Alex Schomburg is highly respected for being the longest lasting, active science fiction artist whose career spanned over sixty years. His first work appeared in 1925 and he was still producing illustrations in the mid 1980s. In his eighties Schomburg reflected,
“I feel very fortunate to be still around to do science fiction art since most of the small group that dominated that field in the 1950s are now gone… Guess I am one of the last.”
Born in Puerto Rico to a German father and Spanish mother, Schomburg moved to New York in 1912. He showed promise in art at a young age and by 1923 he opened an art studio with his three brothers in midtown Manhattan. They created advertisements for companies such as General Electric and Sanka Coffee among others.
Schomburg was first exposed to science fiction in 1925 through the legendary magazine publisher Hugo Gernsback. This began a forty year career illustrating Gernsbeck’s Science and Invention, Electrical Experimenter and Radio Craft magazines. He also did freelance work for many pulps during the 1930s and by the 1940s he created covers for Marvel Comics and drew Captain America and the Human Torch among other classic characters. Comic book collectors regard Schomburg as one of the finest artists from the Golden Age of Comics.
The 1950s proved to be a prolific time for Schomburg’s science fiction work in magazines and book illustration. By the late 1960s he was the first artist hired to do conceptual drawings for Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Work continued to stream in keeping Schomburg busy into the twilight years of his life.