The cover and internal artwork for the European editions happens to be of a high standard. Five talented and renowned illustrators, at one time or another, put pen to paper or paintbrush to easel in order to create their own distinctive portrayals of Brains and Jimmy.
Since the cover and internal artwork plays such a pivotal role in making these editions attractive and collectable, it seems only appropriate that a page be dedicated to providing additional information on the artists themselves and their illustrations. A brief overview of each of the illustrators in turn is accompanied by some prime examples of their output. In addition, links to six galleries that display the European covers (sorted by title) can be accessed at the bottom of the page.
Finally, every internal illustration from the European 'Mini-Golden' editions, as well as the original US releases, can be found at the Book Art: Brains Benton website.
• Jacques Pecnard
(1922 - )
Pecnard clearly based some of his own drawings on the original American internal artwork (particularly that of Hamilton Greene). Compare the Golden Press cover of Missing Message by Greene to a colour drawing by Pecnard; the front of the Madden house is almost identical. Also, the US cover of Counterfeit Coin was mirrored by Pecnard in an illustration that went on to become the frontispiece in the European editions.
Despite his warm and stylish portrayal of the two main protagonists, the illustrations of Jacques Pecnard have been criticised for the incorrect hairs colours given to the two members of the Benton and Carson detective agency (Brains has dark brown locks and Jimmy seems to be a natural blonde). This jarring inconsistency with the generally accepted physical characteristics of the two boys (red hair and brown hair, respectively) is the only major negative in what is otherwise a fantastic set of illustrations that occasionally (but not always) exceed the quality of the original US artwork.
In the 1970s, Jacques Pecnard moved from the world of book illustration and into the realm of fine art. A short biography accompanied by a photograph of the artist can be viewed at the Idburyprints website. In addition, a self-portrait can seen here.
• Beniamino Bodini
(? - ?)
Bodini's output differed to his predecessor, Jacques Pecnard, in that his pencil-based drawings possessed a more free-form or 'sketchy' style. Unfortunately, he continued to render the hair colours incorrectly, as the above examples demonstrate. Despite this, Beniamino Bodini's efforts were not without charm, and complement the stories rather well, especially in the instance of Waltzing Mouse.
• Werner Heymann
(1921 - 2000)
A photograph and a biography of Heymann can be found on his website, which is currently maintained by family members.
• Robert Viby
(1929 - 2001)
Four of the illustrations are clearly signed by the artist (below are good examples from the covers of Painted Dragon and Missing Message). It is only the Roving Rolls and Stolen Dummy covers where a signature is absent.
An excellent photograph of Robert Viby, along with a biography (in Danish), can be found at the ComicArt.dk website.
• Ola Ericson
(1920 - )
Ericson's illustrations for the Brains Benton series are notable for their quirky and colourful portrayal of the two protagonists. The first four covers are signed with the artist's first name printed in block capitals.
A newspaper article on Ola Ericson from 1982 includes a photograph of the artist himself (scan courtesy of Jonny Nilsson).
The following six galleries group together the covers by title in order to facilitate easy comparison of the different editions:
This concludes the Brains Benton in Europe website.