Thursday, April 12, 2012


Over the course of May I’ll be writing periodically about prolific Golden Age comic book cover artist Alex Schomburg (May 10, 1905-April 7, 1998). Schomburg’s air brushed covers could barely contain the insane amount of surreal action he put into them. Giant machines of doom, damsels in distress, heroes mercilessly gunning down Nazi’s and other Axis powers. He often signed his work as “Xela”.  Schomburg covers were full of merciless anti axis propaganda. A prime example was the cover to Exciting #39 (pictured above). Schomburg has the Nazi’s injecting poison into candy and then offering the candy to starving war orphans. Black Terror intervenes just in the nick of time with sidekick Tim about to assassinate one of the offending poison candy carrying Nazi’s. Just one example of Schomburg's brutal caricatures of the enemy.

Alex Schomburg photo courtesy of Lloyd N Phillips
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Schomburg at the San Diego Comic Convention in the mid 80s where I had the good fortune to be able to watch him do sketches for fans. It was an amazing experience to watch this legend at work. There are two great books about Schomburg. The first is called Chroma: The Art of Alex Schomburg by Jon Gustafson. The other is The Thrilling Comic Book Cover Art of Alex Schomburg from Vanguard Productions. I highly recommend both.

My first Schomburg comic book
While Schomburg is most famous for his WW2 era covers for Timely (aka Marvel Comics), some of my favorite Schomburg covers were those he did for the “Standard/Nedor/Better” publishing company. Most notably the covers for “Exciting Comics”. Exciting Comics covers were often graced with Judy of the Jungle and the Black Terror. Over the next couple months I’ll be breaking down Schomburgs covers into various categories such as sci-fi, jungle girls, propaganda, and so on. I’m going to start off with a few of Schomburg’s “jungle girl” covers, in particular the Judy of the Jungle covers for Exciting Comics….

The Alex Schomburg celebration contines in part 2, part 3, part 4, and part 5.  Thanks to Grand Comics Database for the cover scans.  Additional photos from the Jon Gustafson book Chroma: The Art of Alex Schomburg.  

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