An Amazing Cover

Amazing Stories, May, 1962

Amazing Stories, May, 1962

This cover, by George Schelling for the May, 1962 issue of Amazing Stories, is one of my all time favorite pieces of of sci-fi art. I’m not sure what I like so much about it. I suspect the composition is very nice. I also think that the colors and shading on the space station are beautiful. I love the sense of vastness in the space-scape background. And the crashing spaceship conveys a lot of energy. I mean, man, you can almost hear the impact and feel  craft’s speed, can’t you?

Probably the whole of the piece is greater than the sum of its parts, too.

The cover illustrates “The Stars My Brothers” by Edmond Hamilton, who along with E. E. Smith is credited by many with creating the space opera genre back in the thirties and forties. George Schelling, its painter, worked as a sci-fi illustrator only briefly, in the Sixties. He then went on to a successful–and I’d guess–highly lucrative career as a nature painter. At which he still works.

You can check out his nature paintings, which are very well done, at

This issue’s back cover was a good one, too, by one of the all time great pulp illustrators, Virgil Finlay. (He won a

Hugo for his artwork the first year they were given, 1945.) It illustrates “The Protector” by John Jakes, who would win his fame and fortune with historical novels, but began his career writing fantasy and science fiction. Finlay also provided gorgeous interior illustrations for “The Protector” and  for “The Stars My Destination”.

Virgil Finlay back cover for Amazing, may 1962

Virgil Finlay back cover for Amazing, may 1962

There was only one other story in the in the issue, a reprint of Phillip Francis Nowland’s “The Airlords of Han,” a Buck Rogers short novel reprinted from the March, 1929 issue of Amazing, with a reprint of its original illustration by Frank R. Paul.

Three stories only amounted to something like a half or a third the number Amazing usually ran, and actually the only one I much enjoyed at the time was Jakes’ “The Protector”. But, man, the issue was a feast for the eyes.

Here’s another shot of that cover:

Amazing Stories, May, 1962

Amazing Stories, May, 1962

About kentmcdanielwrites

Writer and musician.

4 Responses to “An Amazing Cover”

  1. Kent, that’s kind of an unusual Finlay illustration. Although the scratchboard technique is most definitely representative if his work, the figures seem more like Al Williamson’s.

    • Aha, Steven. I didn’t know that you were an aficionado of illustrators. Are you mainly familiar with Finlay from his comics work, or have you seen many of his illustrations of the SF magazines and pulps?

      • Kent, I am definitely an aficionado. I have several of Finlay’s books (rare hardcovers) and a bunch of fanzine-type magazines dedicated to him. As far as SF illustrators go, I’m also a big fan of Kelly Freas, Jack Gaughan, Richard Powers, and my all-time favorite, Roy Krenkel. I also have all of Krenkel’s books, two of them extremely rare.

      • Good to know. I’m unfamiliar with Powers but agree with you on th e other artists.

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