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

Alex Schomburg Cover Art for Space, Space, Space (Franklin Watts, 1953)

Space 1953

Schomburg is one of the defining illustrators of both the comic book and sci-fi golden ages, and you can see a partial list of his extensive work at ISFDB. You can see a list of the stories in this volume—the book’s subtitle is Stories About the Time When Men Will Be Adventuring to the Starshere.

(Image via The Golden Age)

Original Toy Art for Colorforms’ The Outer Space Men (1968)



The stunning paintings are by Robert Engle for a gorgeous “bendy” action figure line that influenced space/alien figures and toy design for decades. (Look how closely Orbitron resembles Membros from Mego’s Micronauts line, for instance.) The Outer Space Men followed Mattel’s popular Matt Mason toys (the first great space line) and had an initial run of one series only, as the public lost interest in the space program quickly after Apollo 11. The top painting shows series one. The bottom painting shows the unproduced (at the time) series two.

Following the success of Star Wars, Colorforms and Mel Birnkrant, who created The Outer Space Men, smartly released a Space Warriors Adventure Set and a series of jigsaw puzzles based on the characters in the 1968 line. In 2010 Four Horsemen Studios re-released the original Outer Space Men along with some new figures based on Birnkrant’s designs.

(Images via, where Mel praises Engle’s work.)

Sci-Fi Wallpaper, Circa 1979






Gorgeous design borrowing from a few different properties, including Star Wars, Buck Rogers, and 2001. The distant city is my favorite, and the coloring is perfect. The landspeeder’s shadow is a nice touch.

See an awesome Star Wars knock-off design here.

(Images via eBay)

Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back Wallpaper (Vymura, 1978/1980)

Circa 1978 Star Wars!

SW Wallpaper 1977-3

SW Wallpaper 1977

SW Wallpaper 1977-2

ESB Wallpaper 1980-3

ESB Wallpaper 1980-4

Sam's Room 1982

ESB Wallpaper 1980

ESB Wallpaper 1980-2

Are you not entertained?

(Images via Szmytke, Sara, Etsy, Etsy, Filmscore, Sam Howzit, Sam Howzit, Cheesebrush, and Rebel Scum Forums)

Dodge ‘Alien’ Custom Van, 1981

Alien Van 1981

How am I expected to quit my custom van obsession when I keep finding specimens like this one? It’s like it emerged from a slimy, leathery egg and attached itself to my face.

(Image via Cosmo Lutz/Flickr)

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Van Art, Circa 1981

CE Van 1978

“Close Encounter” van art by Shelby Goode, scanned from from Air-brushing Techniques for Custom Painting Vol. II, by Badger Air Brush Co. and Carl Caiati, Franklin Park, IL, 1981.

Lost in Space

“Lost in Space” van art by Shelby Goode, scanned from from Air-brushing Techniques for Custom Painting Vol. II, by Badger Air Brush Co. and Carl Caiati, Franklin Park, IL, 1981.

Skeleton Caiati

Van art by Carl Caiati, scanned from from Air-brushing Techniques for Custom Painting Vol. II, by Badger Air Brush Co. and Carl Caiati, Franklin Park, IL, 1981.

I found these bedazzling specimens (and captions) at an amazing Tumblr called Public Collectors. It’s maintained by Marc Fisher, who also runs the main Public Collectors site,

Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible…

The purpose of this project is for large collections of materials to become accessible so that knowledge, ideas and expertise can be freely shared and exchanged. Public Collectors is not intended to be used for buying and selling objects.

Fisher also has a Flickr dedicated to intriguing arcana such as MS Paint Album Covers and Anti-Car Barriers in Chicago.

You can also follow Public Collectors on Facebook.

Michael Gross Back Cover Art for Heavy Metal (January, 1982)

Heavy Metal 1982 Michael Gross

Compare to the Angus McKie art seen here. The skeleton in a spacesuit, representing the long dead astronaut, is a very powerful sci-fi trope that’s been around since the dawn of the genre. The decomposing explorer is often buried in sand and surrounded by a dead world. The attempt to colonize space, especially as a a result of escalating social upheaval or widespread devastation (i.e. a nuclear war) on Earth, is a deeply troubling idea to many and dates all the way back to the myth of Icarus.

The image is a warning against the hubris of flying too high, of crossing thresholds we were not meant to cross, of challenging God. Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles (1950) is a famous example of the theme, as are the early sci-fi films Rocketship X-M (1950) and Flight to Mars (1951), to name just a few examples.

I can’t find much information on Michael Gross. He has entries at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database under both Mike Gross and Michael Gross, for a combined ten cover works. Heavy Metal is not mentioned, but I know he did more than one cover for the magazine.

(Image via The Por Por Books Blog)

Harlan Ellison’s Chocolate Alphabet, 1978

CA 1978-1

CA 1978-8

CA 1978-2

CA 1978-3

CA 1978-7

CA 1978-4

CA 1978-5

CA 1978-6

“From A to Z, in the Chocolate Alphabet” is a short story—a series of short shorts, really—written by Harlan Ellison and first appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (October, 1976). The inspiration for the story came from a Larry Todd painting called “N is for Nemotropin,” which Todd showed to Ellison in 1974 (see the title page above). Ellison wrote the story two years later while sitting in the window of the dearly departed A Change of Hobbit bookstore in Westwood, California.

The comic book adaptation was published by Last Gasp Eco-Comics in 1978, with Todd responsible for all artwork. The original “N is for Nemotropin” painting (below) appeared on the back cover. Note what Ellison calls Todd in the introduction: “one of America’s premier visual technicians.”

Nemotropin Todd

Larry Todd Art: Infinity #5 (Summer, 1973)

Todd Infinity #5 1973-2

Todd Infinity #5 1973

Todd Infinity #5 1973-4

Todd Infinity #5 1973-5

Todd Infinity #5 1973-6

Todd Infinity #5 1973-3

Todd, who created the notable underground comic Dr. Atomic, was very active in the sci-fi/fantasy zine circuit of the 1970s, including Warren (Creepy, Eerie) and Skywald (Nightmare, Psycho) Publications. He and friend Vaughn Bodē did a number of terrific cover collaborations as well.

The above work is a smashing example of the intersection of counterculture themes (psychedelics, Native American culture, the American biker lifestyle, anti-authoritarianism, sexual freedom, and so on) and the expanding sci-fi and fantasy community. Per psychotropicis ad astra!

The “Aircar circa 1989” on the second page kind of reminds me of the Spinner cars in Blade Runner.

(Images via The Golden Age and Comic Attack)

Richard Corben Cover Art: Anomaly #4 (November, 1972)

Anomaly #4 Corben 1972-2

Anomaly #4 Corben 1972-1

Front and back covers. Images are via The Golden Age. Corben is one of the greats, and what about that title design?




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