Hannes Bok

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Hannes Bok (July 2, 1914-April 11, 1964) is an American artist who played a major part in the development of early science fiction fanzines.

As soon as Bok graduated from high school in Duluth, Minnesota, he began hitchhiking his away around the country and ended up in to Seattle where he became involved with in the world of science fiction fandom which was centered around fanzines.

The first science fiction fanzine was published in 1930 and it was not long after that Bok began illustrating and doing covers for these fanzines. The artist's friend, writer Emill Petaja, says that during the 1930s Deppression Bok lived in a shack at the Seattle dump with the stray cats and used any flat surface he could to create his art on. A sketch owned by writer and artist Clark Ashton Smith was done in crayon. A Bok paiting owned by Petaja was painted on a piece of rusted metal. In the mid- thirties he visited his idol Max Parrish at his New Hampshire farm. Parrish was impressed by Bok's talent and gave him an expensive set of oil paints and brushes.

In 1936 he met Emil Petaja and did illustrations Petaja's chapbook, Brief Candle. In 1937 they relocated to Los Angeles and for the next two years they were sharing an apartment there. During this time they met Ray Bradbury at a meeting of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society. Bok did the cover art for all four issues of Bradbury's fanzine Futuria Fantasia. Bradbury was so impressed by Bok's art that when he attended the first Science Fiction Convention in New York in 1939, he brought along Bok's art to show to publishers there, and got him his first art job. He bagan working for the legendary pulp magazine Weird Tales and moved to New York.

Bok also wrote poetry and fiction. He wrote the novels The Sorcerer's Ship, as well as The Blue Flamingo, later retitled Beyond the Golden Stair. As well, he was an astrologer, writing a number of articles about astrology for Mystic Magazine, and in his later years became interested in the occult.

After his death Emil Petaja founded the Bokanalia Foundation in 1967 to preserve Bok's legacy. The foundation was set up with the help of Harold Tave, Ray Bradbury and the Golden Gate Futurians of San Francisco. Petaja published three portfolio's of Bok's work between 1967 and 1979, much of it from his own collection, and wrote a commemorative volume And Flights of Angels, which included a biographical essay. Later the Foundationalso published a collection of Bok's poetry, Spinner of Silver and Thistle. In the 1970s, Gerry de la Ree published a number of small press limited-run books devoted to Bok's art.


(This is a list of fanzines Hannes Bok contributed to during his lifetime)