‘The Singing Citadel’ by Michael Moorcock. Cover art by Bob Haberfield, 1970.
Sci-fi author Michael Moorcock has published a dizzying array of books since getting his start editing a Tarzan fanzine when he was still a teenager. In addition to his extensive literary career, Moorcock has also had some pretty praiseworthy experiences in the world of rock and roll including having played banjo for Hawkwind (as well as writing lyrics for the band) and penning three songs for Blue Öyster Cult. However, as excellent as Mr. Moorcock is, this post is about a man whose art adorned countless covers of books by Moorcock and others in the genre of fantasy and sci-fi for years, Bob Haberfield. If you are of a certain age you will very likely remember being in a store (especially in the UK) catching yourself staring right at one of Haberfield’s many contemplative psychedelic book covers that were staring right back at you.
Before he got started doing book covers, Haberfield created album art for UK jazz label World Record Club starting in the early 1960s. His first cover for Moorcock—who he collaborated with quite often during his career—appeared in 1970 on the first edition of Moorcock’s book Phoenix in Obsidian put out by Mayflower in the UK. This would be the third cover for Haberfield after his debut in 1968 illustrating the cover for a book written by seven-time Hugo Award-winning author Poul Anderson, The Star Fox. Haberfield would collaborate with a long list of other authors and it’s also not uncommon to see different artwork by Haberfield adorn a later edition of the same book. Another one of Haberfield’s artistic calling cards is his incorporation of religious symbolism—specifically, those associated with Buddhism.
It’s my opinion that the Australian graphic designer’s work is somewhat criminally underappreciated. And for the time that his far-out creations were displayed on a lengthy list of sci-fi/fantasy books, his work really stands apart thanks to his bizarre, thought-provoking imagery and use of color. I mean this is the guy who put Adolf Hitler on a futuristic-looking motorcycle, wearing a Dracula cape hauling what dubiously appears to be a fucking bomb behind him to the backdrop of a blazing red swastika for author Norman Spinrad‘s critcally acclaimed 1972 book, The Iron Dream. If that last bit didn’t quite convince you of Haberfield’s mad, mad genius, then perhaps checking out more of his work, which I’ve posted below, is in order. Much of it is NSFW.
An incredible alternate cover by Haberfield for author Norman Spinrad’s 1972 book, ‘The Iron Dream’
The grim cover of the first edition paperback by Haberfield.
Haberfield’s first book cover for Michael Moorcock, 1970.
Haberfield’s first book cover for Poul Anderson, 1968.
A beautifully dark cover done by Haberfield for ‘Dagon’ a collection of short stories by H.P. Lovecraft, 1973.
A cover Haberfield did for author Colin Wilson’s ‘The Mind Parasites,’ 1973.