Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Statue of Liberty on Pre-1968 Magazine and Novel Covers


(Still from the 1968 film Planet of the Apes, dir. Franklin J. Schaffner)

For more covers on the same theme see Part II

I suspect that virtually all science fiction fans and film cineastes recall the vivid sequence near the end of the 1968 film Planet of the Apes where the Statue of Liberty lies half-buried in the sands.  Franklin J. Schaffner’s film draws on a rich tradition in pulp science fiction cover art.  I’ve included six cover from 1941-1965, all before the film was released, that depict the Statue of Liberty submerged by apocalyptical floods and excavated by future spacemen.  I have a large catalogue of covers that show various landmarks destroyed by mechanical monsters, ogled at by aliens, and wrecked by a variety of world ending disasters.  The Hollywood penchant for destroying as many national landmarks as possible in movies is deeply rooted in existing visual traditions.

My favorite is by far Blanchard’s (does anyone know his full name) cover for the 1959 edition of John Bowen’s After The Rain (1958).  The dark skies, the stormy waters reaching up to her nose, the survivors of the flood perched near the flame, the boats and roofs of houses floating about, perfectly evoke the extent of the disaster — and, “elements gone wild!”


(if I’ve missed any pre-1968 covers please let me know.  I know that there are multiple later covers but they might be purposefully referencing Planet of the Apes)

(Blanchard’s cover for the 1959 edition of After The Rain (1958), John Bowen)

(Uncredited cover — might still be Blanchard — for the 1965 edition of After The Rain (1958), John Bowen)

(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the February 1964 issue of Amazing Stories)

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(Hubert Rogers’ cover for the February 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction)

(Alex Schomburg’s cover for the 1953 August-September issue of Fantastic Universe Science Fiction)

(Howard Purcell’s cover for the 1966 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction)

For similar posts consult the INDEX

25 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: The Statue of Liberty on Pre-1968 Magazine and Novel Covers

  1. As a bona fide Planet of the Apes fan I’m thrilled to see others have discovered and researched this somewhat common theme. I should correct you that it is Franklin J. Schaffner, not Franklin F. Schaffner who directed the original movie. A minor quibble, but we owe him so much that I felt it necessary to correct. I do believe that there are other prior examples, but I’m going to have to check my files to be sure. One of the most common references we see on such lists is the cover of the first issue of “Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth” (drawn by the great Jack Kirby, no less), but that is a comic and perhaps beyond your purview. Nice work.

  2. great post (nostalgia for planet of the apes). There’s a book store in town that has tons of old sic fi books like this – i will leaf through them next time I am there – maybe I’ll find something. Is there anything in particular (otherwise) that I should look for while I’m there?

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  4. I was always struck by the ending of the original film of “Planet Of The Apes”–the cataclysm not only buried the Statue of Liberty, it also made the planet rotate the opposite direction so that the sun set in the East.

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