Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Brains Benton & Hamilton Greene

This is the kind of series I would have devoured as a kid. Too bad I only stumbled across this book about a year ago. But I really love the pulpy quality of both the cover painting and the interior line art by illustrator Hamilton Greene.

There's something reminiscent of Frank Frazetta's early comic book art in the quality of Greene's line drawings. Something about the body language and high contrast lighting. I wondered who this Hamilton Greene was... this is the only time I've come across his work. Sometimes the answer to that kind of question is easier than you think it will be. Here I was searching the internet for a Hamilton Greene biography while scanning in the artwork, and all the while his bio was right there in my copy of Walt Reed's Illustrator in America - which I was using to squash flat the Brains Benton book I was scanning!

Hamiton Greene (1904-1966) had indeed been an illustrator of pulp magazines, having worked for Argosy, True, Bluebook and many others. But perhaps what's most admirable about Hamilton Greene is his reportage work on the front lines during WWII for The American Legion magazine. His fearlessness at that job got him wounded in the stomach and lungs by sniper fire.

Not to be deterred, Greene was Blue Book's war correspondent in Korea in 1951.

A website devoted to celebrating the Whitman young readers series like Brains Benton mentions that Greene illustrated books 1, 2 and 6 in the series.
You'll find these images and a couple more at full size in my Hamilton Greene Flickr set.


  1. Anonymous8:25 PM

    Wow, I'd forgotten all about this. I remember buying this book as a kid. I was probably attracted in part by the dragon on the cover. I know I read at least one other book in the "Brains Benton" series. Unlike the cover, I don't recall the interior illustrations. I don't recall making a Frazetta connection at the time, but then again, I don't think I was familiar with Frazetta. I can see some affinities when I look at them now--whether it would have dawned on me without your post is hard to say. I'll have to see if I can find a copy of this.

  2. Bob, thanks for commenting. I'm glad seeing this brought back fond memories. You'll find more Brains Benton at the link I included in the last paragraph of my post, including copies for sale.

    The Frazetta connection is tenuous, likely just a function of both artists being of a certain era when pulp adventure illustration was more influential. All that art has a certain moody quality about it and I think these pieces by Greene adhere to that formula, as did Frazetta's early Thun'da-era work.

    Frazetta's work had more flair, tho', imo ;-)

  3. Anonymous3:10 AM


    I have an illustrated book of Hamilton Greene, in spanish. Its the tree mousketeers, by Alexander Dumas. It's an amazing book.
    I´m looking for someone to buy it. Is you are intrested in it. Send me a mail. I live in Mexico.