As I have said elsewhere, my first encounter with Edgar Rice Burroughs was in the elementary school library in 1974. I was nine and I saw The Chessmen of Mars with a cover painted in 1973 by Gino D’Achille.
The eerily casual pose by the headless female figure, her back turned to us and a kaldane (that hideous spider thing) creeping towards her. That was too much for my young mind. I shuddered and turned away. It would be another four years before I ventured into ERB territory, and then to Tarzan with those great Neal Adams covers. It would take the more fantasy-oriented, brightly-coloured Michael Whelan to finally get me to read John Carter when I was in my mid 20s.
But that’s not to put down Mr. D’Achille. The covers were a bit more adult, a little more serious, and perhaps more realistic. And very well done.
I haven’t been able to gather a complete set of virgin art to include here yet, but I did find some of D’Achille’s roughs, and a piece of art direction he received for A Princess of Mars.
The rough was returned to D’Achille with these notes on the back (or he wrote the notes to himself during a review meeting) :
“Dejah must be red skinned and should be more covered – more jewelled harness. Green man must be taller, and skeletally thin.”