The fantastic artwork of Frank R. Paul has had an undeniable influence on the world of Science Fiction. All the way back in 1926 his art was featured on the cover of the first issue of Amazing Stories, the first magazine dedicated to the genre. His bright, even garishly colored works featured fantastical monsters, aliens, imaginative spaceships and architecture… and a limited priority to draw human faces… all in a time when most of the American population didn’t even have a telephone. Later he would illustrate the very first cover of the iconic Marvel Comics, featuring none other than the Human Torch.
Among Paul’s other firsts: he is credited with drawing the first space station in August 1929 and in November of the same year he drew what may be the first flying saucer, both for Science Wonder Stories. In 1939 he was the only guest of honor at the first World Science Fiction Convention. His cover illustrations for Amazing Stories, Wonder Stories and others, would go on to inspire a host of influential people later in the century, from Arthur C. Clark to Ray Bradbury. For a huge collection of his covers, head to frankwu.com.
Below: the first illustration of a space station, featuring parabolic mirrors to provide power and a cylindrical observatory. August 1929.
Below: the first illustration of a flying saucer, almost two decades before the first sightings by Kenneth Arnold. November 1929.