artwork (c) Frank R. Paul estate

Cover art by Frank R. Paul for October 1928 Amazing Stories. 

From this day and age, where science fiction images are commonplace and John Q. Public doesn't blanch at the sight of a weird alien or a spaceship, it is difficult to imagine just how shocking and unsettling and even frightful people found Paul's covers.  One reader suggested that Hugo Gernsback "tone Mr. Paul down." Another noted that the cover above was "too lurid for ordinary quiet people." (March 1929, p. 1146). 

Reader Lovina S. Johnson wrote (in a letter published in the March 1929 issue): "I hear a good deal of criticism of your covers - mostly adverse; I like the covers very much. They help to give one an idea of what the stories are about. The sometimes complicated (to me) descriptions are made plain, with the cover pictures. As to the bright hues of the cover, they are in style, are they not? We women wear dresses of all colors - and combine colors that fight, yet achieve artistic results.

"I am not ashamed to be seen carrying an Amazing Stories magazine. Those who make fun of its cover do not known of the fascinating things the magazine contains. I think that you magazine, in a few years, will be the most popular one on the market. It only needs advertising, and a little time to make it so." 

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