Working name of US artist, writer and astrologer Wayne Woodard (1914-1964). Inspired in his artwork by Maxfield Parrish and in his writing by A Merritt, HB produced work that was flamboyant and exotic. His illustrations began to appear in the fan press in 1934. Through his friendship with Ray Bradbury he secured work with Weird Tales, which published many of his covers and interior illustrations 1939-1951. He also appeared frequently in Astonishing Stories and Famous Fantastic Mysteries, and supplied nearly 30 covers for specialist Small-Press publishers 1942-1955. His style came closest to Edd Cartier's in terms of his ability to create unthreatening aliens. His black-and-white illustrations succeeded in conveying both the dark menace as well as the allure of otherworldliness. Although HB jointly (with Ed Emshwiller [1925-1990]) won the first Best Cover Artist Hugo Award in 1953, he more or less abandoned the fantasy field thereafter, instead drifting towards mysticism and Astrology and leading a bohemian lifestyle. After his death, his friend Emil Petaja (1915-2000) created the Bokanalia Foundation to promote HB's work, and has issued a number of portfolios including A Memorial Portfolio (portfolio 1970) and The Hannes Bok Memorial Showcase of Fantasy Art (portfolio 1974). Gerry de la Ree (1924-1993) compiled A Hannes Bok Sketchbook (graph 1976) and Beauty and the Beasts (graph 1978), and more recently Stephen D Korshak has assembled A Hannes Bok Treasury (graph 1994) and A Hannes Bok Showcase (graph 1995).
As a writer of exotic fantasy and sf, HB produced only six short stories and three solo novels. In all three novels, "Starstone World" (1942 Science Fiction Quarterly), The Sorcerer's Ship (1942 Unknown; 1969) and Beyond the Golden Stair (1948 Startling Stories as "The Blue Flamingo"; rev 1970) the hero is transported via a Portal to an Otherworld where Magic works. These tales are stronger in imagery and wordplay than in plot or characterization. HB also developed two fragments left by Abraham Merritt into novels: The Fox Woman and the Blue Pagoda (1946) and The Black Wheel (1947), both involving spirit Possession and the fulfilment of a Quest. HB's poetry, equally exotic, has been collected by Petaja as Spinner of Silver and Thistle (coll 1972). [MA]
further reading: And Flights of Angels (1968) by Emil Petaja; Bok – A Tribute to the Late Fantasy Artist on the 60th Anniversary of his Birth and the 10th Anniversary of his Death (anth 1974) ed Gerry de la Ree.
Hannes Vajn Bok, born Wayne Woodard