Sad news today, as videogame cover artist Bob Wakelin passed away last night after a long fight with leukaemia. Not many young gamers or even North American gamers will recognize the name, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen his work if you’re a child of the 80s. Bob’s work was mainly focused on games from UK publisher Ocean Software. In fact, he designed the Ocean logo. According to an interview with UK-based Retrogamesmaster, Bob was churning out at least three covers a week for the company, and was quite possibly the reason Ocean did so well (particularly in selling some clunkers of games).
But perhaps one cover that most fans will recognize is his cover for the Konami classic Contra. You know, the infamous “it’s not Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone with a Xenomorph” cover. Bob even admits that it was a blatant rip-off. “A Predator/Alienrip-off is what the game appeared to be, so I supplied a Predator/Alien style pic – with ripped Arnie Predator poses.” It’s still a badass cover. And imitation is the sincerely form of flattery, after all.
Bob also wasn’t just doing video game cover art, either. Bob also created covers for The Super Heroes Monthly (featuring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman), which was a UK-based black & white monthly anthology series from the 80s that reprinted stories from DC Comics titles for UK readers. He also created covers for Marvel UK.
If you want to see more of Bob’s work (which is frankly something you really should do if you’re a fan of video games), you can check out a sampling of his work here.