Anderson's oeuvre was new to me, and I found the discussion fascinating; Li'l was kind enough to follow up with a little more background:

I found a scan of the 1950-something Fantasy & Science Fiction cover that Frank Kelly Freas did to illustrate Operation Afreet. It's almost abstract, and yet - in its ​SFish way - in the grand mid-century pinup tradition. There's no justification in Anderson's text for the lady's outfit! But I remember as a 12 year old grooving on the magazine, that the magical elements of the art fascinated me as much as the glamour aspects. Such a cool pictorial narrative teaser! 
I did a bit of research on Freas and was interested to learn that as a kid in his early 20s, he was an Army Air Force reconnaissance photographer in the Pacific Theater in WW2 -- and also painted pinups on bomber noses.

Anyway, I thought you and Hank might enjoy seeing this, in more ways than one!
Let me count the ways that I might enjoy this!  Mid-century pulp mag? Check! Busty, flame-haired, cat-suited sorceress with unnecessary spurs? Check! Actually, I better stop there...
I've dug out the presentation (book size) versions of my Operation Chaos pgs. Will take a bit o' scanning to reduce them to blog-postable jpgs. I'll let you know when they're on my Lady's Mantle blog.
Personally, I can't wait to see the images, and I'll post links as soon as they're up.


grouchomarxist said...

Whoo-doggies! And furthermore, rowr.

Nothing edifying to add to what Scott's already said, except to note how much I missed by being mostly acquainted with Freas through his somewhat more restrained paperback covers.

Dr.BDH said...

Kelly Freas was also a prolific illustrator for MAD magazine,second only to Don Martin in my ranking of that magazine's artists for the enduring images burned into my young brain.