“The Spy Who” – The Art – Part 2

In honor of John le Carré’s new release, The Pigeon Tunnel, throughout the month of September I’m highlighting some trivia about his past novels.

I thought about including this one with the other The Spy Who Came in from the Cold editions in part one but this seemed worthy of a couple posts of it’s own.

With a publication date of August 1964, True Magazine published a abbreviated version of TSWCIFTC. True, which carried the subtitle “A Man’s Magazine,” was a part of Fawcett Publishing which was known for its magazines, comics and line of Gold Medal paperback originals.

True, a men’s magazine

I hope to discuss another time the journey TSWCIFTC took to publication another time but to make a long story short, Jack Geoghegan, publisher for Coward-McCann, won the US publishing rights for the book and due to financial pressure had to sell the paperback rights for a song. I’m assuming the rights to publish a magazine version were sold at that time as well since this issue appeared around when the paperback version would have been released.

One of the interesting things about this edited magazine version of The Spy Who is the images included. Noted movie poster artist of the 60’s, Howard Terpning, created what I believe are the first images of Leamus, Liz, Mundt and Fielder.

Terpning  was born in 1927 in Oak Park, Il. just a short walk from my house. After getting a degree from the Chicago Academy of Fine Art he began to work in advertising. Branching out he began creating iconic posters for just about every big movie coming out in the 60’s and early 70’s before getting out of the commercial art business. He went on to become one of the world’s most noted “western” painters with some of his paintings selling for over a million dollars. He currently lives in Phoenix, AZ.

Among the spy movies he created poster art for were Guns of Navarrone, Torn Curtain, Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare. Crispin Garcia’s exhaustive fan site for the movie The Sand Pebbles has some great additional information on Terpning.

As far as I’m concerned his images for TSWCIFTC are pretty spot on.

Here’s the description of Leamas from the novel –

Leamas was a short man with close cropped, iron-gray hair, and the physique of a swimmer.


He had an attractive face, muscular, and a stubborn line to his thin mouth. His eyes were brown and small … [h]e looked like a man who could make ground, a man who looked after his money; a man who was not quite a gentleman.

Art by Howard Terpning

Pretty good I’d say.

His Liz isn’t bad either.

She was a tall girl, ungainly, with a long waist and long legs. She wore flat, ballet type shoes to reduce her height. Her face, like her body, had large components which seemed to hesitate between plainness and beauty.

Art by Howard Terpning

And Fielder

He couldn’t have been more than five foot six. He wore a dark blue single-breasted suit; the jacket was cut too long. He was sleek and slightly animal; his eyes were brown and bright.

Art by Howard Terpning

And the final profile, Mundt –

Mundt’s appearance was fully consistent with his temperament. He looked an athlete. His fair hair was cut short. It lay mat and neat. His young face had a hard, clean line, and a frightening directness; it was barren of humor or fantasy. He looked young but not youthful; older men would take him seriously. He was well built.

Art by Howard Terpning

In addition to profiles we see two iconic moments of the novel –  the escape over the Berlin Wall and the trial.

Art by Howard Terpning

Interestingly, the wasn’t Terpning’s only time creating images for TSWCIFTC. He also created the iconic artwork on the poster for the film.

Art by Howard Terpning

Taking a closer look at the artwork we see another sketch of the wall scene and Richard Burton in all his world weary glory as Leamas.

Art by Howard Terpning

But that’s not all. Looking at my beat up paperback copy of the movie tie-in version of TSWCIFTC we see more Terpning art work.

Art by Howard Terpning

He even gets a credit on the back cover, something I don’t recall typically seeing on books of the era.

This art is completely different from the posters I’ve seen for release of the movie. If I had to hazard a guess I would imagine this is from a different movie poster draft that wasn’t used. I can’t imagine Dell would commission Terpning to create original artwork for this later printing of the paperback. However, if anyone has information otherwise, please share it in the comments.

Finishing our art tour where we began, I’ll leave you with this international poster I found.

There are versions of this in a few different languages. A mash up of the book artwork and the magazine art, we get the best of both worlds on the international poster.

Here I take a brief look at some changes the text underwent as it was reduced to magazine form.

Do you know of other TSWCIFTC artwork or an earlier rendition of the characters? Chime in below!

8 thoughts on ““The Spy Who” – The Art – Part 2

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