Posts Tagged ‘science fiction art’

Lost Art #2 – Virgil Finlay – Black and White Magic

Hold a Laser Blaster to My Head

The Lighthouse from Fantastic, January 1953

“Name your favorite artist! Just one and do it now or I’ll burn your brains to overcooked porridge.”

If you held a laser blaster to my head and told me to name my favorite illustrator, I’d have to say Virgil Finlay, and then I’d say, “Cool, where didja’ get a laser blaster?”

So here’s eight Virgil Finlay illustrations. Some of these might be found in hard to find books or on websites somewhere. But I’d think many of these have not been republished and seen in 50+ years. Hence the “Lost Art” series.

And don’t forget to click on the thumbnails to fully enjoy them. :)

You’ll find hidden faces in the “Six and Ten Are Johnny” images too.  How many can you find?

Six and Ten Are Johnny from June, 1962 issue of Fantastic

Six and Ten Are Johnny, Fantastic June 1952

The Man Who Mastered Time from Fantasic Novels Magazine

Vibrators of Space, uhmm really it's "A Planet For Plundering" from Galaxy, April 1962 (2 page spread)

The Albino Otter from Fantastic Novels Magazine 7-1949

The Ship of Ishtar by A. Merritt from Fantastic Novels Magazine --sheer awesomeness!

Podkayne of Mars by Robert Heinlein from the March, 1963 issue of If

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)

Brains, Brains, Brains and Science Fiction Art

Two great things that go great together. Brains and Science Fiction. With a blog called Brain Plucker what could be better than showcasing some that art? This will be a series of postings as I gather more and more SF Brain art. If you have some great SF Brain art. Send me a file or link to timeshowhost [at]


Great Covers Series 1

Here are some covers I scanned that I want to share. Just a random sampling of some of the vintage paperbacks I have. Click full sceen on slideshow.

Literary classic with great Pulp art!

Literary classic with great Pulp art!

More Art from Science Fiction Plus

Starting a new blog, one thinks “what will I write about?” Well when you’re interested in vintage genre fiction, there’s a boatload to write about. Take for example this May 1953 issue of Science Fiction Plus.

Image links to full page Spacesuit article.Science Fiction + (May 1953)

This is my second posting on this single issue. The first posting was mostly about the banner art for Brain Plucker. This posting is about the art and science articles. And I’m planning on doing another posting on the Harry Bates story, Death of a Sensitive. The cover features a unique design for the a spacesuit (dig those crazy foot fins). Here’s an interior illustration to accompany the science article on Future Space Suits. Here’s the full page if you want to see what they were speculating about in 1953. Love the rear view mirror. The cover and illustration are by Frank R. Paul. He’s great at illustrating technical things like machines, not so good at people though.

Then there’s the science article on electronic artificial wombs and some crazy technique called “in vitro fertilization”. Not bad for ’53. The picture is of a “The Gagnon ectogenetic-electronic gestation apparatus.” Oh, I think this blog will rank high on Google for the keywords “The Gagnon ectogenetic-electronic gestation apparatus.” Now if I can just set up a site to sell them 😉
The Electronic Baby

There’s of course mostly SF stories. These are from a complete short novel by F.L. Wallace called Worlds in Balance. This first image is a full page illustration that I may try to colorize some day. Artist is Tim O’Reilly.


Here’s a couple of more illustrations from Worlds in Balance. The furry alien is so bad, I had to show ya. But you gotta like the babe with the conical breast :)


Here’s a small illustration to The Proxy Head by Robert Bloch.


And here’s a curious science article called Stranger Than Science-Fiction, which describes “Pregnant Boys”. I googled teratoma, if you want to feel nauseated follow the link. But this article is more lively and exaggerated.



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