October 26, 2011 by The Belated Nerd
Although they’re not as striking as his black and white inks, Virgil 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.
Category Art, Science Fiction | Tags: Alex Schomburg,Amazing Stories,Analog Science Fact-Fiction,Chesley Bonestell,Galaxy,John Schoenherr,Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction,science fiction,Virgil Finlay | 1 Comment
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:
Category Art, Books, Science Fiction | Tags: Amazing,Analog,Art,Ed Emshwiller,F&SF,Galaxy,Illustrators,John Schoenherr,Mel Hunter,Other Worlds,science fiction,Sydney Jordan | No Comments