Fabian Fröhlich | Fantastische Illustrationen | Fantastic Illustrations

Pulp cover illustrations

Vampira Vol. 13, Traumzeit-Dämonen (Dreamtime Demons) – The Making of a Pulp Cover Illustration

Vampira, Traumzeit-Dämonen, Detail


Vampira, Traumzeit-Dämonen

Bd. 13

“In diesem Augenblick materialisierte vor ihr etwas, das die Unwirklichkeit verdichtete: Ein gewaltiger über dem roten Sand schwebender Quader, der aussah wie ein Klotz aus tonnenschwerer Dunkelheit! Die ganze Schwärze des Universums schien an diesem einen Punkt zusammengeballt zu sein, in einen Würfel gepresst, dessen Kanten und Konturen geschliffen scharf wirkten.

Lilith stockte der Atem Alle ihre Sinne konzentrierten sich auf diesen Block aus Finsternis, aus dessen Unterteil plötzlich gezackte Blitze in den Wüstenboden stießen und Sandfontänen aufwarfen. Lilith wurde von ein paar der “elektrisch” aufgeladenen Körnern getroffen. Sie prasselten gegen die Hülle des Symbionten, der die Form eines rückenfreien, vorn aber bis zum Hals geschlossenen Catsuits angenommen hatte. (…)

Die äscherne Aura hüllte Lilith erneut ein. Eng anliegend wie eine dritte Haut, wenn man den Symbionten als zweite einstufte. (…) Zentimeter trennten Lilith noch von dem schwebenden Koloss, in dem sich – sie sah es jetzt deutlich – schreckliche, schemenhafte Gestalten tummelten.(…) Und wieder machte sie einen Schritt, den sie gar nicht wollte. Berührte noch nicht selbst, aber mit der äschernen Aura das Domizil der entarteten Wondjinas! (…)

Vor Lilith schnellte etwas aus dem dunklen Vorhang. Etwas, das wie ein narbiger, furunkelübersähter, eiternder Arm aussah, aber keiner sein konnte. Es war nur der Abdruck eines Dings, das dort, woher es auf Lilith zustieß, keine Form besaß. (…) Immer mehr Arme und andere, menschlichen Extremitäten nachempfundene Extremitäten stießen aus em nachtschwarzen Quader.”

From: Adrian Doyle (Manfred Weinland), Traumzeit-Dämonen (Dreamtime Demons) und Apokalypse (Apocalypse), Vampira Bd. 13 und 14, © Bastei


Vampira Band 13, Traumzeit-Dämonen, Titelbild

Ursprüngliches Titelbild von 1995

Vampira Band 13, Traumzeit-Dämonen, Cover 1995

Ursprüngliches Cover von 1995

The original cover illustration for volume 13 of the horror pulp series Vampira from 1995 was based on a brief description by the editor: Australian outback, in the foreground the series’ protagonist, dressed in a black, back free catsuit, in the backgound a huge, black, hovering cube, sending flashes of lightning to the red desert below; in its inside shadowy demons.

What I had in my mind when I created the painting back then was a little bit of a mixture between Caspar David Friedrich, Edgar Ende and Kubricks 2001 (the black monoliths), a rather unspectacular, calm scene. The deep blackness of the cube was more important to me than the demons, and because of that I only hinted at them with a few brushstrokes.

I do like some things about the painting, but in general it did not turn out as I imagined, and the figure in the foreground has its weaknesses, too (a really big head, for example). The cube was digitally lightened for print, with the result that neither the monolith was black as it should have been, nor the demons became more recognisable (simply because i did not really paint them).

The new edition of the series in 2011 provided the opportunity to paint the same scene again with quite a different approach – less like a Caspar David Friedrich painting and more dramatic, the flashes of lightning more vivid, the cube much closer to the foreground and really black, but without making the demons disappear in this blackness.

The pencil drawings are DIN A4; the finished drawing was enlarged and transfered to painting cardboard (40 x 55 cm). For the first, rather sketchy colour layer I always use acrylyc, basically to try different colours and to define light and shadow.


After I had finished the acrylic layer, I did not like the demons’ claws anymore and changed them to more human looking hands, using my own hands as a reference.

On top of the acrylic paint came two complete layers of oil paint plus additional details. For the “ashlike aura”, as it is described in the novel, and the sparks of light I used toothbrushes. The last step was to paint the whites cores of the lightning flashes.


Vampira Band 13, Traumzeit-Dämonen, Detail


The pulp novel was published on october 18.

Cover Illustrations for a New Edition of the Pulp Series Vampira, 1994/1995/2011


On may 3, 2011, Bastei started the the relaunched edition of the bi-weekly horror pulp series Vampira. Volume 3 and 7 display reprints of two of my cover images from 1994 and 1995. A brand new cover illustration will follow in october. More about Vampira and more images in the article about the original series from the 90s.

Covers: © Bastei Lübbe

Cover Illustrations for the Pulp Series Maddrax, 2000


Maddrax, Götter und Barbaren

Götter und Barbaren

Maddrax is a German pulp series published biweekly by Bastei since 2000. The series is a genre mixture of science-fiction, horror and fantasy and evolves around the former United Air Force pilot Matthew Drax who has been transported some 500 years into a post-apocalyptic future.

In addition to the black-and-white title page, used till vol. 100, I contributed two cover illustrations, according to the editor’s descriptions.

The authors of these two novels are Jo Zybell (vol. 10) and Bernd Frenz (vol. 22).

More on Maddrax in the Maddrax Wiki or in a current Deutschlandfunk post.

Covers: © Bastei Lübbe




Cover Illustrations for the Pulp Series Vampira, 1992–98

Vampira, Gefangen in der Zeit

Gefangen in der Zeit (Trapped in Time)

Vampira is a horror pulp fiction series which was published by Bastei between 1994 and 1999. It reached 110 volumes, 50 in the typical German “Heftroman” format and 60 in in the more paperback-like “Taschenheft” format and with new numbering. Vampira was created by the author Manfred Weinland and the Bastei editor Manfred Schönenbröcher. A new edition started on May 3, 2011.

During the 90s I contributed 18 cover illustrations, all of them oil paintings on cardboard, approx. 40 x 50 cm. Almost all of them (except the covers for vol. 9 and 27 which dated prior to the series) were created after brief descriptions by the editor. As the series subtitle “Dangerous – Mysterious – Erotic” suggests, the motto “sex sells” was part of the basic idea, and the covers reflect that idea (not always, though, sometimes they were allowed to be more mysterious than erotic). The most important accessory of the heroine is a shape-shifting dress, whose literal “life of its own” justifies even the most absurd outfit …

Vampira, Kind des Grals

Kind des Grals (Child of the Grail

The series’ title, “Vampira”, is not the heroine’s name but just a catchy word that summs up what this is all about (and maybe it’s a little hommage to Maila Nurmi). The title doesn’t even appear in the novels. The protagonist’s name is Lilith Eden, a not-too-subtle hint at the series’ mythological, actually biblical, background story that uses Old Testament motives as the fall of men and Noah’s ark as well as bits and pieces from other mythologies quite inventively.

The others authors of the pictured novels (besides Manfred Weinland) are Uwe Voehl (vol. 38), Carter Jackson (Taschenheft vol. 9) and Timothy Stahl (Taschenheft Vol 17, 18, 37, 54).

Overview of the whole Vampira series at gruselromane.de

Cover: © Bastei Lübbe


Fabian Fröhlich, Vampira, Landrus Sohn

Landrus Sohn






















Cover Illustrations for the Pulp Series Professor Zamorra, Part 2, 1994–2002

Professor Zamorra, Teris Jagd

Teri Rheken

Almost half of my pulp novel cover illustrations (26 paintings) were used for the Horror/Fantasy/SciFi series Professor Zamorra, published by Bastei. You can see the first 12 examples in part 1.

The covers for vol. 620 and 759 were painted without an explicit commission, but with regard to certain characters from the series; the subsequent novels were inspired by the images. Vol. 703 and 720 (and two others I leave out) were cover illustrations I originally created for Zaubermond, they were used by Bastei for the second time. The illustrations for vol. 688, 681, 700, 749, 759, 789, 798 und 799 were based on descriptions by the main author, Werner Kurt Giesa. These descriptions could be detailed or vague, for example “something with wolves, please” (vol. 749) or “The novel is called Weresnail on a Rampage – you can do what you like, but the weresnail should resemble Jabba the Hut.” (vol. 789) (Weresnail, yes. The novel was meant as a horror parody.) Sometimes I omitted details I considered dispensible on my own authority, in the case of vol. 668, for example, a car in front of the colosseum.

Brooklyn Bridge

Some of the novels were written by other auhors than Werner Kurt Giesa: Claudia Kern (vol. 720; with WKG: vol. 703), Timothy Stahl (vol. 749), Martin Kay (with WKG: vol. 789), Andreas Balzer (vol. 798, 799) and Christian Schwarz (vol. 863).

My last Professor Zamorra cover, Schwingen des Todes (Wings of Death), painted in 2002 after I had come back from a New York vacation, was published in 2007. Since I had started to work as an assistent curator for the Stately Museums Kassel in 2002, i was lacking time. Or maybe I just got lazy.

Werner Kurt Giesa died in 2008. This picture gallery is dedicated to him. I owe him a lot.

Übersicht über alle Professor-Zamorra-Romane bei gruselromane.de

Cover: © Bastei Lübbe

Cover Illustrations for John Sinclair and Other Pulp Series, 1993–95

John Sinclair, Aibons böse Diener

John Sinclair vol. 960

The cover illustration for John Sinclair, the most popular German horror pulp series, was originally created for a paperback, Andrew Neiderman’s thriller The Solomon Organization, but finally not used for the book. It’s my only regular John Sinclair cover. In addition, six original Professor Zamorra and Dämonenland cover images were used for the John Sinclair Special Edition, six more pictures were re-used for the horror series Grusel-Schocker.

The  two cover illustrations for the miniseries Raven by Wolfgang Hohlbein were originally painted for Professor Zamorra and Zaubermond’s Dan Shocker Edition.

The ghostly piper, my only cover in the so called “Frauen-Grusel” section, was a commissioned work painted according to a description.

Black and white illustrations for John Sinclair paperbacks here (part 1 of 4).

All the above series can be found at gruselromane.de.

Cover: © Bastei Lübbe


Cover Illustrations for the Horror Pulp Series Dämonenland, 1992–94

And again, just because of the bat.

These four paintings were uncommissioned illustrations that were bought by Bastei and used for already existing pulp novels with fitting titels.

More about the horror series Dämonenland here and here.

Overview of all Dämonenland novels at gruselromane.de.






Cover Illustrations for the Pulp Series Professor Zamorra, Part 1, 1991–94

Professor Zamorra, Lucifuge Rofocale

Satans Amulett

Almost half of my pulp novel cover illustrations (26 paintings) were used for the Horror/Fantasy/SciFi series Professor Zamorra. My first published color illustration was Fenrirs Wacht (painted in 1991, published in 1993). Except this gouache all pictures are oil paintings on cardboard, approximately 40 x 50 cm. In most cases the novels were inspired by prior pictures. The covers illustrations for vol. 546, 590 and 596 were based on short descriptions the main writer back then, Werner Kurt Giesa, gave me.

My favourite among these twelve paintings is the one for Satans Amulett, influenced by the brothers Hildebrandt and their use of warm and cold light sources within each picture.

Twelve more Professor Zamorra cover illustrations here.