Forgotten Sword and Sorcery Artists: Enrich Torres

Sunday , 25, June 2017 14 Comments

There was a time in the 1970s when Frank Frazetta retreated as the preeminent painter of fantasy paperback book covers but before the rise of Ken Kelly, Boris Vallejo, and Rowena. This was a time of Frazetta imitators. Among those were Spanish artists brought in by Warren Magazines.

One of those was Enrique Torres. He is known as Enrich Torres and sometimes as just Enric. He and Manuel Sanjulian both long careers in book illustration.

There is little information in English on Enrich Torres. Birthdates don’t even agree, some say 1939, some say 1940.

One of his first book covers was for an Ace Book reprint for Leigh Brackett’s “The Secret of Sinharat”/ “The People of the Talisman.” Frankly these covers are horrible. They are very reminiscent of the covers that Gino D’Achille was producing for Ballantine for the Barsoom series.

Avon took on Enrich/Enric for Avram Davidson’s Ursus of Ultima Thule. Davidson’s book is the cobbling of two novellas originally published in science fiction digest magazines. The book was praised in The Reader’s Guide to Fantasy as being “well-written.” I found it dull. There is a reason there was only one edition.

Torres painted two of the Wandor books by Roland Green. They are very much of the time with the girl in hot pants. Torres also put Wandor in the same pose for both books. Boris Vallejo must have been taking notes of the static poses.

Zebra Books used Enrich for Robert E. Howard’s Three Bladed Doom. Zebra was notorious for using covers that had nothing to do with the contents. Francis X. Gordon (aka El Borak), a turn of the century adventurer is turned into a cave man!

Ace Books reprinted Samuel R. Delaney’s first novel, The Jewels of Aptor, packaged as sword and sorcery with a rather generic cover. This was in the wake of the Robert E. Howard boom that started around 1976. There were a lot of barbarians on the covers of paperback books in the science fiction section in the late 1970s whether there was a barbarian in the book or not.

A different style was used for the sublime Calgaich the Swordsman (aka The Celtic Blade) by Gordon D. Shirreffs. There is no Frazetta fetishism here. Get this book, it is an historical set in 4th Century Britain with Celts/Britons, Romans, Picts, lots of violence and sex. You can thank me later.

Mention has to be made of Enrich’s Vampirella art. If you do a google search and look under images, there will rows and rows of Vampirella. Enrich has also produced a fair amount of Red Sonja art           (subject for a future rant).

Enrich Torres appears to be more comfortable painting women than men. The men are generally in a static pose. He was not the worse artist of this period but he is forgettable. His style changed into a sort of Sanjulian pasticheur for Jerry Pournelle’s Janissaries.  He painted covers for paperbacks all through the 1980s. He broke the 1980 barrier. He is probably truly forgotten.

14 Comments
  • Second the motion on Calgaich the Swordsman.

  • deuce says:

    Torres, like Sanjulian, was able to thrive on through the 1980s because his style was within the general photorealistic trend that Boris exemplified.

    That Delany cover is horrid.

    I ended up with a bodice-ripper years ago titled BARBARIAN PRINCESS. The cover looked halfway between Sanjulian and Ken Kelly. Torres, perhaps? A link:

    http://images.gr-assets.com/books/1295835812l/1030990.jpg

    • Morgan says:

      I read BARBARIAN PRINCESS about 20 years ago. I am pretty sure Enrich did the cover to that. “Laura Buchanan” was actually Florence King who wrote sarcastic pieces for NATIONAL REVIEW magazine.

  • Steve Dilks says:

    Not a fan, unfortunately. The Brackett Ace double is even more funkily horrid than the original covers for this edition. Sort of like Buck Rogers on a bad trip. I have CALGAICH tucked in my shed ready to read. I was debating on taking it on holiday with me. In the end Arthur Howden D. Smith’s GREY MAIDEN won out instead. Should I revise this?

    • Stan Wagenaar says:

      Grey Maiden is good, but I would read Calgaich first; excellent swashbuckling adventure that is a treat to read.

  • While do not frequently comment on them, Forgotten Artists are my favorite articles on this blog.

  • I’ll wait you out hope more forgotten artists find you before the well runs dry.

    • Xavier Basora says:

      Even then thetr can be reflections as to what makes a memorable cover artist from a forgettable one

      xavier

    • Morgan says:

      If you scroll down enough, you do see some of his Vampirella work so Enric Torres Pratt is one and the same. He definitely changed a lot as an artist as time went by.

  • Richard Martin says:

    I came to this blog by searching ”Enric Torres-Prat’, one of my favorite illustrators, assuming from the snippet on google that it would be along the lines of a ‘whatever happened to..” fond remembrance of his work for Warren magazines, with an update on his current gallery work. Imagine my disappointment to find a snarky, nasty diatribe against someone you feel is justly forgotten. You write, “He was not the worse (sic) artist of this period but he is forgettable”.
    Except he’s not- forgettable, nor forgotten. His fifty-plus Vampirella covers were featured in Dynamite’s “The Art of Vampirella, The Warren years” (2013). He was the cover artist and one of the main features of both Book Palace’s “Illustrators” magazine, “Spanish Special Issue” (2016) and Dynamite’s “Masters of Spanish Comic Book Art” (2017).
    Considering how prolific he was (and is) you seem to have gone to great lengths to show his earliest and worst work. Over a career lasting decades there are bound to be some less successful works, many due as much to poor reproductions, too tight deadlines or interfering art directors as to the artist’s limitations.
    I own three of his original paperback covers- one a wrap-around historical epic montage, one a men’s action adventure, and the last a vignette of three women’s faces. All display a masterful oil painting technique, and illustrate also how easily he created superior covers in every genre.
    I consider him better than Sanjulian, and I think Sanjulian is great.
    I suggest you do a search, and besides visiting his website, see all the fan appreciation for his many great illustrations. If you really think he’s forgotten, you are badly misinformed.

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