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Posts Tagged ‘Amazing Stories’

  1. SF Magazine Cover Gallery for Oct. 1961

    October 26, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    Although they’re not as striking as his black and white inksVirgil Finlay‘s color paintings like this one for the cover of Galaxy are always filled with background detail other artist might not bother with.  Depicting a futuristic sport called space diving from Fritz Leiber’s story “The Beat Cluster”, Finlay shows the beatnik musicians, artists and dancers that inhabit the hamster-tube enclosure in high Earth orbit, as well as those whose thrills require them to wear spacesuits in the vacuum of space.

    Chesley Bonestell‘s cover painting for the October, 1961 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction combines the artist’s ultra-realistic style of depicting both space hardware and space landscape. Most Americans were first introduced to Bonestell’s work when LIFE magazine published a series of paintings of Saturn as seen from several of its moons in 1944.  This cover is intriguing because it is not immediately apparent whether the rocket ships are taking off from the cratered planet or landing.

    A side note on this particular issue of F&SF is that it contained the first printing of Kurt Vonnegut’s Hugo award-winning short story, “Harrison Bergeron”

    Amazing Stories‘ October cover, like the month before, is by Alex Schomburg  and is another depiction of near future technology in the vein of  Popular Mechanics. It depicts off shore missile silos that seem rather impractical and unneccessary in an era where both the United States and the USSR were rapidly developing and deploying submarines armed with nuclear missiles.

    Schomburg spent the 1940s working in comic books for companies like Marvel’s precursor Timely Comics. Stan Lee called him the Norman Rockwell of comic books. Before he left comic books for magazines in the early 1950s, Schomburg had drawn almost 600 covers for comic books featuring characters like Captain America, the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch. The amount of detail he put into even the most ephemeral of media was matched by only a few other artists of the time (like George Evans with whom Schomburg shared cover duties on Aces High ).

    John Schoenherr‘s cover for  Analog Science Fact-Fiction once again shows off the talent  Schoenherr honed while doing freelance work for the Bronx Zoo in the early 1960s.  In addition to the cover,  Schoenherr also did the interior illustrations for the story, “Lion Loose…” by James Schmitz.


  2. SF Magazine Cover Gallery for Sept. 1961

    September 6, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    The September 1961 cover of Analog Science Fact-Fiction would be the last that H. R. van Dongen would paint for John Campbell’s Astounding/Analog. van Dongen made his first pulp magazine sell to Super Science Stories in 1950, and except for a few paperback covers, all but disappeared after this issue of Analog was published. Little is known of van Dongen’s personal life and one suspects his name may have been a pseudonym borrowed from Dutch avant-garde artist Kees van Dongen. The illustration depicts a scene from the first installment of  Harry Harrison’s “A Sense of Obligation” (aka Planet of the Damned) which would be nominated for a “best novel” Hugo in 1962.

     

    The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction that month had another cover by the prolific Ed Emshwiller (Emsh would paint eight of F&SF’s twelve covers in 1961). I’m uncertain which story is being depicted on this cover.  It is dominated by the woman in the foreground, distressed perhaps by the alien structure or creature in the lower left corner. Her rescuers are barely discernible on the horizon.

    Amazing Stories‘ cover sported one of those Alex Schomburg paintings one would expect to see on the cover of Popular Mechanics. This cover depicts a scene from Philip Jose Farmer’s “Tongues of the Moon” in which American and Soviet colonists on the Moon go to war with each other.

    Schomburg spent the 1940s working in comic books for companies like Marvel’s precursor Timely Comics. Stan Lee called him the Norman Rockwell of comic books. Before he left comic books for magazines in the early 1950s, Schomburg had drawn almost 600 covers for comic books featuring characters like Captain America, the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch. The amount of detail he put into even the most ephemeral of media was matched by only a few other artists of the time (like George Evans with whom Schomburg shared cover duties on Aces High ).

    Despite his reputation for detail, Alex Schomburg wasn’t above knocking out an occasional uninspired clinker like the rather boring cover that month for Amazing‘s sister magazine Fantastic Stories of Imagination. The van Vogt story has an “and-those-sole-survivors-were named-Adam-and-Eve”  denouement which Schomburg does nothing to conceal with his cover.

    Brian Lewis of Jet-Ace Logan fame illustrated the cover that month for the British science fiction magazine, Science Fiction Adventures. His work in color is startlingly different from his clean and detailed work in black and white comic strips. Influenced by surrealists like Paul Klee,  Max Ernst, and Richard Powers, Lewis’ non-strip art utilized strong colors laid on thick. This style is on display in this cover featuring out-sized garden produce and a distant ruin of some lost civilization. He painted about one hundred covers for British science fiction magazines between 1954 and 1962. He then moved into animation where he worked on projects like Yellow Submarine. Throughout his career he never strayed far from the weekly comic strips, working on characters like Vampirella (Warren) and Dan Dare (in 2000 AD)

     


  3. The Black & White World of Virgil Finlay

    August 12, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    I spend a lot of time searching out cover images from 50-year-old magazines, comic books, and paperbacks. Interior art is harder to find on the Internet so I’m always happy when I can find some to compliment a post on an old comic book or pulp magazine. What took me by surprise this week was the discovery of some great black & white artwork printed on the back of Amazing Stories in 1961; all by the great fantasy, science fiction and horror illustrator, Virgil Finlay!

    Although he worked in other media like gouache and oils (one of his color illustrations graced the Oct, 1961 cover of Galaxy), Finlay is best remembered for his detailed pen-and-ink drawings, utilizing meticulous stippling, cross-hatching, and scratch board techniques.

    The gallery below contains illustrations printed on the back cover of Amazing Stories in late 1961 and early 1962. The text is exerted from stories featured in each issue. Click for a larger view.