The Red-Blue Max


A very strange story today, around the well-known book ‘The Blue Max’ which was made into an even better-known film* of the same name.


The book was written by Jack D Hunter, a fantastic name for an action-novel writer, but actually his real name as well.

The cover for the first edition of the book features a very nice watercolour or gouache painting of a Fokker D.VII having just shot down a R.A.F. SE.5a. Not surprising in itself. But what is remarkable is the painting is by Jack Hunter himself – it is VERY rare for novels of any kind to have the cover art by the author, making this an exceptional item.

Even more exceptional is that the Wiki page (here) on Hunter notes that though his father worked for the Du Pont company as a colour evaluator, Jack was in fact red-blue colour blind! Interestingly, neither the art nor the colour blindness gets mentioned on the back cover of the book as seen above.


I cam across the story of Hunter’s art thanks to this auction page featuring a dedicated card with the book (above) since sold, but starting a worthwhile, fascinating journey, including help on Today’s Inspiration group by Rajesh Shah.


While the hysterical all-action film artwork has mostly been used for newer editions of the book, here are two oddities that came up when I started looking. One, an Italian edition ‘la Cadulta Delle Aquile’ (‘The Fall of the Eagles’) takes a traduced version of Hunter’s art (the pilot could be Snoopy) with a low contrast blue Ursula Andress background – unlike the rest, from the film. The other, an English language version re-arranges the original illustration, though only slightly.

James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.

*I’m sure we will return to the Blue Max film art…

Images from online auction websites, mostly subsequently unavailable for direct links.

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