Margaret Brundage

Margaret Brundage, born Margaret Hedda Johnson (December 9, 1900 – April 9, 1976),[1][2][3] was an American illustrator and painter who is remembered chiefly for having illustrated the pulp magazine Weird Tales. Working in pastels on illustration board, she created most of the covers for Weird Tales between 1933 and 1938.

Margaret Brundage

Early life

Brundage was born in Chicago, Illinois, of Swedish and Irish ancestry. Her father, Jonathan E. Loutitt (later Loutit) died when she was eight years old; she was raised by her mother (Margaret Jane Loutit Johnson) and grandmother Margaret (Houston) Loutit, for whom she was named, in a Christian Science household.[4] Both her parents had come to Chicago from the Orkney islands off the coast of Scotland. Brundage's mother remained both a widow and a devout Christian Scientist for the rest of her life, and supplemented their income by instructing beginning Christian Science disciples.[4]

Margaret Hedda Johnson graduated from Girard Grammar School and attended McKinley High School in Chicago, where, coincidentally, Walt Disney was a classmate. ("I finished; he didn't," she later remarked.) She graduated from McKinley in 1919. As editor of the high school newspaper, Margaret Johnson was able to tell Walt Disney whether or not she would include any of his drawings in the McKinley newspaper.[4] Immediately after high school, Margaret worked providing illustrations for Chicago newspapers - she would draw fashion designs in both colour and in black-and-white, from ideas and descriptions provided by an agency.[4] Her education continued at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, 1921–23, (where Disney once again was her classmate); she later stated that her failure to graduate was due to her inept lettering though she continued her freelance work for the agency while she completed her coursework. During this period - Prohibition - Margaret also worked at the Dill Pickle Club, a bohemian speakeasy affiliated with the Wobblies, where she met a sometime decorator and house painter nicknamed "Slim" due to his spare frame. This was Myron Reed Brundage, a notorious womaniser.[4]

In 1927, she married Myron "Slim" Brundage in Chicago. Brundage was a former hobo, a man with tendencies toward radical politics and alcohol; they had one child, a son, Kerlyn Byrd Brundage (born 27 August 1927; died 1972), always called "Byrd".[4] The marriage was not a success, and ended in divorce in 1939.


In 1932 Brundage was looking for more work, and found herself at the office of Farnsworth Wright, then editor of Weird Tales. Brundage began working for Wright by doing a few covers for his side publication Oriental Stories, later known as The Magic Carpet. Wright was so impressed with these that he hired Brundage to draw for Weird Tales. Over the period from 1933 to 1938, Brundage executed cover art, first for then, famously, for Weird Tales. She was the most frequently-appearing cover artist on Weird Tales during her stint with the magazine. Her first cover appeared on the September 1932 issue; she created covers for 39 straight issues from June 1933 to August 1936. Her last original cover was for the Jan. 1945 issue, for a total of 66 original-artwork covers. (The total of 67, often cited in sources, includes a repeat of that final 1945 cover on the November 1953 issue.) She was paid $90 per cover—enough to support herself, her son, and her invalid mother (died 1940) in years when her husband contributed nothing to the family's survival. From 1936 through 1938, Brundage often alternated with others as cover artist; Virgil Finlay was her chief competitor.

Brundage's art frequently featured damsels in distress in various states of full or partial nudity; her whipping scenes were especially noteworthy and controversial. Her sensual images usually illustrated scenes from the pieces chosen by editor Farnsworth Wright as cover stories; her work was so popular among readers that some WT writers, like Seabury Quinn, cannily included scenes in their stories that would make good Brundage covers, since cover feature stories earned their authors more money.

Pulp covers were notorious for their explicit content, and Brundage’s were no exception. Since she signed her work "M. Brundage", many of the magazine's readers were unaware that the artist was female. (Complaints about the erotic nature of her work increased after October 1934, when editor Wright revealed that the "M." stood for "Margaret," that the artist was a woman.) After 1938, when the magazine's editorial offices moved from Chicago to New York City, a new 'decency' standard was imposed (primarily through the efforts of then-mayor of New York Fiorello La Guardia) on pulp magazines sold at newsstands, and the nude or semi-nude young women that had been the primary subjects of Brundage's covers were out. Practical problems with shipping Brundage's fragile pastel art from Chicago to New York also diminished her appeal to the editorial regime that followed Wright's 1940 departure.

She continued to draw after her relationship with the magazine ended, and appeared at a number of science fiction conventions and art fairs, where some of her original period works were stolen. Yet she never fully recovered financially from the loss of regular work at WT; her later years were spent in relative poverty. She continued to work until her death.


Oriental Stories Spring 1932
Brundage also did illustrations for Oriental Stories in the early 1930s.

L. Sprague de Camp is often quoted as claiming she used her daughters as models, but Brundage had no daughters. De Camp himself debunked the claim at one point, writing "About Margaret Brundage's luscious babes on the covers of Weird Tales, a rumor was once rife that Mrs. Brundage used her two daughters as models. Later she said she had no daughters and that, since she couldn't then afford professional models, she cut pictures from magazine advertisements for models. Hence the ubiquitous coiffures of the early 1930s."[5] The claim had previously been refuted by Robert Weinberg, an authority on pulp magazines, who wrote in the letters page for Savage Tales magazine, No.5 (July, 1974), "much as I hate to discredit a good story, WT cover artist Margaret Brundage did not have a daughter who posed for her. As Mrs. Brundage lives in Chicago and I have interviewed her, this is straight from the artist's mouth."

L. Sprague de Camp described the typical subject of her pictures as "naked heroines being tortured, raped, and disemboweled"; Forrest J. Ackerman similarly wrote of "Margaret Brundage, with her titillating pulchrinudes on the covers of Weird Tales: naked ladies being sacrificed, semi-clad heroines being menaced by all manner of monstrous beings."

Clark Ashton Smith was sharply critical of her illustrations. In December 1933 he wrote to H. P. Lovecraft: "The current W.T. design, though pleasing enough in color, is curiously suggestive of a Christmas card! [...] Mrs. Brundage [...] has about as much genuine feeling for the weird as a Jersey cow is likely to possess. The best angles in this picture (the hands of the Chinaman, etc) seem to have been swiped by unconscious cerebration from Utpatel's drawing for 'The Star-Spawn' by Derleth and Schorer." On September 9, 1937, he wrote to R. H. Barlow: "Query: why does Brundage try to make all her women look like wet-nurses? It's a funny, not to say tiresome, complex."


  1. ^ "Catalog". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  2. ^ "Margaret Brundage". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  3. ^ "Authors : Brundage, Margaret : SFE : Science Fiction Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2017-10-21.
  4. ^ a b c d e f R. Alain Everts, "Margaret Brundage", Etching & Odysseys 2 (53-61), 1983.
  5. ^ De Camp, L. Sprague. Letter to Steve Trout, September 18, 1987, published in REHUPA 88, Nov. 1987.


  • Stephen D. Korshak and J. David Spurlock, "The Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage: Queen of Pulp Pin-Up Art" (Vanguard / Shasta-Phoenix, 2013) ISBN 1-93433-151-1
  • L. Sprague de Camp. Lovecraft: a Biography (Doubleday, 1975) ISBN 0-385-00578-4
  • R. Alain Everts, "Margaret Brundage", Etching & Odysseys 2 (53-61), 1983.
  • Ray Russell, "Of Human Brundage". Playboy, Feb 1991 (vol 38, no. 2) pp. 106–109
  • Selected Letters of Clark Ashton Smith. Ed. Scott Connors and David E. Schulz, (Arkham House, 2003) ISBN 0-87054-182-X

External links

Beyond the Black River

"Beyond the Black River" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine, v. 25, nos. 5-6, May-June 1935. The story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953) and Conan the Warrior (Lancer Books, 1967). It has more recently been published in the anthology The Mighty Swordsmen (Lancer Books, 1970), and the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935-1936) (Del Rey, 2005). It's set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan's battle against a savage tribe of Picts in the unsettled lands beyond the infamous Black River.

Black Colossus

"Black Colossus" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine, June 1933. Howard earned $130 for the sale of this story.It's set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan leading the demoralized army of Khoraja against an evil sorcerer named Natohk, "the Veiled One."

This story formed part of the basis for the later Conan novel, The Hour of the Dragon.


Brundage may refer to:

Brundage, Texas

Brundage Mountain Resort, McCall, Idaho

Avery Brundage

Edward J. Brundage

Frances Brundage

Jackson Brundage

Jennifer Brundage

Margaret Brundage

Mathilde Brundage

Percival Brundage

Slim Brundage

W. Fitzhugh Brundage

Bêlit (Robert E. Howard)

Bêlit is a character appearing in the fictional universe of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian. She is a pirate queen who has a romantic relationship with Conan. She appears in Howard's Conan novelette Queen of the Black Coast, first published in Weird Tales 23 5 (May 1934). She was selected as the fourth greatest pirate by Wired magazine's Geekdad blog.

First Fandom Hall of Fame award

First Fandom Hall of Fame is an annual award for contributions to the field of science fiction dating back more than 30 years. Contributions can be as a fan, writer, editor, artist, agent, or any combination of the five. It is awarded by First Fandom and is usually presented at the beginning of the World Science Fiction Convention's Hugo Award ceremony.

Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist

The Hugo Awards are given every year by the World Science Fiction Society for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. The award is named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the pioneering science fiction magazine Amazing Stories, and was once officially known as the Science Fiction Achievement Award. The award has been described as "a fine showcase for speculative fiction" and "the best known literary award for science fiction writing". The Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist is given each year for artists of works related to science fiction or fantasy released in the previous calendar year.The Professional Artist award has been given annually under several names since 1955, with the exception of 1957. The inaugural 1953 Hugo awards recognized "Best Interior Illustrator" and "Best Cover Artist" categories, awarded to Virgil Finlay and a tie between Hannes Bok and Ed Emshwiller, respectively. The Best Professional Artist award was simply named "Best Artist" in 1955 and 1956, was not awarded in 1957, and was named "Outstanding Artist" in 1958, finally changing to its current name the following year. Beginning in 1996 Retrospective Hugo Awards, or "Retro Hugos", have been available to be awarded for years 50, 75, or 100 years prior in which no awards were given. To date, Retro Hugo awards have been awarded for 1939, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1951, and 1954, and in each case an award for professional artist was given.Hugo Award nominees and winners are chosen by supporting or attending members of the annual World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, and the presentation evening constitutes its central event. The selection process is defined in the World Science Fiction Society Constitution as instant-runoff voting with six nominees, except in the case of a tie. The works on the ballot are the six most-nominated by members that year, with no limit on the number of works that can be nominated. The awards in 1955 and 1958 did not include any recognition of runner-up artists, but since 1959 all six candidates have been recorded. Initial nominations are made by members in January through March, while voting on the ballot of six nominations is performed roughly in April through July, subject to change depending on when that year's Worldcon is held. Prior to 2017, the final ballot was five works; it was changed that year to six, with each initial nominator limited to five nominations. Worldcons are generally held near Labor Day, and in a different city around the world each year.During the 69 nomination years, 79 artists have been nominated; 23 of these have won, including co-winners and Retro Hugos. Michael Whelan has received the most awards, with 13 wins out of 24 nominations. Frank Kelly Freas has 11 wins and 28 nominations, the most nominations of any artist. Other artists with large numbers of wins or nominations include Bob Eggleton with 8 wins out of 23 nominations, Virgil Finlay with 4 out of 13, Ed Emshwiller with 4 out of 9, and Don Maitz with 2 out of 17. David A. Cherry and Thomas Canty are tied for the most nominations without an award at 10 each.

Jewels of Gwahlur

"Jewels of Gwahlur" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. Set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age, it concerns several parties, including Conan, fighting over and hunting for the eponymous treasure in Hyborian Africa. The tale was first published in the March, 1935 issue of Weird Tales. Howard's original title for the story was "The Servants of Bit-Yakin".

Jules de Grandin

Jules de Grandin is a fictional occult detective created by Seabury Quinn for Weird Tales. Assisted by Dr. Trowbridge (serving the same narrative purpose as Dr. Watson), de Grandin fought ghosts, werewolves, and satanists in over ninety stories, and one novel, between 1925 and 1951. Jules de Grandin and Dr. Trowbridge lived in Harrisonville, New Jersey. De Grandin was a French physician and expert on the occult and a former member of the French Sûreté who resembled a more physically dynamic blond, blue-eyed Hercule Poirot. Often, the supernatural entities in the mysteries are revealed not to be supernatural at all but the actions of insane, evil and depraved human beings.

List of illustrators

This is an alphabetical list of notable illustrators.

McKinley High School (Chicago)

McKinley High School is a former Chicago public school. It opened in 1875 as West Division High School, was renamed in honor of President McKinley in 1904, and closed in 1954. Since 2009, the building has been the site of Chicago Bulls College Prep.

Men's adventure

Men's adventure is a genre of magazine that was published in the United States from the 1940s until the early 1970s. Catering to a male audience, these magazines featured pin-up girls and lurid tales of adventure that typically featured wartime feats of daring, exotic travel or conflict with wild animals. These magazines were also colloquially called "armpit slicks", "men's sweat magazines" or "the sweats", especially by people in the magazine publishing or distribution trades.

Queen of the Black Coast

"Queen of the Black Coast" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine c. May 1934. It's set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan becoming a notorious pirate and plundering the coastal villages of Kush alongside Bêlit, a head-strong femme fatale.

Due to its epic scope and atypical romance, the story is considered an undisputed classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his most famous tales.Howard earned $115 for the sale of this story to Weird Tales and it is now in the public domain.

Shadows in Zamboula

"Shadows in Zamboula" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian, first published in Weird Tales in November 1935. Its original title was "The Man-Eaters of Zamboula".

The story takes place over the course of a night in the desert city of Zamboula, with political intrigue amidst streets filled with roaming cannibals. This story also introduced a fearsome strangler named Baal-Pteor, who one of the few humans in the Conan stories to be a physical challenge for the main character himself.

By present-day sensibilities, the story is seriously marred by including a vicious racial stereotype - blacks as cannibals - though Howard strove to lessen this by making it clear that the cannibals in Zamboula are only the specific blacks from Darfar, other blacks being untainted.

Shadows in the Moonlight (story)

"Shadows in the Moonlight" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine in April 1934. Howard originally named his story "Iron Shadows in the Moon". It's set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan escaping to a remote island in the Vilayet Sea where he encounters the Red Brotherhood, a skulking creature, and mysterious iron statues.

The story was republished in the collections Conan the Barbarian (Gnome Press, 1954) and Conan the Freebooter (Lancer Books, 1968). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (Gollancz, 2000) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003).

Slim Brundage

Myron Reed "Slim" Brundage (November 29, 1903 – October 18, 1990) was the "founder and janitor" of the College of Complexes, a radical social center in Chicago during the 1950s. It was known as Chicago's Number One "beatnik bistro".

The Devil in Iron

"The Devil in Iron" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian, first published in Weird Tales in August 1934. Howard earned $115 for the publication of this story.The plot concerns the resurrection of a mythical demon due to the theft of a sacred dagger, and an unrelated trap that lures Conan to the island fortress roamed by the demon. Due to its plot loopholes and borrowed elements from "Iron Shadows in the Moon", some Howard scholars claim this story is the weakest of the early Conan tales.

The People of the Black Circle

"The People of the Black Circle" is one of the original novellas about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine in three parts over the September, October and November 1934 issues. Howard earned $250 for the publication of this story.It's set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan kidnapping an exotic princess from Vendhya (prehistoric India), while foiling a nefarious plot of world conquest by the Black Seers of Yimsha. Due to its epic scope and atypical Hindustan flavor, the story is considered an undisputed classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales. It is also one of the few Howard stories where the reader is treated a deeper insight on magic and magicians beyond the stereotypical Hyborian depiction as demon conjurer-illusionist-priests.

Valeria (Conan the Barbarian)

Valeria is a pirate and adventuress (a member of The Red Brotherhood of pirates) in the fictional universe of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories. She appears in Robert E. Howard's Conan novella "Red Nails", serialized in Weird Tales 28 1-3 (July, August/September & October 1936). This was the last Conan story written by Howard, and published posthumously. The name was also used for Conan's love interest in the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian.

Weird Tales (album)

Weird Tales is American band Golden Smog's second album, released in 1998. The title comes from the pulp magazine Weird Tales, the cover art being from the October 1933 issue, by Margaret Brundage.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.