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Posts Tagged ‘Ed Emshwiller’

  1. 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)


  2. SF Magazine Cover Gallery for August, 1961

    August 10, 2011 by The Belated Nerd

    The August, 1961 cover of Analog Science Fact-Fiction featured cover art by John Schoenherr. His painting features a six-legged rhinoceros-like creature adapted to survival on a high-gravity planet.  Depicting aliens whose morphology fit their ecology was a specialty of Schoenherr’s. His freelance work for the Bronx Zoo in the early 1960s must have provided excellent training for designing alien creatures like the ones in this painting.




    The cover of Amazing Stories that month featured cover art by the great Ed Emshwiller for a John Jakes story called “The Highest Form of Life”. Despite the gadgetry, the most intriguing feature of this painting is the expression on the face of the dolphin in the foreground; is it a display of benevolence of malice?





    The cover of Galaxy Science Fiction that month also featured a painting by Ed Emshwiller. I’m not sure if this illustration is meant to depict a scene from any of the stories within, however, it is a neatly subdued representation of the “damsel abducted by a monster” theme that was slowly fading from favor in the more “serious” science fiction magazines.





    Illustrator Mel Hunter‘s trademark was the “lonely robot”. This skeletal automaton was often depicted in scenes of postapocalyptic desolation or cosmic isolation. A sketch of the little robot usually accompanied the autographs Hunter signed for fans. I’m not sure of the story context for the August, 1961 cover of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction but it must have been with some bemusement and even a little hope that Hunter placed his creation in a museum of modern art.




    On the other side of the Atlantic New Worlds Science Fiction featured cover art by comic strip artist Sydney Jordan. The cover depicts a robot mourning the death of his creator, a theme used many times before and since in  literature and film.  Jordan drew a daily science fiction adventure strip called Jeff Hawke from 1955 to 1974.  I can’t think of a better way to conclude today’s post than with a Jeff Hawke strip from August 1961: