In his five decades as an illustrator, painter and conceptual artist, Chris Achilléos has four best-selling books of his art, Beauty and the Beast, Syrens, Medusa and Amazona. He worked with the likes of George Lucas, as well as producing the iconic promotional art for the cult film Heavy Metal. But it is probably his work for Doctor Who that is the most enduringly popular.
His covers for the official Target novelisations, which began in the early ‘70s, defined a generation’s image of the Doctor and his adventures – particularly after the show disappeared from British screens in the late ‘80s.
Lavishly detailed, with psychedelic overtones and an unapologetically pulpy sensibility, these covers perfectly captured the eccentric appeal of the classic series. To this day, Doctor Who luminaries tip their hat to the influence of Achilléos’ work. The opening of a 2016 exhibition of Target’s cover artwork at the Cartoon Museum, London, attracted the series’ then-showrunner Steven Moffat, as well as twelfth Doctor Peter Capaldi.
With the Doctor long back on our screens, and more popular than ever, it is perhaps surprising that Achilléos’ Whovian oeuvre (or Whoeuvre, if you will) has never been collected in one place.
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