Here are two versions of the frontis drawing for THE SON OF TARZAN from ACE paperbacks. The one on the left is the published version. The original on the right is the first version. The difference is clear. The original version has more dramatic lighting. Frank uses the shadows to define the foreground and background. The published version eliminates this and relies on a very elegant and delicate line to render the scene, both foreground and background. Both versions are simply stunning.
Why did Frank not just publish the first version? Why draw another version? I strongly suspect that Donald Wollheim, then the editor of ACE books, concluded that the first version would be too muddy in print. The early ACE paperbacks were cheaply produced on the poorest quality paper. The linework would be compromised and the drawing would lose its elegance and become visually bottom heavy. Wollheim wanted something with cleaner lines that had some separation. Either way, both drawings are little masterpieces and it is quite nice that both versions exist.
Dr. Dave Winiewicz ©2008