In the heart of downtown Bend is a wonderful “pop culture” store called Pegasus Books. Owner Duncan McGeary is an author and a friend who has managed to make a living and a career out of his youthful enthusiasms.
Pegasus Books is something of an anomaly and an anachronism in the hipster heart of 21st Century Central Oregon. He was there long before the downtown core got urban renewed and it’s always fun to see passers-by walk in and watch their eyes turn into saucers as they’re hit in the face with comics and shelves packed with fantasy novels, mysteries and fantasy art books — all sorts of stuff that has tripped Duncan’s trigger since he was a teenager.
It’s not the coffee-tea-and-literature experience they’re expecting — and which they can find a couple of doors down. Pegasus Books is a throwback den of pulpy goodness.
I paid an overdue visit there last week, and perused the shelves. Featured there was a new compendium of the work of one of the masters from the golden age of paperback fantasy art — Manuel Perez Clemente, aka Sanjulian.
Sanjulian: Master of Fantasy Art is a lush coffeetable book serving up steaming chunks of that avidly-sought pulpy goodness in high quality and vivid color.
Master of Fantasy Art he may be, but the Spaniard also painted a lot of Western covers — and he brought the same pulpy sensibility to bear on his frontier subjects. That includes a large helping of female pulchritude. Sanjulian’s West is a sexy place.
But we all know what sells, and Sanjulian clearly likes his wimmin…
Sanjulian’s fellow Spaniard Luis Royo is also featured in several collections available at Pegasus Books. Also a fantasy artist, Royo is best known nowadays for his erotica. He and his son painted the ceilings of some Russian oligarch’s Moscow pleasure palace with all sorts of sapphic delights.
In the 1990s, though, he had a major run as the cover artist for Richard Wheeler’s excellent Skye’s West series of novels featuring Barnaby Skye, a British sailor turned mountain man and guide.
For a while there, Royo was a go-to artist for romanticized and sexualized covers for a variety of frontier fiction. Something about those Spaniards…