The Best Of The Worst
This entire issue can be downloaded here
Amazing artist; very stylish & seemingly unique in this branch of art. Can’t find any information on him/her; any suggestions for where I could find some? Were all five of these covers published in the same year?
“By 1933 the magazine’s circulation had dipped to around 25,000, and it was doing little to attract new readers. Its covers were, for the most part, subdued. The mainstay artist was Leo Morey, Frank R. Paul having followed Gernsback to his WONDER stable, and though Morey’s covers were arguably better executed, they were drab and uninspiring compared to Paul’s. AMAZING did try one bold experiment during 1933, with a series of surreal symbolic covers rendered by an artist called A. Sigmond. Today these covers may be seen as revolutionary, but they met a cold reception from the readers of the 1930s, and probably harmed AMAZING‘s circulation.”
Fascinating stuff! Tenakoe!
It is true that Gernsback, with the September and November 1932 issues of Wonder Stories, experimented with non-pictorial covers based on technology, but with A. Sigmond (?-?) there appeared the first series of non-representational covers in the fantastic pulp magazines.
Sigmond did eight abstract covers for Teck Publications in 1933. His/Her work, which included the lettering, is modern, competent, and attractive, although without display value or sales appeal. Some of these coven, which are totally flat, with no attempt whatever at depth. contain highly abstracted icons like spaceships, but others seem to consist of decorative elements. In many ways they suggest a transfer of motifs from Scandinavian crafts.
It seems obvious that Sigmond’s covers were associated with a desire to reduce printing costs, for one used only a blue plate, others only blue and red; only one cover applied full three-color printing. This last cover would seem to indicate that Sigmond did not understand printing processes well, for his/her stress on the blue and red plates, with only a slight visible hint of yellow from the yellow plate really amounted to a waste of press work. In effect he/she was preparing a two-color cover with three colors.
While artistically correct and aesthetically pleasing, Sigmond’s covers were undoubtedly disastrous on the newsstands, since, practically, they amounted to camouflage.
Nothing is known about Sigmond. There is no record of his/her attendance at New York art schools and no listing of other work that he/she may have done. Social Security records include several “A. Sigmonds,” male and female, but there is no reason to believe that any of them was the artist. In “Thomas O’Conor Sloane, A.B., A.M., E.M., Ph.D.” by Schwartz/Wei-singer (Science Fiction Digest. June 1933, p. 5), it is stated, appropos of nothing. ‘Cordial Dr. Sloane tells us that A. Sigmond lives in Hoag, Holland.” If this is meant seriously, “Hoag” is possibly an error for The Hague; but Dr. Sloane was known to be a joker and hoaxer. In any case, it is incredible that cover art could be handled from Europe.
A curious point emerges from a squib printed in Mon Weisinger’s column ‘The Ether Vibrates’ in the July 1933 issue of Science Fiction Digest: ‘The July  cover of the same mag [Amazing Stories, signed as by Sigmond] was a composite of the work of three or four different artists, Morey tells me” (p. 8). This might be interpreted as reinforcing the notion of hoar in Dr. Sloane’s statement.
— Science-fiction: The Gernsback Years : a Complete Coverage of the Genre By Everett Franklin Bleiler, Richard Bleiler
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