Monday, August 20, 2012

Under Cover: Bill, the Galactic Hero


Beginning in 1989, a six-volume series based on Harry Harrison’s Bill, The Galactic Hero was produced by Byron Preiss for Avon Books. Harrison wrote the first volume then collaborated with four others on the remaining books. The wrap-around cover art was by Michael W. Kaluta, Steve Fastner and Mark Pacella; Kaluta and Pacella also did the interior sketches. Below are the initial designs, sort of a patch, for the series title.



Byron met with the book’s editor and art director, and their feedback was noted on cover comp: “darker blue on logo / Harry too small / Bill sinking / too busy?”. At some point the decision was made to drop the patch design and replace it with an all-type treatment: Harrison’s name large at the top, and Bill’s name even larger. Below are the Futura family type segments used on the mechanicals to produce the printed mass-market paperback covers.


Volume 1: The Planet of the Robot Slaves
Harry Harrison; cover art by Michael W. Kaluta and
Steve Fastner; interior art by Michael W. Kaluta

Volume 2: On the Planet of Bottled Brains
with Robert Sheckley; cover art by Michael W. Kaluta
and Steve Fastner; interior art by Michael W. Kaluta

Volume 3: On the Planet of Tasteless Pleasure
with David Bischoff; cover art by Michael W. Kaluta
and Steve Fastner; interior art by Michael W. Kaluta

Volume 4: On the Planet of Zombie Vampires
with Jack C. Haldeman II; cover art by Michael W. Kaluta
and Steve Fastner; interior art by Michael W. Kaluta

Volume 5: On the Planet of Ten Thousand Bars
with David Bischoff; cover art by Mark Pacella
and Steve Fastner; interior art by Mark Pacella

Volume 6: The Final Incoherent Adventure!
with David Harris; cover by Mark Pacella
and Steve Fastner; interior art by Mark Pacella


(1925–2012)


(Next post August 22: Ray Bradbury’s Dinosaur Tales)

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