Tuesday, June 24, 2008

cool 50s sci fi covers by Powers


Richard Powers pioneered a very different style of science fiction art in the 50s. No aliens mating with human women unfortunately, but something just as cool.
He came up with this sort of modern art landscape look to other planets and worlds. It's very creepy and stylish at the same time.

















http://hedonia.net/art/powers.htm

32 comments:

Weirdo said...

Fantastic artwork. Somewhat reminiscent of Maurice Noble's work on "Duck Dodgers in 24 1/2 Century". Do you have any information on Richard Powers?

Gabriele_Gabba said...

I was just thinking "Duck Dodgers in 24 1/2 Century" too! I wonder if it was inspired? Anywho, this is definitly the most unique alien art style i've ever seen, i love the delicate spires.

perspex said...

good grief, those are fantastic! why dont book covers look like that anymore? why does everything have to be Impactor Arial Bold block letters, all aligned and justified and stretched to fit? i could just sit and look at a blog of just those covers for days... pant pant! more!

j1m_b0ró: artista del fraude said...

I like the molecular Bra on the girl from planet 5

Nate said...

"Powers was also a writer of children's books and a keen sportsman, playing semi-pro baseball until a potentially career threatening hand injury forced him to change to become a highly competitive tennis player."

What a cool dude!

Peggy said...

Powers is awesome! It's a shame nobody tries stuff like this on SF covers any more; it's all realism.

"A Cupful Of Space" is an awesome title, too.

Brian Romero said...

Those are amazing! I've never seen his work before. Thanks John!

Anthony Rizzo said...

John,

I want to live in those worlds! Reminds me of Ren and Stimpy "Space Madness" too. I always wondered who was the mastermind behind those great covers. Thanks John!

Here's a link to a site that has old Sci-Fi radio shows to listen to for FREE! Enjoy!

Blast Off!

-Rizzo

PCUnfunny said...

I love the 50s outerspace vessels. They look like they are living things.

David Gale said...

Very cool! His stuff kind of reminds me of Yves Tanguay, one of the surrealists.

Tanguay

AAAAAAAAAAron J said...

"A Cupful of Space" really needs a doctor! Maybe "The Cosmic Rape" had something to do with it!?!?!?! har har har

Look under the beautiful giant invader girl...first, you could assume they're on her team, but I think their eyes are on something else!!!! tisk tisk

Captain Napalm said...

So I guess "Marooned" was your love letter to Richard powers? So add that to Pete the Pooch's appearance under a different name in "Big House Blues", the extended Burl Ives parody in "Stimpy's Invention", the scene right out of "Porky In Egypt" in "RCKYM", Kirk Douglas all over everything, the possible simultaneous double-homage to Henry VIII's teeth-snapping in "Book Revue" and The Crusher saying "fresh meat!" in "Bunny Hugged" in the animation of the pound owner saying "You boys like to have FUN, donchya?!"....

Y'know, John, I get the impression that you somehow knew all along that Nickelodeon would snap and kick you out. I mean, you found a way to work pretty much everything you love into the first bunch of episodes, and yet you're probably the number one critic of random name-dropping and referential gaggery in the enitre media canon! All of the above works in it's own context, of course, but it still seems like the sort of thing that you would have shied away from doing if it looked like Ren & Stimpy was going to go on indefinitely. Maybe that's why it bugs some people when you take lazy writers to task for cutting and pasting ideas as they do. (By the way, what do you think of the last example I came up with? Am I in the ballpark, or was that guard a purely original creation?)

wolfboy said...

These sort of remind me of Russ Manning's covers for "Magnus, Robot Fighter", from Goldkey--mixed with Salvador Dali. Really, really cool and expressive--never seen these before...as most sci-fi paperbacks we've been inundated with were from the 70's and 80's...Omni-type stuff.

trevor said...

Nice! I've seen stuff like this in cartoons.

- trevor.

The Butcher said...

Wow, it's awesome to know what inspired those backrounds in Marooned.

JoJo said...

Cool shapes. I wonder how he came up with them.

vicki said...

i have never seen this dude's work before, and man, am i impressed.

such amazing shapes and energy, which is something i really strive to work into my own illustration. and i love the foreign everything looks, and the colour, and texture and...
*illustration boner*
oh so slick.

thanks for the post, john. i'll be surfing around and looking for more work!!!

Anthony Rizzo said...

Hey John,

More Georges for you. Am I on the right track with him? Let me know if you get a sec. Yippeee!

More George!

-Rizzoooo!

HemlockMan said...

Yow!

When I worked in my dad's used bookshops in the 60s and 70s, I used to love seeing this guy's work. One of my favorites!

Elana Pritchard said...

"The Cosmic Rape" Sounds like a Burning Man acid party gone horribly off track

Kris said...

One of my friends actually owns a copy of "The Cosmic Rape." We found it in a funny little antique/used book/junk shop and determined that one of us would have to buy it.

Bitter Animator said...

Hey, Roger Ramjet's plane is in that Skylark cover!

These are lovely. I'm a big fan of old sci-fi art, and actually old sci-fi in general. I love the sense of wonder - there's an innocence to it in ways but it's a real desire for discovery, something that seems to be lost - all the current kids are too busy with their careers, Avril Lavinge and who knows what else.

Why don't kids want to be astronauts any more?

Well, this planet is a piece of crap and as soon as I get the opportunity to find one of those alien landscapes (quite like the idea of that space pavement one), I'll be out of here in a flash.

Chloe Cumming said...

This stuff is yum. It's like abstraction rendered fun by its context, enabling me to enjoy the beauty and invention, instead of it being pretentious and bewildering. It's like a subtle culture trick. There's like, infinite material for space cartoons.

I'll meet you in Otherness.

Adam T said...

Wow! Powers is good! He gives you just enough to get your imagination going. And he knows exactly when to stop with his details. Bad realistic cover art on a sci-fi novel does a real disservice to the writer.

Great colors too!

Thanks for posting this!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

I used to have a few of those books! Unfortunately the stories were rarely as weird as the covers.

Alex Gutiérrez said...

This post reminded me of the starting sequences for the original "Lost in Space" TV series.

Rick said...

Glad to see you featured his work, John, I grew up reading all those old Ace sci-fi paperbacks (a fellow Canuck).

I've always wanted to try rendering a Powers background for animation, hmmm....

Aimee Inc. said...

Kinda Miro-like but in 3D...Very cool. I like the cover of Return to Otherness

cemenTIMental said...

Love this kind of thing, thanks for posting. Definitely owes a lot to Yves Tanguay's paintings I think.

Tim said...

Looks like Tanguy is an obvious influence, but the big one is probably Matta:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberto_Matta
http://www.matta-art.com/

He's a lot less known, although he seems to be really close in style and form. Matta's paintings always struck me as being science fiction landscapes, even though they were supposed to be "innerscapes" of the human mind.

mindwrecker said...

For those interested, there's a book of Powers' art out, from a year or two back, that I had intended to get, and forgotten all about it until now. What an original eye!
Someone who was obviously influenced by Powers' style in the comic book world is JIM STERANKO, he used a lot of Powers' ideas in his sci-fi set pieces and weird mechanical design and buildings.
yet another person that I'm glad you brought up! What a great person to sit and lap up good art with! Sure makes me want to run to the drawing board every time.

VaCopierman said...

I like the space cowboy!!!