Lost Art #1 – The Interior Art of the Pulps

Forgotten and Overlooked

The Father of Science Fiction Illustration--Frank R. Paul--Amazing Stories April 1933 illustrating The Man Who Awoke by Laurence Manning

There’s a number of sites that feature the cover of the old Pulp magazine (and they’re awesome). But what is often overlooked and forgotten and nearly lost is the art in the interiors. I’ve got a great fondness for the old fiction magazines, whether they be the pulps or the digests. I’ve decided, as a regular feature on Brain Plucker, to feature some of the art I’ve been running across.

Types of Lost Art

Slowly going through and scanning the art from the Pulps and Digests to find these treasures is one my ideas of fun. Because now I can share them with you.

This is a planned weekly feature for Mondays. We’ll have different postings for individual artists, special themes, and featuring individual magazines’ content.

And I’ll always try to credit the artist. Sometimes the artist is uncredited, but perhaps other fans can clue me in those cases.

There will be an emphasis on Science Fiction but there will be other genre featured too.

The Kind of Art That Will Be Featured

The art will come from various magazines from around 1930 to 1963. The art will be in the Public Domain. Some magazines renewed their copyrights. Those magazines won’t be featured here. But believe me, there is no lack of magazines with great illustrations that are Public Domain. The pulps generally lasted till about the mid-1950s. The popular magazine format switched to digests. From these pulps and digests is where I will mine most of the art.

Some of the interior art is poor. I’ll be avoiding that kind. There’s so much that is very good to excellent, why bother with the crap.

These are Thumbnails, People. Click on Them

Really, the thumbnails don’t do these works justice. Please click on them and admire their craft. The details and craftsmanship blows me away. And there’s the plain artistry!

 

The Time Tombs by Virgil Finlay from the March, 1963 If

Processing Back to Black & White

When I scan these images, often the paper is course and tanned (kind of what pulps are all about). I process these back into Black and White very carefully. There are no shades of gray or tan when completed. There’s a fine line (pun intended) in keeping the details and totally messing them up. Sometimes the quality of the paper and printing limits my ability to pull out the most out of an image. But I’m usually pleasantly surprised at how nice they turn out.

 

Coloring the Past

So what’s the big picture here? There’s bigger plans than just sharing these wonderful images. We are working on a project to colorize many of these images. This will be a community effort and I’ll be adding details once the project is up and running.

Also we plan to publish print books of some the black and white and well as colored art.

Lost and Found!

The Avengers illustrated by Emsh from Science Fiction Stories 9-58

So let’s get away from this text and view some art. And look for more every Monday!

The Torch illustrated by Lawrence from Fantastic Novel Mysteries--Fantastic Indeed!

Cinderella, Inc. illustrated by H. W. McCauley from Imagination, December 1952

Homecoming illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas from Science Fiction Stories, 11-56

Dolgov illustrating Ride the El to Doom from Weird Tales, 11-1944 (a two page spread)

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