The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1959.
The death of American illustrator/cartoonist/designer Ron Cobb was announced yesterday. All the obituaries are concentrating on the designs he produced for Hollywood feature films so here’s an alternative view of a long and varied career.
After Bathing At Baxter’s (1967) by Jefferson Airplane.
Cobb’s first album cover is his most famous, and probably his most familiar work outside his film designs, but there were a few more, some of which may be seen below. The San-Francisco-house-as-aircraft always reminds me of the car/plane hybrid piloted by Professor Pat Pending in the Wacky Races cartoons.
Some Of Our Best Friends Are (1968) by Various Artists.
Ecology symbol, October 1969.
Cobb’s copyright-free design for an ecology symbol was published in the Los Angeles Free Press in November, 1969. The “Freep” also ran Cobb’s cartoons, some of which were later collected in The Cobb Book (1975). Satire has a tendency to date very quickly but many of Cobb’s barbs are still relevant today.
Doctor Druid’s Haunted Seance (1973).
Continue reading “Ron Cobb, 1937–2020”
My earlier post about Future Life magazine mentioned the regular Portfolio series which featured interviews with illustrators and space artists, the latter group being the people who providing conceptual paintings for astronomy books and government entities such as NASA. Since the magazine files at the Internet Archive aren’t searchable I thought it worth making note of the interviews here, for my own benefit as much as anything else. (This blog has often served as a useful notebook.)
Issue 1: Chesley Bonestell.
Many of the artists featured in Future Life were receiving their first (in some cases, only) high-profile feature at a time when little attention was given to the producers of this kind of work even in popular science-fiction magazines. The story magazines have always run interviews with writers but prior to Future Life, Science Fiction Monthly was the only magazine that I’d seen with a regular illustration feature, and that title didn’t last very long. Future Life covered some of the same people, Chris Foss, for example, while seeking out the prominent figures of the US illustration world. Not all the art is to my taste at all but the interviews are of interest even if you don’t like the pictures. One surprise was finding an interview in one of the issues that I’d missed with Ludek Pesek, a Czech artist whose views of the Solar System and depictions of the evolution of life on Earth I knew from the Puffin books he worked on with Peter Ryan. Those books were aimed at a young readership and were great favourites of mine before I’d seen anything by Foss and co. Another of the space artists interviewed is David Hardy, a British contemporary of Pesek’s whose view of an alien planet will be familiar to Hawkwind enthusiasts on the back cover of Hall Of The Mountain Grill. Another notable feature of the series is the lack of women artists, although this isn’t so surprising given that women creating pictures of space hardware are few even today. All the same, they might have featured Rowena Morrill, a popular cover artist for SF and fantasy novels at the time, and someone whose work I prefer to many of the people they did profile.
Issue 3: Boris Vallejo.
Issue 4: Robert McCall.
Issue 5: Shusei Nagaoka.
A Japanese artist best known in the West for his album-cover art for ELO, Earth, Wind and Fire, and many others.
Issue 6: Ron Miller.
Issue 7: The Brothers Hildebrandt.
Issue 8: David Hardy.
Continue reading “The artists of Future Life”