Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Tale of Two Michaels: Michael Moorcock's Vanishing Tower with Illustrations by Michael Whelan

It's been a while since I've posted so I thought I'd publish a few scans of a book I picked up last year at Dragon*Con. Those of you who know me know that there are a few things that really cause me to brighten up - this particular item is a combination of several of them: 1.) I love books, especially signed, limited editions; 2.) One of my favorite authors is Michael Moorcock - I own over 100 editions of his novels in various publication forms; 3.) One of my favorite authors is Michael Whelan. Now I must admit that I already own a copy of this book - in fact the reason I showed up at Michael Whelan's booth at Dragon*Con was to get my edition signed.

First a bit about the book - this edition of "The Vanishing Tower" was published by "The Archival Press" in 1981. It's the second Michael Morcook volume from the publisher - the first (which I also own) was "Elric of Melnibone" done in a dark blue but otherwise similar fashion (leather with slipcase and illustrations - in the "Elric" books case done by Robert Gould). "The Vanishing Tower" is done in red.  Each edition is lavishly illustrated - not your typical sketchy drawings but full, nicely done renderings. Besides the black-and-white interior illustrations there's a nice full-color painting printed on one of the first pages with a glassine cover-page for protection. The copy I owned is/was immaculate and now signed by both Moorcock and Whelan.

Slipcase Painting (also used for interior painted print)
The book itself has gilt printing on red leather.

"The Vanishing Tower" by The Archival Press
And finally, the pencil illustration by Michael Whelan:

I won't relate how much I paid for this, but for me, this was indeed a prize worth having. I never dreamed of actually owning a Whelan original, so this entirely made my Dragon*Con attendance for 2011. His paintings more than anything else inspired me to read the DAW editions for Michael Moorcock's books. Check out Michael Whelan's work on his website,

-- John

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