Archive for the 'Sci-Fi/Space Art' Category

Ken Barr: A Retrospective

Nebula Barr 1958

Commando #1 1961

Commando #25 1962

Phase 1 Wraparound 1971

Creepy #37 1971

Dracula Poster 1974

Hardman #7 Popular Library 1974

Kyrik 1975 Leisure Books

Marvel Preview #8 1976

Hot Stuff #4 1977

Doc Savage #8 Curtis 1977

Huon of the Horn Fawcett 1980

Frankenstein Picture Classics 1981

Star Wars 1983

The Gryphon King Avon Books 1989

A small sampling of Scottish illustrator Ken Barr’s enormous output and range between the years 1958 and 1989. According to Down the Tubes, Barr passed away last week at the age of 83. Click on an image to get the original source and publication date of the illustration.

The biography below, from Creepy #35 (1970), details Barr’s early life, influences, and emigration to the States in 1968. His place in the pantheon of 20th century sci-fi and fantasy artists is well deserved.

Barr Bio Creepy #35 1970

(Images via Pinterest, Martin Kennedy, Flickr, IMP Awards, Cloud-109, Pulp Covers, and Flickr)

Larry Todd Art: ‘The Warbots’ (Galaxy Science Fiction, 1968)

Warbot-1

Warbot-2

Warbot-3

Warbot-4

Warbot-5

Warbot-6

The selected illustrations are from a story Todd wrote called “The Warbots: The History of Armored War from 1975 to 17,500 A.D” published in Galaxy Science Fiction (October, 1968). The first “mecha“—a robot or machine of humanoid appearance controlled by a smaller humanoid from a cockpit—is generally considered to be Mazinger Z, from the manga of the same name written and illustrated by Go Nagai. Perhaps that designation needs to be reevaluated. Todd’s designs are reminiscent of a number of mecha from the 1970s and 1980s, including the Zentraedi Battlepod in Robotech.

Todd updated his illustrations (below) for 1986’s Body Armor: 2000, edited by Joe Haldeman.

Warbot-7

Warbot-8

Warbot-9

Warbot-10

Warbot-11

Warbot-12

(Images via archive.org and iamanangelchaser)

Cover Art for No Way Back by Karl Zeigfreid (Badger, 1964)

No Way Back Zeigfreid 1964-3

No Way Back Zeigfreid 1964-2

Karl Zeigfreid was a house name for Badger Books; in this case, R.L. Fanthorpe is the author. The cover artist is unknown, and the synopsis of the book makes it highly unlikely that a skeleton in a spacesuit holding what appears to be a South Seas dancing girl made an appearance. Skeleton astronauts are often seen on sci-fi covers, but rarely have anything to do with the stories inside.

Ed Valigursky Cover Art for The Worlds of Robert A. Heinlein (Ace, 1972)

Heinlein 1972

The book is a collection of short stories, none of which feature a dead astronaut. See more of Valigursky’s work here.

(Image via MPorcius Fiction Log)

Cover Art for Stanislaw Lem’s The Invincible (Ace, 1975)

Invincible 1973-1975

Very similar to the Angus McKie piece that was published the following year. The artist of the Lem cover is unknown, and you can see details on the book here. More skeleton astronauts, a recurring theme in sci-fi since the genre’s beginning, here.

The Art of Shusei Nagaoka: Electric Light Orchestra’s Out of the Blue (1977)

Nagaoka Out of the Blue 1977-1

Nagaoka Out of the Blue 1977-2

Nagaoka Out of the Blue 1977-3

Nagaoka Out of the Blue 1977-4

Shusei Nagaoka (1936-2015) was responsible for much of the shimmering and gorgeous sci-fi art of the 1970s and 1980s, a sampling of which can be seen at Pink Tentacle. The fourth image appeared on the interior of the LP, and shows the command center located under the ELO logo on the cover. Much like my obsession with dead astronaut art, I’m fascinated by renderings of spaceships, especially spaceship interiors, especially command centers. These pieces tell us quite a bit about how space travel and future life were perceived at the time. Nagaoka here plays on the similarities between records and flying saucers: all is color and warmth and shiny surfaces, a meandering jukebox with warp drive in a laser light show universe.

If you see either volume of The Works of Shusei Nagaoka for a reasonable price, grab it up.

(Some images via Pink Tentacle and First Draft)

Alex Schomburg Cover Art for Fantastic Universe and Amazing Stories (1953/1964)

Statue Schomburg

Planet of the Apes (1968) fans may find these Alex Schomburg illustrations interesting. One of the most unforgettable images in cinema had been employed in various media since the early 1900s. (Pierre Boulle’s original novel, 1963’s La Planète des Singes, makes no mention of the Statue of Liberty.) There’s an excellent history of the trope at Patrick Peccatte’s Déjà vu. It’s in French, but you’ll be able to follow.

Wally Wood Cover Art for Galaxy Magazine (April, 1959)

WW 1959

WW 1959-2

I think the little guy is going to win this hand.

The Art of Earl Norem: Starship Orpheus (Pinnacle, 1982-1983)

Orpheus #1

Orpheus #1-2

Orpheus #2

Little known Norem covers for the first two books in Symon Jade’s (a.k.a Michael Eckstrom) Starship Orpheus series. (The third and last book in the series was illustrated by Jerry Bingham.) You have to admire the pink leather dress and boots on the damsel in distress. Clearly Norem found it amusing, because he signed his name in pink.

Norem didn’t illustrate many adult-oriented sci-fi/fantasy paperbacks. I’m sure he was making better money on booming kid’s properties at Marvel and Mattel. He did paint all 18 covers for Avon’s Wizards, Warriors & You role-playing books, and all six of Ballantine’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero young adult novels.

Jack Jackson and Dave Sheridan Cover Art for Slow Death #2 (Last Gasp, 1970)

Slow Death #2

More Slow Death here. Filed under Skeleton Astronauts.


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