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(American, b. 1950)
Michael whelan portrait.jpg

“I have been interested in the imagery of fantasy since early childhood and all my artwork is, at its most fundamental level, about creating a ‘sense of wonder.’"    - Michael Whelan


The demand for Michael Whelan book covers dominated science fiction in the 1980s and helped boost book sales with his cover art alone. His style was a turning point from the surrealism of the 1960s and 1970s back to the classic fantasy illustration of earlier decades.


Whelan was exposed to science fiction books, magazines and movies at an early age by his father, who was an aerospace engineer and sci-fi fan. During the mid 1970s Whelan worked for DAW Books, Marvel Comics and Ace Paperbacks. His covers quickly became popular with readers and fans due to his heroic images and bold use of color. His fantasy paintings for the paperback reissue of the Elric series by Michael Moorcock are considered among the finest work ever created within the swords-and-sorcery genre.

Whelan’s covers for the Del Rey reissue of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars (Barsoom) series met with great enthusiasm from fans in the late 1970s. As one of the world’s premiere fantasy and science fiction artists, Whelan has created works for renowned authors such as Issac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Stephen King.


Michael Whelan - John Carter of Mars Cover Art
John Carter of Mars (1979)

Michael Whelan (American, b. 1950)

Acrylic on illustration board

Cover illustration for John Carter of Mars, the eleventh and final book in the famous Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs (Del Rey).


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