Leo Dillon (March 2, 1933 – May 26, 2012) and Diane Dillon (née Sorber; born March 13, 1933) created some of the most iconic SF illustrations of the 1970s. Within 50 years they had illustrated over 100 book and magazine covers, nearly all of them joint efforts. While they are most associated with science fiction, the range of their work is vast—they did everything from cassette tape covers, to traditional literature (Tolstoy and Dickens for example), to children’s books. It was for their children’s book illustrations that the Dillons won the Caldecott Medal in 1976 and 1977, and were twice nominated for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award.
Maybe I associate the 1970s strongest with the Dillons because they created covers for some of the decade’s most important books. They seemed to singlehandedly illustrate Ace’s original Science Fiction Specials line, which featured groundbreaking works like The Left Hand of Darkness, Pavane, Why Call Them Back From Heaven?, Rite of Passage, and titles by John Brunner, D.G. Compton, and Joanna Russ. Similarly, just about every Harlan Ellison collection from the period had a Dillon cover. This post focuses more on their science fiction art, particularly some of my favorites from Ace’s first SF Specials series, with a few of their horror covers as well.
I own a good number of these books, but there are a few that have eluded me (The Lincoln Hunters comes to mind), and I plan to read several of these this year.