Monday, June 13, 2022

Multi Ritratti: Nero Wolfe

From time to time I present multiple portraits of famous or well-known people.  And I even stoop to featuring various artists' versions of fictional characters.  Such it is with today's post, the character being the detective Nero Wolfe.

Wolfe is described as being Montenegro-born, grossly heavy, having a large head, dark hair and a long nose.  His age is mid-50s.  An integral character in the books is Wolf''s assistant Archie Goodwin who narrates the stories and performs much of the legwork, providing information for Wolfe to solve the case.  Goodwin is not described other that being fairly tall and fit, also apparently attractive to women.

The problem for illustrators is that Wolfe is hyper-sedentary, almost never leaving his West 35th Street New York brownstone digs.  Most of the time crime work is involved, he's simply sitting behind his office desk drinking beer.  Not much dramatic action to portray.


What seems to be an early illustration, this by Rico Tomaso.

Another Tomaso illustion: American Magazine, 1938.

I don't have information regarding who did this illustration.  Seems to be from around 1939.  That would be Goodwin in the background.

Illustration by James Schucker.  Again, late 1930s or early '40s

By Carl Mueller, American Magazine, 1938

Same artist and magazine, but in 1940.  Here Wolfe is actually standing and there is serious action.

By Thornton Utz, who later did Saturday Evening Post cover art.

Fred Ludekens, who also did cover art for the Post.  The story is Fer-de-Lance, and Wolfe is dealing with a deadly snake.

There was a short-lived mid-1950s Nero Wolfe comic strip.  The artist shown here is Mike Roy.

An illustration probably for the Post by Austin Briggs.

Archie Goodwin as portrayed by Briggs in the Post, 21 June, 1958.  I think this version of Archie corresponds best to my own idea of him.

1 comment:

Hal said...

Those Austin Briggs illustrations are perfect. They make me want to crack open one of the novels for a good read.