A wide and varied range of artists and artistic styles were employed during the publication of the Hardy Boys series in the UK. Many of the depictions of the brothers have become familiar with fans and collectors alike, from the classic covers by Rudy Nappi to the unique and colourful works of Peter Archer. Many of the illustrations actually originate from the American series, but it has been decided to include them here to provide as comprehensive guide as possible to the artists who contributed to the UK series.
Accordingly, the artists who specifically provided artwork for the British editions are denoted by a (UK) suffix, while the American artists are indicated with a (US) tag.
Unfortunately, the artists who contributed cover artwork to the Armada paperback editions were, without exception, unattributed and uncredited. However, while we have been able to verify the identities of some of the individuals involved (Peter Archer, Kenny McKendry and David Browne), the majority of the artists who provided covers for the Armada Format B, Format C, and Format D paperbacks remain unidentified. Please visit the pages dedicated to those formats for more details on these mystery ‘ghost‘ illustrators.
Peter Archer (UK)
Collins had a busy pool of talented freelance and staff illustrators and artists who handled covers and internal illustrations. Certain artists specialised and did all the books in a series; for example, many of the Pony Library books were by Graham Whittam. For the paperbacks published in the early 1960s, the artist was often credited on the title page, but this practice was discontinued in the 1970s, with the identity of the artist left unattributed.
One of the most prolific artists was Peter Archer, whose stylised action graced many covers and internals for Armada books, right from the very beginning of the imprint in 1962, and who continued illustrating for the publisher for at least the next twenty years! He painted cover artwork for the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Three Investigators, Lone Pine Adventures, and Armada‘s ‘Ghost Book‘ series, amongst many others. Archer‘s last Hardy Boys illustration appeared on the cover of the hardback edition of Cave-In, published by Angus & Robertson in 1984.
Although detailed biographical information is not available about Mr Archer, he is primarily known as a prominent military and historical artist, specialising in battle and war scenes. Born in 1933, Archer moved from the UK to Europe several years ago and his present location is unknown. According to various sources, several Army veterans are also interested in contacting Mr Archer.
To view several battle/war paintings by Peter Archer, please visit the Cranston Fine Arts website.
Collins: #1 The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior – #48 The Firebird Rocket, including spine artwork for each book. Archer also provided the internal illustrations for #26 The Mystery of Cabin Island & #27 The Mark on the Door, as well as all of the frontispieces featured in the titles from #13 The Secret of the Caves – #48 The Firebird Rocket.
Angus & Robertson: #57 Night of the Werewolf – #72 Tic-Tac Terror, #75 The Crimson Flame and #76 Cave-In.
Armada Books: Most of the cover illustrations that Archer produced for the Collins and Angus & Robertson hardbound editions were reused by Armada. In the case of Disappearing Floor, however, the original artwork appears to have been lost or misplaced, which forced Archer to completely re-paint the scene for the paperback cover.
In total, Archer contributed 67 covers, 48 spines, 36 frontispieces and two sets of internal illustrations to the British Hardy Boys series between 1971 and 1984.
David Browne (UK)
After leaving Belfast Art College in Northern Ireland, David Browne moved to England, where he worked freelance as a professional artist. His first book cover assignment was for a Three Investigators title published by Armada Books in 1989. After providing five more cover illustrations for that series, Armada employed Browne and his long-time friend and colleague Kenny McKendry to illustrate the new batch of freshly re-designed Hardy Boys paperbacks (the Format E series).
In 1992 and 1993, David Browne illustrated 25 Armada covers (for details, please visit the Format E page). Further information can be found in two interviews that Browne gave a few years ago:
Appendix III features an analysis of David‘s covers, and for each cover includes rough sketches, model photos and images of the final artwork.
Paul Frame (US)
American illustrator, whose illustrations were reproduced in the UK by publishers such as Angus & Robertson, Armada Books and Swift Books. Titles include: #75 The Crimson Flame through to #80 The Blackwing Puzzle, Supersleuths, Hardy Boys Ghost Stories and all six titles in the ‘Be-A-Detective‘ series.
Bill Gillies (US)
This American artist provided the cover artwork for the very first Hardy Boys title to be published in the UK – the 1950 Harold Hill edition of The Secret of the Lost Tunnel. Several years later, three Sampson Low titles were released featuring artwork by Gillies: The Sinister Sign Post, The Secret of Wildcat Swamp and The Wailing Siren Mystery.
Dave Godfrey (UK)
British artist who took over from Peter Archer as cover artist for two Angus & Robertson titles in 1984: #73 Trapped At Sea and #74 Game Plan For Disaster.
J. Clemens Gretta (US)
Gretta is famous for producing the iconic orange and white ‘Tree‘ endpapers, which have been reproduced in many different Hardy Boys editions and titles all over the world, including several of the early British releases. Although Gretta illustrated the covers of many of the early Grosset and Dunlap titles, only his endpapers (and some frontispieces) were utilised by Harold Hill, Sampson Low and MacDonald.
Born in 1904 as J. Clemens Gretter, the artist changed the spelling of his surname in the 1930s, presumably in an attempt to distance himself from the negative social attitudes towards certain ethnicities in light of contemporary world events (such as the Spanish Civil War and the rise of Nazi Germany).
Roger Hall (UK)
Probably best known for his work on several titles published by Ladybird Books, Roger Hall was in all probability a staff artist for Collins in the 1960s and 1970s. Most notably, he made significant contributions to three of Collins‘ big US imports: the Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators, and Nancy Drew. His year of birth is recorded by various sources as 1914.
It seems very likely that Roger Hall was responsible for most of the early frontispieces and internal illustrations for the Collins Hardy Boys editions, given their similarity to the line drawings in the other two aforementioned series. Four of those illustrations are known to bear Hall‘s signature, although none of his Hardy Boys internals appear to be signed in a similar fashion:
- Nancy Drew: The Phantom of Pine Hill (Frontispiece)
- Nancy Drew: The Clue in the Crossword Cipher (Illustration 3)
- The Three Investigators: The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot (Illustration 2)
- The Three Investigators: The Mystery of the Silver Spider (Illustration 2)
A page on Ladybird Books author Barbara Brill, contains another example of Hall‘s signature.
Collins & Armada editions: Internal illustrations for #1 The Mystery of the Aztec Warrior to #8 The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge, #12 The Wailing Siren Mystery, #21 What Happened at Midnight and #22 The Sinister Signpost. He also did the frontispieces for those same titles with the exception of #2 The Arctic Patrol Mystery, #21 What Happened At Midnight and #22 The Sinister Signpost (the frontispieces for the latter two titles were by Peter Archer).
Colin Howard (UK)
When Pocket Books began issuing reprints of the Casefiles series in 1999, the paperbacks were most notable for the colourful and psychedelic artwork adorning the covers. The person responsible for this look was Margaret Clark, the then newly appointed art director for the children‘s department at Simon & Schuster UK. Clark commissioned British artist Colin Howard (whom she knew from her previous job at BBC Worldwide) to draw the human silouhettes that formed the main focal point for the covers. This was the extent of Howard‘s contribution to the books, and he was not responsible for the more intricate silhouettes introduced in 2000 (starting with Mayhem in Motion).
Colin Howard is most well-known for painting the covers of several Doctor Who books for Target and WH Allen, as well as the BBC Videos from the 1980s and 1990s. An unofficial gallery of his work contains more biographical information about the artist and reveals that Howard, a freelance professional of more than ten years, also worked on the Red Dwarf series and painted illustrations for Babylon 5 and Quantum Leap.
Howard also maintains his own official website: www.colinhowardartwork.com.
Colin kindly gave us the scoop on his minor, yet fascinating contribution to the Hardy Boys series, back in 2006.
Derek James (US)
Originally used to front the US Minstrel paperback releases of #79 The Demon‘s Den and #80 The Blackwing Puzzle, these illustrations by Derek James also featured on the Angus & Robertson hardback editions of those titles in 1985 (albeit in a slightly cropped form).
Richard Jones (UK)
In 1992, Armada lost the rights to publish new Casefiles paperbacks in the UK to Simon & Schuster‘s Archway imprint. Richard Jones was the artist hired by Archway UK to illustrate the new paperbacks, starting with #11 Brother Against Brother. Two years later, Jones produced his last cover for the British series (#60 Deadfall) and Archway reverted to using the American artwork for subsequent releases.
The illustrative style of Richard Jones‘ Casefiles artwork is somewhat less stylised than Brian Kotzky‘s contributions to the US series (although many of Jones‘ covers are heavily based upon the latter‘s illustrations). It appears that the same models were used by Jones for all 50 paintings, which gives a certain continuity to the look of the Hardy brothers.
Morgan Kane (US)
Kane contributed the covers for the first two entries in the Casefiles series, as published by Armada Books: #1 Dead on Target and #2 Evil Incorporated.
Brian Kotzky (US)
The son of cartoonist Alex Kotzky, Brian Kotzky was the principal artist for the US Casefiles paperbacks, contributing 102 covers between 1987 and 1995.
20 of these eye-catching illustrations were recycled by British publishers: 10 by Armada Books (#3 Cult of Crime to #12 Perfect Getaway) and 10 by Archway UK (#61 Grave Danger to #70 Rigged For Revenge). Due to their slightly larger dimensions, the Archway UK paperbacks reveal a little more of the Kotzky artwork than the original US editions.
Paul Laune (US)
Paul Laune provided the cover artwork for seven of the titles published by Sampson Low. These included: A Figure In Hiding, The Secret Warning, The Twisted Claw, The Disappearing Floor, The Mystery of the Flying Express, The Clue of the Broken Blade and The Flickering Torch Mystery. He also drew the frontispieces for each of the aforementioned books, with the exception of The Secret Warning, which had no frontispiece.
John Leone (US)
Only three of Leone‘s contributions to the American series were recycled for British and Commonwealth audiences:
The Short-Wave Mystery (Sampson Low and Collins editions),
A Figure In Hiding (MacDonald and Collins editions) and The Twisted Claw
David Lloyd (UK)
British artist David Lloyd is internationally renowned for his work on the V for Vendetta graphic novels from the 1980s. His other illustrative credits include series such as Doctor Who, Hulk and Hellblazer.
According to his bibliography, Lloyd collaborated with writer Steve Moore on the second Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries Annual in 1980 (the colour illustration above contains his distinctive signature).
Kenny McKendry (UK)
Originally from Bangor, Northern Ireland, Kenny McKendry contributed two covers to the Armada series in 1988, and went on to work with his long-time friend and colleague David Browne on the Format E covers. McKendry and Browne secured that particular assignment in no small part due to their remarkably similar styles.
In the event, McKendry painted only seven covers (as opposed to Browne‘s 25), but two illustrations in particular – #26 The Mystery of Cabin Island & #11 The Twisted Claw – were met with great approval, with the latter cover subsequently making an appearance in the Artist Partners catalogue.
McKendry‘s official website can be found at: www.kennymckendry.com.
Armada Format D: Cover artwork for #45 The Shattered Helmet and #46 The Clue of the Hissing Serpent.
Armada Format E: Cover artwork for #4 The Mystery of the Whale Tattoo, #8 The Mystery of the Spiral Bridge, #11 The Twisted Claw, #25 Hunting For Hidden Gold, #26 The Mystery of Cabin Island, #35 The Mystery At Devil‘s Paw, and #86 The Sky Blue Frame.
The final piece that adorned the cover of Hunting for Hidden Gold can be seen here.
Leslie Morrill (US)
Leslie Morrill produced the internal illustrations for the very earliest Digest titles (#57 Night of the Werewolf to #72 Tic-Tac-Terror); these later appeared in both the Angus & Robertson and Armada Books editions.
Morrill also contributed the internal artwork for The Hardy Boys Survival Handbook, as published by Armada and Collins.
Rudy Nappi (US)
Over a period from the 1950s through to the late 1970s, Rudy Nappi was the principal cover artist for the US Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series, developing in the process what is generally regarded to be the definitive and most recognisable portrayals of all three characters. As one would expect, a healthy selection of artwork from Nappi‘s portfolio was employed by the British publishers, starting with Sampson Low, who used 14 of his cover illustrations.
When MacDonald took over the reigns in 1968, six out of the eight titles that they published featured Nappi's handiwork on their dust-jackets. Subsequently, Collins used Nappi covers for six original series titles in 1980 (volumes 50,51, 53-56), in addition to the softcover Hardy Boys Adventure Activity Book and the revised edition of The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook.
Denis Orloff (US)
Internal illustrator of two titles published in hardback by Angus & Robertson (and subsequently in paperback by Armada): #73 Trapped At Sea and #74 Game Plan For Disaster.
Roy Pellington (US)
Pellington drew the frontispieces for the US and Sampson Low editions of The Crisscross Shadow and The Secret of Wildcat Swamp.
Tony Pyrzakowski (UK)
An Australian artist with a particular talent for caricatures, Tony Pyrzakowski produced the cover artwork for the Angus & Robertson hardcover edition of Supersleuths, which was published in 1982. The illustration was loosely based on the cover of the US edition by Ruth Sanderson & Steven Assel.
These days, Tony runs a website where he creates caricatures to order; drawn in his unique style. We were lucky enough to contact Tony in 2005, when he kindly gave us an account of his experience producing the Supersleuths cover.
A. O. Scott (US)
The following Harold Hill editions contain frontispieces by A. O. Scott: The Missing Chums, The Secret of the Caves, The Mystery of Cabin Island, What Happened At Midnight, While The Clock Ticked and Footprints Under The Window. Scott‘s first names are not known.
This American illustrator (whose first name is not known) provided cover artwork for two of the Grosset & Dunlap editions. However, he also worked on the frontispieces that appear in a number of other titles, the following of which were used by Harold Hill: The Tower Treasure, The House on the Cliff, The Secret of the Old Mill, Hunting For Hidden Gold and The Shore Road Mystery.
Russell H. Tandy (US)
Two Harold Hill editions feature cover art and frontispieces by Tandy: The Phantom Freighter and The Sign of the Crooked Arrow. In addition, a couple of Sampson Low titles contain his frontispieces: The Secret of Skull Mountain and The Secret Panel.
For more details on Russell Tandy, please visit the Nancy Drew Sleuth website
Vicente Torregrosa (UK)
A Spanish cartoonist, Torregrosa produced the comic strip artwork for the first Hardy Boys / Nancy Drew Mysteries Annual in 1979. Born in 1933, his other work includes some contributions to the Tarzan series of comic books from the mid-1960s.
Frank Varty (UK)
Frank Varty was the cover artist for 15 of the Harold Hill editions. Of the three remaining titles, he produced the preview illustrations on the dust-jackets of The Secret of the Lost Tunnel (original 1950 edition) and The Sign of the Crooked Arrow, even though he was not the cover artist for those volumes. Consequently, The Phantom Freighter is the only Harold Hill edition that he did not work on.
Three of the Harold Hill titles – The Great Airport Mystery, The Hidden Harbour Mystery & The Mark on the Door – contained new frontispieces, which bear the hallmarks of Varty's particular illustrative style.
Varty was also cover artist for all six Harold Hill Nancy Drew editions, a selection of which can be seen below:
In addition, Frank Varty illustrated several titles issued by Collins, including the Abbey Girls series. The artwork for Gladys Lister's novels A Star for Starlight and Quest for Starlight are typical Varty pieces, particularly notable for a female character who bears a remarkable similarity to his contemporaneous depiction of Nancy Drew.
Richard Williams (US)
An American artist who illustrated seven of the American Minstrel paperbacks. Angus & Robertson recycled his artwork for the
following three titles: #81 The Swamp Monster, #82 Revenge of the Desert Phantom and #83
The Skyfire Puzzle.
George Wilson (US)
Provided the frontispiece for the 1969 MacDonald edition of The Secret of the Lost Tunnel.