Fans of Ron Turner may have noticed that the cover for the new Rick Random—Space Detective volume is new rather than a reprint of an actual Turner painting.
When we came to put together the volume, one of the problems we faced was that Turner, whilst a prolific contributor to Super Detective Library, where Rick Random originally appeared, had produced only two covers. One was for a non-SF story and the second, although a Rick Random adventure, was for an issue with interior art by Oliver Passingham, which we did not intend using in the volume (see below). The other covers (mostly by Arnold Beauvais and James McConnell) seemed to me to be poor and unrepresentative of the superb artwork inside.
We still had to put together a cover and Rod Green at Carlton had the thankless task of choosing an image from the poor selection of original Super Detective covers. The eventual dummy produced—which you can see at the head of this column—was to nobody's taste. James McConnell, a fine artist when it came to westerns and adventure yarns, had no feel for science fiction. The colouring would have looked great had this been the burned out deserts of Arizona but it didn't fit with anyone's idea of a book cover that would actually attract an audience in Waterstones or Borders or wherever the book was displayed.
Which is when I suggested we should have John Ridgway paint up a proper piece of Turner artwork. John I've known for many years, not only as a great artist (Commando, Dr Who Monthly, 2000AD and many other comics in the UK; American readers may know him best as the original artist on Hellblazer, and from The Age of Heroes) but also as a fan of old British science fiction comics which he grew up on, especially Dan Dare and various works by Ron Turner.
John had been playing around with colourizing old black and white strips, including a few roughs for Rick Random, so I knew he would be a perfect choice. A couple of phonecalls later and the idea had turned into a commission. I scanned up three images that I thought might be suitable—all from stories that we were including in the book—and mailed them to everyone involved (David Abbott at IPC, Rod at Carlton and John).
Once we had selected what we thought to be the right image (coincidentally, the same image that James McConnell had tried to illustrate), John—to a very tight deadline—produced a stunning piece of artwork.
With a little tweak to allow for the title lettering, this became the final artwork for the book. Below is an alternate version of the final cover with the 'Super Detective' logo in a different position.
Order your copy via Amazon.co.uk.
(* Rick Random © IPC Media.)