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


(Richard Weaver’s cover for the 1968 edition of The Monitors (1966), Keith Laumer)

Here’s an evocative collection of SF Statue of Liberty covers from before and after WWII…

Make sure to take a peek at Part I if you have not already. In Part I, I discussed the rationale for my dating restriction i.e. covers on the theme published pre-1968.  After Franklin J. Schaffner’s movie Planet of the Apes (1968) became a cultural phenomena, multiple covers paid homage to the famous scene in the film.  Hopefully, by examining the ten covers I’ve found depicting the Statue of Liberty from before the movie was released — often in scenes similar to the iconic one in Planet of the Apes (Part I contains a comparison) — the purposeful reference to earlier magazine art is clear…

The Statue of Liberty was not only deployed in some post-apocalyptical landscape for shock effect as I showed in Part I.  For example, the statue framed by a nuclear explosion perfectly manifests early nuclear fears in William Timmins’ wonderful cover for the May 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction.  Richard Weaver’s visually stunning interpretation for the 1968 edition of Keith Laumer’s The Monitors (1966) conveys a perversion of liberty… Her withered skull stares forth.

Frank R. Paul’s cover for the January 1935 issue of Wonder Stories uses the Statue of Liberty to key the reader into a futuristic New York.   While Earle K. Bergey’s cover for the July 1942 issue of Startling Stories, uses a similar effect — the destruction wrecked by the giant man (I’d have to read the story it illustrates to find out the nature of the monster) is shown by uprooting the national monument.

What are your favorites?


statue of liberty III

(William Timmins’ cover for the May 1946 issue of Astounding)

Statue of libery II

(Frank R. Paul’s cover for the January 1935 issue of Wonder Stories)

statue of libery

(Earle K. Bergey’s cover for the July 1942 issue of Startling Stories)

For similar posts consult the INDEX

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

  1. One of my favorite stories about the Statue of Liberty is an old “Lights Out” radio broadcast called “The Execution” from 1943. It didn’t have any artwork that I’m aware of, so I am a little off topic, but check it out if you can. It is a great story.

    • It’s not off topic! It certainly suggests that there was a common trope of Statue of Liberty related stories, in the SF format or not, in print and on the radio, and thus all the more reason for Planet of the Apes to make such an iconic sequence as an homage…

  2. Not sure if the Bergey cover depicts The Amazing Colossal Souvenir Hunter, beating out Bert I. Gordon by fifteen years, or some story that’s a primitive precursor to Stith’s Manhattan Transfer. (By the way, does the cover of MT appear in any of your domed city posts?)

  3. Has anyone seen the film adaptation of the first image (“The Monitors” by Keith Laumer)? Very odd 1969 film with a lot of the cast from the Second City comedy troupe in Chicago. Last time I checked it was available on streaming Netflix.

      • “The film is an erratic, unsuccessful attempt at ‘flower power’ satire by the Second City Cabaret Group … The movie is constructed as a series of sketches, some of which … are wickedly funny, but sadly director Shea and writer Gold fail to integrate their material at all. Accordingly, the scrappy film remains, at best, an evocation of the hippy movement of the late sixties. The cinematography of [Vilmos] Zsigmond … makes the film look far better than it, in fact, is.” – The Overlook Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction, Phil Hardy ed., 1995.

  4. John Clute’s Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia cites the “deluxe 1902 edition” of John Ames Mitchell’s The Last American as the first use of the Statute of Liberty. (The plot of the novel sounds a bit like Norman Spinrad’s “The Lost Continent” — an Arab expedition in 2951 to the ruins of American and “fabled Nu-Yok”.

    You can find online pictures of the cover under J. A. Mitchell and “The Last American”.

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