Alex Schomburg

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Alex Schomburg
Alex Schomburg.jpg
Alex Schomburg, circa 1940s
Born Alejandro Schomburg y Rosa
(1905-05-10)May 10, 1905
Died April 7, 1998(1998-04-07) (aged 92)
Nationality American
Area(s) Penciller, Inker
Pseudonym(s) Xela

Alex A. Schomburg,[1] born Alejandro Schomburg y Rosa (May 10, 1905[2] – April 7, 1998[1]) was a prolific American commercial artist and comic-book artist and painter whose career lasted over 70 years.


Alex Schomburg was born on May 10, 1905 in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico,[2] 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.

Illustration for Harl Vincent's Newscast in Marvel Science Stories (May 1939)

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.

Late in life, Schomburg was living in Hillsboro, Oregon, and died in Beaverton, Oregon on April 7, 1998.[3]


Fantastic (Oct. 1961). Cover art by Schomburg

Critical assessments[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. ... [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]


  1. ^ a b Alexander A Schomburg at the United States Social Security Death Index via Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  2. ^ a b Alejandro Schomburg Y Rosa at Puerto Rico Civil Registration via Retrieved on March 21, 2015. Note: Pulp historian David Saunders (cite below) gives name as Antonio Alejandro Schomburg.
  3. ^ Saunders, David (2009). "Alex Schomburg (1905-1998)". Archived from the original on June 21, 2014. Retrieved March 22, 2015. 
  4. ^ Lee, Stan. "Full text written by Stan Lee ... about Alex Schomburg". The Official Estate of Alex Schomburg Site: Press. Archived from the original on February 5, 2015. Retrieved March 22, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Gustafson, Jon, ed. (1986). Chroma: The Art of Alex Schomburg. Poughkeepsie, New York: Father Tree Press.