GALLERY OF FRANK R. PAUL's SCIENCE FICTION ARTWORK
artwork (c) Frank R. Paul estate
Cover art by Frank R. Paul for August 1934 Wonder Stories.
This cover apparently elicited a lot of debate among the readership. I personally found this cover irresistibly bright and wonderfully, ludicrously colorful. Others did not agree with my positive assessment. In the Jan. 1935 Wonder Stories issue, reader Bob Tucker of Bloomington, Ill., wrote: "In regards to the August issue: The cover - Phooey! (Yeh, I know you are getting tired of me hitting your covers, but I am getting tired of covers that demand hitting.) It seems that you alternate. A good cover one month and a bad one the next. ... So, dear Editor, any time you need a new artiste, don't hesitate to call on me. (Don't send a telegram - the warden doesn't allow telegrams to inmates, for fear they contain secret codes - send it by grapevine, the sure way!)"
Gernsback replied: "We're glad at least half of our covers please you. We of course know that they can't please everyone, and remember that those covers you don't like are great favorites with others of our readers."
Apparently so. Other readers wrote: "The August cover was up to Paul's standard" (Raymond Peel Mariella, Philadelphia); and "Starting from the first of the August issue of Wonder Stories the cover is very good" (G. Newby Crowell, Monroe, N.C.).
And here is a more insightful, original commentary by reader and fan among fans, Forrest J. Ackerman: "Readers seem to like the other artists all right, but do complain about Paul's figures - men - don't they? Why don't you have special composite drawings; let Paul draw all the machinery, monsters, etc., leaving blanks where men are to appear, and then hand the drawings over to Lumen Winter to supply the human beings? But, no; that wouldn't suit me; because I like Paul 100 per cent. What a cover he has drawn for you for August! Rich, variegated; those crystal cube-spires are really weird and beautiful, at least, to my eye."
To this, Gernsback replied: "Artists don't like to draw composite drawings. They like to work alone and be able to sign their names on each piece of work and say 'I did this!' Winter's men would certainly be out of place in Paul's backgrounds. If the entire drawing is not done in the same style, the illusion of reality vanishes."
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