- Arts and Design
Frank R. Paul - Legends of SF Art vol.5
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.
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.