“Cartography of a nowhere-land”: Patrick Woodroffe at Warren

« That minuscule ogre on the throne
must be the King. What a peculiar little man. »

In 1978-79, the rightly-celebrated English fantasy artist Patrick James Woodroffe (b. Halifax, West Yorkshire, on October 27, 1940; d. May 10, 2014), fresh from his high-profile paperback (much Moorcock!) and album cover assignments (including Judas Priest’s splendid Sad Wings of Destiny), hired out his talented brush with Warren Publishing long enough to produce ten covers, a varied, eye-catching and often unusual lot. Let’s make the rounds, shall we?

« He isn’t a *bad* sort. He just lets his temperamental gonads get the best of him! » Using a laser rifle on a dragon? Hardly seems sporting, does it?


Here we make the acquaintance of a memorably omnidextrous lepidopteran gunner. This is Creepy no. 102 (October, 1978). Read the entire issue here: https://archive.org/stream/warrencreepy-102/Creepy_102#page/n91/mode/2up
One of Warren’s post-Star Wars, all-reprint cash grabs of the era… but it’s got a Woodroffe cover.
Eerie no. 98 (January, 1979) Likely the darkest of the set in terms of subject matter. Visually, it certainly brings to mind the visual vibe of John Carpenter’s They Live, still nearly a decade away.
Interestingly, the piece has also made the rounds, in a modified version (flipped, for one thing), as a “black light” poster titled  « In the Name of the Law ». Speaking of the law, was the artist duly compensated?
Don’t mess with the Surly Smurf! This dusky scene is dated 1975, so it’s safe to assume it wasn’t created expressly for this publication. This is Warren’s 1984 no. 5 (February, 1979.) Aside from the usual sex fantasies and space operetta from the usual suspects, the issue holds a single nonpareil gem, Nicola Cuti’s  « I Wonder Who’s Squeezing Her Now? », gorgeously brought to life by Ernie Colón and Wally Wood. Bear with me, we’ll return to it in due time.
« You may think this all strange nonsense; it may be strange, but it is true, and the ancients knew what lifting the veil means. They called it seeing the god Pan. »  — Arthur Machen
With his second and final Creepy cover (no. 110, August, 1979), Woodroffe lifts the veil, and how, on a troubling closeup of a gleefully sinister Greek God of the Wild.
« Well, if that ain’t about the unfriendliest thing I’ve ever heard of… » 1984 no. 7 (August, 1979.)
Aw, missed your ride home. This is 1984 no. 9 (October, 1979.)
As it turns out, one couldn’t have picked a better artist to depict « the cumbrous hands of a deformed, spastic little twit », though he seems like a sweetheart, really. On this whimsical note ends our survey of Mr. Woodroffe’s Warren covers. This is also the last issue of 1984 under that title; it would leap a decade ahead to “1994” and carry on for another nineteen issues.


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