Frank R. Paul - Legends of SF Art vol.5

Amazing Stories - august 1927, art by Frank R. Paul
Amazing Stories - august 1927, art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul

A tribute to legendary pulp magazine artist Frank R. Paul, one of the pioneers of SF illustration.

Frank R. Paul was born in Vienna, Austria on April 18, 1884.

In 1906 he emigrated to New York City where he studied architecture. On completing his studies he opened his own graphic design studio

He married Rudolpha Costa Rigelsen in 1913 and they moved to a country home in New Jersey, where they raised four children.

Paul’s first published works in America were graphic designs for The New Jersey Journal, his work was noticed by Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories and the “Father of Modern Science Fiction”.

Paul not only painted the cover of the first issue of Gernsback’s Amazing Stories in April 1926, he also drew all the black and white story illustrations inside too.

Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Marvel Comics #1 1939, Art by Frank R. Paul
Marvel Comics #1 1939, Art by Frank R. Paul

Frank R. Paul painted more than 200 pulp magazine covers for Gernsback including Amazing Stories, Science Wonder Stories, Air Wonder Stories, Dynamic, Future Fiction, Planet Stories, Science and Mechanics, Fantastic Stories and Fantastic Novels.

Paul’s artwork was hugely influential he was painting robots, space stations, spaceships, aliens, alien worlds and alien cities before anyone had an inkling of what they might look like.

Many of the great writers of the Golden Age of SF saw their first alien or robot on the cover of a Gernsback SF magazine and more than likely a Frank R. Paul cover.

He is thought to have painted the earliest depiction of a flying saucer, 20 years before UFO’s were sighted by Kenneth Arnold and flying saucers became a part of the language.

In 1939 he painted the cover of Marvel Comics #1, the first ever Marvel comic.

Perhaps his most famous cover was for H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds, reprinted in Amazing Stories Aug 1927, a striking image of Martian war machines destroying everything in their path.

Ray Bradbury was quoted saying “One glance at a Paul illustration can change your life forever. I was eight years old when I laid eyes on an illustration he did for A. Hyatt Verrill story about a world with giant ants. It made me want to be a part of a world of imagination and within a few years I fell completely in love with science-fiction - all from this one illustration.”

A book full of artwork by Paul titled – From the Pen of Paul: The Fantastic Images of Frank R. Paul – was published by Castle Books in 2009 and reprinted as - Frank R. Paul: Father of Science Fiction Art – in 2010.

Frank R. Paul died on June 29, 1963 in Teaneck, New Jersey, he was 79.

Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul
Art by Frank R. Paul

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25 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

Gee, I love these covers and reading the stories! Rated Up.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks Patty I appreciate your comment. I wish I had some of those issues here to read. One of the story titles grabbed my attention - Planet of the Knob Heads - should be interesting. :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

Is your surname from the sci-fi book series, by chance?

Sometimes Half Price Books stores have some of these in their collectibles case. I must look. Knob Heads lol :)


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

It is, taken from E.E. Smith's Lensman series. And the subject of one of my first hubs. :)


The Finance Hub profile image

The Finance Hub 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Believe it or not, I never even heard the name before this article! Great hub, voted up and interesting, hope that you enjoy my hubs as well!


rabbit75 profile image

rabbit75 4 years ago

Man, AWESOME! I'm glad you did a hub on this. Pulp artists greatly, greatly inspired comic book artists that would soon follow.

I love Pulp Art. I once did a presentation on Pulp Artists for art class once at Junior College. I loved all the Pulp art examples in this hub. I'll always geek out on them. Those guys were amazing artists!

Voted up and awesome!


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

Well, you know I'm not a Sci-Fi fan per se, although I am quite familiar with Pulp magazines that focus on private eye stories. They quite often have a similar style to their artwork - I wonder if artists even work in more than one genre? Paul's work looks familiar to me for some reason even though I don't read Sci-Fi- perhaps it's for Marvel Comics that I know his work?


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 4 years ago

Regarding your surname here - I had noticed there was a Lensman referred to in one of your hubs, but I thought it might be a reference to you being a photographer of all these great pictures. i.e. man with a lens....


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

The Finance Hub, rabbit75, Flora, thanks for the comments, they are appreciated.

Finance Hub, I will be taking a gander at your hubs soon.

rabbit75, they do look like comic book art. I like the use of colour, making sure they stick out at the newstands.

Hi Flora, I chose Lensman as a username for various websites a few years ago and decided to stick with it. It is most apt here at hubpages with all the pictures I use in my hubs. I read the Lensman books ages ago and always liked the name. Thanks for posting.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

I love these older posters, absolutely brilliant - retro but really fascinating. The colours are so vivid and the space creatures (?) are great. Really enjoyed the hub Steve, voted up.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Hello Jools, welcome to my 'very old sci-fi art' hub, thanks for commenting. I love these old covers, wish I had a few here. I want that War of the Worlds issue, it's only 84 years old!


thatmovieguy71 4 years ago

What a great hub! Very interesting with some great visuals. I always learn something new from your hubs. Keep up the great writing!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

I particularly like the headline on the last one 'Planet of the Knob Heads' - they'd never get away with that now!


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks thatmovieguy71, appreciate that.

Jools, a classic title! :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

Jools99 - That's probably right. lol


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

I don't think knob head has the same meaning in the US as it does in the UK which is how they got away with that title. Here it basically means dick head. :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

It seems to mean the same thing in the Midwest.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

I think you have hit a homerun with this hub, Steve. Very well done. You have really started to produce hubs at a nice pace. Lots of great information on one of the greats, I have actually seen many of his photos. Great information that helps fill in the blanks of his very long and successful career. I actually think my uncle has some of these magazine covers in his collection....they used to be stored in my grandmother's attic and as a kid I would go through his collection of old magazines which mainly science fiction and James Bond ones....a nice combo do you not think...voted up and up across the board.

I would mention the quality of the pictures, but I am sure you are tired of me mentioning that....so I will refrain from that compliment on this hub.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks Bruce, appreciate the anecdote, comment, votes and kind words.

I wish I had an uncle who had old pulp magazines in his attic. When I was young I had a cousin who had hundreds of DC comics in his cellar, no Marvel just DC. Loved borrowing and reading them.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America

That's what we need - a Comic Book Library!


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

And why not comics are more popular than ever! I've been collecting them in book form, that way the missus thinks I'm reading a book when in reality I'm enjoying some superhero shenanigans, whatever that means. If Sandra catches me reading comics she'll think I'm going senile, regressing back to my infancy. :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

Hi Steve; I wasn't familiar with Frank Paul, so thanks for the information. I love those old Pulp science fiction magazines. Some of these pictures remind me of my old 'Mars Attacks' cards.

Great selection of pictures, too.

Rob


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

Thanks Rob, appreciate you checking out one of my artist hubs. Glad you liked it.


GetitScene profile image

GetitScene 4 years ago from The High Seas

Love it. I have made several tribute pages to pulp/scifi art myself and never get tired of looking at these masterpieces.


Steve Lensman profile image

Steve Lensman 4 years ago from London, England Author

I wish I owned some of those old pulps but thanks to the internet they are always on display, permanently.

Thanks again for commenting.

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