Italian artist, author, translator, and comic book critic Ferruccio Alessandri (1935-) created twenty-two covers for the Italian SF magazine Galassia (most of the issues between #109-132) in 1970. Galassia magazine was instrumental in introducing Italian audiences to the New Wave movement. Issues often contained both translations of popular English language authors and original Italian short stories and experimental visions.
As a unit, Alessandri’s covers convey a terrifying hellscape of insectoid visages (#122, #110, #128, #130), encounters with the surreal (#115), the oddly humanoid shapes (#119, #114, #116, #127), etc. Like searing flashes of a planet bathed under neon light, they are micro windows into the wonderscape of science fiction. While his Galassia covers are unconnected to the contents of the issues (to the best of my knowledge), I find their cumulative effect unsettling and alien.
In addition to Galassia, he produced covers for Gamma, Futuria, among other Italian publications. I plan future posts on those publications. Alessandri also wrote four short stories between 1964-1966 for Gamma which remain untranslated into English. Science fiction did not remain his home after 1974 (his last cover). He embarked on a career in comic book publication and criticism. For a more complete look at his comics career check out both his Wikipedia entry and article (both in Italian).
As readers of the site may know, Italian covers were often on the experimental side of the SF art spectrum. Galassia frequently commissioned new artists each and every year. The styles changed on a dime. Cover art produced in Italy might be my second favorite country after the United States for the 60s/70s. I appreciate their willingness to commission more surreal than descriptive SF art.
Check out my posts on the following Italian SF cover artists
- The Galassia Covers of Allison aka Mariella Anderlini
- Haunting Landscapes and Cityscapes: The 1970s Italian SF Art of Allison aka Mariella Anderlini
- Italian Tanith Lee Covers by Allison (aka Mariella Anderlini)
- The Reddish Figures and Constructing Cities of Alberto Cavallari
- The Surreal Cityscape Covers of Ludovico De Luigi
Let me know your favorite covers in the comments!
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10 thoughts on “Adventures in Science Fiction Cover Art: Ferruccio Alessandri’s Insectoid Visages and Other Nightmares”
Simak’s RING AROUND THE SUN cover made me twinge with nostalgia, it caught something of the essence of that tale that’s also in my memory.
Very evocative art in general, htanks for featuring it.
Ah, so some of the covers do relate to their contents? Perhaps in a more metaphorical way? [not that I mind but I couldn’t detect correlation].
The illustrations are a sort of blend of the “nightmarish” and comical (e.g., the shape of the faces/eyes are cartoonish). I like!
Yeah, I feel the same — I’m partial to art that exhibits a collision of tone. Any favorites from the bunch?
Ehh, maybe the cover for Galassia #128 (1970)?
A good one! Have you been reading any SF from this era recently?
These are eye-catching covers… a bit unnerving and pulls in your curiosity.
Thanks for stopping by! Any favorites?
Hmmm… I’m not wild about the insect covers, so I’d say my favorites of these are Galassia #115 (Edmond Hamilton), #109 (Phillip K. Dick), and #125 (Philip José Farmer).
The insectoid faces are quite creepy — disconcerting to the extreme!