Alex Schomburg

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Alexander A. Schomburg (May 10, 1905,[1] Puerto Rico – April 7, 1998, Hillsboro, Oregon) was a prolific Puerto Rican commercial artist and comic book artist and painter whose career lasted over 70 years.

Biography[edit]

A late-career illustration: final page of Chroma: The Art of Alex Schomburg

Alex Schomburg was born on May 10, 1905 in Puerto Rico, and moved to New York City in the early 1920s, where he began work as a commercial artist with three of his brothers. In 1928, the brothers' partnership ended and Schomburg found work with the National Screen Service, creating lantern slides and working on movie trailers there through 1944.

During the 1930s, in addition to working for the NSS, Schomburg freelanced Better Publications, producing interior line art for Thrilling Wonder Stories and others of the company's pulp magazines. His skill at drawing anything mechanical soon had him illustrating aviation covers for Flying Aces and electronic equipment for the Hugo Gernsback pulp Radio Craft. Schomburg's first science fiction-themed cover was for the September 1939 issue of Startling Stories.

The following decade, Schomburg freelanced primarily for Timely Comics, the 1940s forerunner of Marvel, displaying his talent for slam-bang action tableau. In dynamic covers featuring Captain America, the Sub-Mariner, the Human Torch, other Timely superheroes or any combination thereof, Schomburg filled every square inch with flamboyant characters, flames, knives, guns, explosions, Nazis, Japanese, and pretty girls in need of rescue. He mastered the use of the airbrush, signing many of his airbrushed covers "Xela". Schomburg drew between five and six hundred covers during this Golden Age of Comic Books.

In the early 1950s, Schomburg left comics and spent the remainder of his career on covers and illustrations for: science fiction magazines; astrology publications; and books, including the Winston juvenile series.

In 1977, Schomburg and a few of his fellow Golden Age comic book artists collaborated on the Invaders Annual #1, written by Roy Thomas. Schomburg penciled and inked a 6-page chapter featuring the Golden Age Human Torch. This issue's story, set in the 1940s, contained his first work for Timely/Marvel Comics since the 1940s.

In 1986, Jon Gustafson's book about Schomburg and his work, entitled Chroma: The Art of Alex Schomburg, was published by Father Tree Press.[2]

Schomburg died on April 7th, 1998.[3]

Awards[edit]

Quotes[edit]

Stan Lee:

I've always felt that Alex Schomburg was to comic books what Norman Rockwell was to The Saturday Evening Post. He was totally unique, with an amazing distinctive style. You could never mistake a Schomburg cover for any other artist's. ... I remember hearing Timely Comics publisher Martin Goodman tell me time and again how great a cover illustrator Alex was, and how he wished we had more like him. ... He was the only artist I knew able to combine strong, dramatic layouts, and exciting superhero action with a simplistic, almost cartoony style of execution. One could never be sure if Alex was an illustrator who approached his work like a cartoonist, or a cartoonist who chose to render his artwork like an illustrator. ... [D]espite the quantity of work we gave him, despite the care and effort that went into every Schomburg cover, I cannot remember Alex ever being late with any illustration.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JKPS-S6X : accessed 04 Mar 2013), Alexander A Schomburg, 7 April 1998.
  2. ^ Gustafson, Jon, Alex Schomburg, Harlan Ellison, Stan Lee, Kelly Freas, Vincent DiFate, Brian Wilson Aldiss, and George Barr. Chroma: The Art of Alex Schomburg. Poughkeepsie, N.Y.: Father Tree Press, 1986.
  3. ^ Pulpartists.com
  4. ^ Lee, Stan. Schomburg monograph publicity materials.

References[edit]

External links[edit]