PULP COVER FRIDAY PRESENTS FRANK R. PAUL
Since everyone seemed enthusiastic about the covers from last week, which were mostly the work of Frank R. Paul, I thought I’d shine the Cheese Magnet spotlight on him this time around. I’ve featured his work several times already, but have tried to come up with all new images for this installment.
Paul (1184-1963) was born in Vienna. He had training as an architect, and indeed, earned his living drawing spaceships and crazy aliens and as a technical illustrations, both. Paul has been called “the undisputed father of science fiction illustration” in the usual bombastic inter-tubes way in several articles that I read for this brief survey of his work, and, you know, in this case the inter-tubes might not be far off. Although he takes some heat for his depiction of the human form and face, especially women, I think it’s largely an unjust criticism. He’s no Brundage, but then humans are rarely the focus of his work. His depictions of technology, whether mostly familiar objects like ocean liners or wild creations of his imagination, are unmatched in the early years of the genre, and, largely, in later years as well. His aliens are among the best ever, although a certain credit for that should doubtless be shared with the writers.
Paul did 38 covers for AMAZING from May 1926 to June 1929 and moved on to AIR WONDER STORIES with Uncle Hugo in 1929, contributing 103 covers from 1929 to 1936. All told, he did over 220 covers for sf magazines, not to mention the cover for the first issue of Marvel Comics (Oct. 1939) which saw the debut of both the Human Torch and the Submariner. (Not his best work, though.)
Paul was the only guest of honor at the first World SF Convention in 1939. I’m kind of surprised no one thought to name an award after him.
Enjoy the covers.