It has been a while since I delved into the magazine collection. AND. Everyone on the internet seems to like lists. So here are my personal favorites – a Top 35 List – drawn from among the Volume 1, Number 1 magazines, starting with Amazing Stories in 1926 through the present.
My choices are highly subjective and have little to do with the contents of the various magazines and almost everything to do with the artwork.
Honestly, this is a pretty bad cover – but I like it. Woefully inaccurate also, but the sense of adventure and strangeness manages to come through.
I think the Science Wonder cover appeals because there are two different styles of spaceship (or maybe its just Freudian). Scoops, well, giant robots running amok is just classic. (Note that the victim is in his PJs.)
Those poor tiny people. I don’t think a pistol is going to do much good against those robotic deathrays. Or maybe that robot thing is actually trying to rescue the minis? (Great Weinbaum novel in that issue btw.) The Dynamic cover is just so… dynamic; my copy still looks newly printed and it was the first collectible I ever purchased.
A world in flames (I love apocalyptic things) and those taloned hands. This premiere cover for JW Campbell’s mag was a perfect visual representation of the title. Super Science appeals because I’m intrigued by the people seen through the viewport. Are they the cause of the destruction or trying to prevent it?
The Earth split asunder. Well, it couldhappen. Stirring’s cover was cheap, but I like the work-a-day feel to it. Besides, leather space helmets are cool.
The Weird Tales Canada issue just has some way cool alien/monster creature things on it. I really like the way one of them is looking right at you. Oops. It saw me. Better run. Futuristic Tales? Apparently I have a thing for giant robots. Apparently so do British cover illustrators. At least these guys got dressed for the occasion.
New Worlds is actually the second cover used for the first issue, and is far superior to the first one in my opinion. Spaceships meeting in the deeps of space says SF to me, I guess. The Fantasy cover, while cheap nevertheless intrigues. There’s a scene from Galaxy Quest that reminds me of this cover (spaceships and fireworks).
The Science Fantasy cover is obviously Kobold pre-Niven. I wonder if Larry unconsciously had this mag in mind when he created it? Ten Story Fantasy? Well, I’ve got a bigger thing for half-naked women and whips than I do for giant robots.
Half naked women and whips again. (Even though there aren’t any whips in the picture, you just know there has to be one close by.) Finlay’s cover for this re-titling of Marvel is classic Finlay – a typically classic SF scene rendered surrealistic.
Great ship. Great planetary background. Great bra. Science Stories’ cover is the perfect evocation of a “scramble” using spaceships instead of B-52s.
SF Adventures was a pretty crude rag, so far as contents went, but this cover is one of the best, with the entire story reflected in the bell of that raygun. Science Fiction (another retitling of Future) is another great apocalyptic image. The creature is exactly the kind of thing you’d expect to see crawling out of a bomb crater.
Crashed spaceships – especially ones that have been buried for a long time – are a standard feature of SF iconography. The FU cover is just a great Bonestell-like planetscape.
IF’s UK debut is another planetary scene. Maybe if you enlarged the Fantastic Universe cover, you’d see these guys somewhere in there… F&SF from Australia – great scene of a crash at the rocket field.
Star, Fred Pohl’s major editorial contribution to the field, features a great Powers cover. The Vanguard image is probably one of the most brutal ever depicted. Whoever is in the control room is about to start having a very bad day.
This retitling of Amazing (Science Fiction to Stories) riffs on the Bonestell moon lander. Worlds of Fantasy, a sister mag to Worlds of Tomorrow shows us what happens to the children of people captured by the creatures featured on the Weird Tales cover.
TMTSFET depicts quicksand in space. You’d think they’d have known something was up before getting out of the ship… SF Monthly from the UK was a noble attempt at an art mag and was filled with posters.
UWOSF was a great comics mag. This cover is a great nightmarish image of alien invasion. Heavy Metal? Well, its got almost giant robots and a kinda half naked woman and sorta whips.
Future has another Bonestell rendition and the (brief) re-issue of Galaxy has a great steampunk/giant robots pastiche.
There you have it.