Frank R. Paul
|Frank R. Paul|
Frank Rudolph Paul is best known for his illustrations in science fiction pulp magazines, and he was also an illustrator of interiors. He greatly influenced the cover art of these magazines, especially during the 1920s.
Paul initially studied art in Paris and Vienna as part of his formal education. He later studied architecture in London, which is clearly reflected in his artwork.Paul immigrated to New York in 1906 where he designed several buildings and illustrated textbooks. Paul also drew political cartoons for a rural newspaper in New York.
Magazine editor Hugo Gernsback hired Paul to do artwork for The Electrical Experimenter in 1914, which Gernsback renamed Science and Invention. Paul also began doing cover art for other magazines edited by Gernsback, most of which had a science fiction theme. One of his earliest interior illustrations was for the short story What Hackensaw Found on the Moon, which appeared in a 1923 issue of Science and Invention. Paul remained loyal to Gernsback throughout his life and followed him after Gernsback lost control of his magazines in 1929. Paul continued to illustrate Gernsback’s new magazines, including Science Wonder Quarterly, Science Wonder Stories, and Scientific Detective Monthly. Gernsback retired from magazine editing in 1936, and Paul began illustrating other science-fiction magazines such as Science Fiction, Famous Fantastic mysteries, and Comet. Paul drew the illustration of the Human Torch on the cover of the first edition of Marvel Comics, although his rendering bears little resemblance to those of other artists who have drawn this character. His architectural training is evident in his ability to draw detailed futuristic cities, although his human figures were simplistic. Paul’s artistic style was also considered primitive because he only used three colors in his magazine illustrations as opposed to the usual four. Paul’s best known works include his illustration of The War of the World, which appeared on the cover of a 1927 issue of Amazing Stories. He drew a cover for an issue of Amazing Stories published in 1928, which illustrated The Skylark of Spaceby E. E. “Doc” Smith. Cities in the Air is also one of Paul’s most iconic images, and it appeared on the cover of a 1929 issue of Air Wonder Stories.
- Paul was the only guest of honor at the 1939 World Science Fiction Convention.
- Magazines with Paul’s illustrations on the cover routinely sell for more than $20,000.
- Paul was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009.