Whelan & Paul / '09 Hall of Famers!
"At a time when most Americans didn't even have a telephone, he was painting space stations, robots and aliens from other planets. In an era when Lindbergh made headlines by flying across the Atlantic, Paul envisioned starships plowing across the galaxy. Indeed, he was the guest of honor at the first world science fiction convention, and he was the first person to ever make a living drawing spaceships. What could be cooler than that? The first science fiction image Arthur C. Clarke ever saw was a Frank R. Paul painting. Same for Forrest J. Ackerman and Ray Bradbury. Indeed, his work has inspired countless multitudes to write and dream and explore."
Whelan's greatness as an artist and influence on modern sf/fantasy art is legendary. Most of his recent work is personal gallery efforts (stunning and ever-evolving), while his book cover days are largely behind him. What might not be as well-known is his huge generosity toward fellow illustrators and toward the field itself. His attention to visual detail is unparalleled, but he pays the same attention to detail to how he treats people. Example -- in 2005, I was at the World Horror Convention in NYC and at the time, I'd just received my first Hugo nomination. Even though we'd never met, Whelan walked up, shook my hand and congratulated me. He didn't have to do that, but the fact he'd even take the time to do so, meant a lot. As if that weren't enough, he later asked if we could have breakfast the next morning and even drove me and Traci to the airport right after, so that we didn't have to take a shuttle. Small gestures. Tiny details. But how rarely does someone you barely know do something like that? How rarely do each of us invest time, kindness, and detail on a stranger? Whelan's the ultimate class act, and when I think about how I want to treat people on my best days, he's the example. It's a great day because he's now officially recognized as what we all knew he already is -- an all-time great (who ain't done yet), and officially now, an SFM Hall-of-Famer. :) Congrats to all four inductees, and especially to you, Michael.