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Posts Tagged ‘H. R. van Dongen’

  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)