Welcome to the first post of Weird Science.
It's most likely if you are reading this post, you will have backtracked through "blog time" to get here. Therefore, let me be the first to welcome you, future traveler, to the past (or my present) of this post. I think that it's a fitting first entry to talk about the greatest Science fiction illustrator of the last century, Wallace Wood.
Wood was a concept artist, an excellent draftsman and a MASTER with inking. As we prepare to take a critical look at science fiction though the ages, a knowledge of Wood's work in Science Fiction is essential.
As an EC artist in the 50's, Wood's work was admired by a generation of artists, writers and directors who would bring his aesthetic to the popular subconscious. The "bubble-helmet" seen above, for instance, is a Wood trademark that shapes the look of fictional space suits to this day. It's hard to hear the word "Martian" without picturing one of these gentlemen:
Only H.G. Wells can claim to have more impact on the way we imagine Martians.
Wood worked on airplanes during WW2, and his mechanical understanding of those machines were the basis of his greatest images. A spaceship was not a empty plastic shell to Wood, but a thousand interlocking pieces working in unison to push a mighty iron hull. Here is a page from Wood illustrating Ray Bradbury's There will come soft rains:
Each mechanical element showcases Wood's curious mind, his scientific exploration.
This is true "science fiction", not "fantasy"... This visual world is based on Wood's assumptions of what reality could exist, not a dream land "long ago and far away". There's a thin line there, but I think that it's an important one that requires more thought and another post.