A large, dazzling, spicy pulp, science fiction, space girl painting by Gabriel Mayorga, which appeared on the cover of the second issue of Super Science Stories in May, 1940. Very loosely illustrating the interior story “Juice” by L. Sprague De Camp, whose slug is worth repeating here in full… They discovered a new game in Lunar Center – a form of ping-pong, with electromagnets for bats, and for the ball a sphere of inimical electricity…
We’re not sure if the giant red octopus shows up before, during or after the game, but his multiple arms might make him a formidable competitor.
This scene evokes futuristic heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, with ray guns a blazin’ – but in this instance the heroics are being performed by a sultry blonde pin-up girl in a form-fitting spacesuit, freshly transported from her spacecraft to lead her team in battle.
By all accounts an exceedingly rare cover painting, and likely the only known surviving example by the artist – in excellent condition, handsomely matted and framed under glass.
A Bio on the artist follows :
Mayorga, Gabriel Humberto (March 24, 1911-June 4, 1988) was an American artist. Born in Columbia, South America, Mayorga lived in Bogota attending an engineering institute before working for a magazine Revistas Estrellas. He moved to New York City at the end of the 1930s, and worked for Popular Publications for a few years, producing but a handful of science fiction illustrations before going into business as a display artist producing mannequins for retail stores. At that time, art was having a major influence on window display, and large department stores featured elegant or surreal displays to sell merchandise. This painting for Juice, the cover for Super Science May 1940, for the lead story by L. Sprague de Camp, foreshadows that career. The image is of a child-like blonde with wide-eyed and doll-like features shooting at an 6 eyed squid-like creature in the background. Mayorga studied at the National Academy of Design with Leon Kroll and Ivan Olinsky, at the Art Students League, and Grand Central Art School in New York with Harvey Dunn. His preferred media were oil, pastel, watercolor (gouache), epoxy, plastic and polyester plastic. From 1940 to 1965, he was director of Mannequins by Mayorga, Inc in New York, and became known for a WWII inspired patriotic line of Welcome Home Mannequins featuring the outstretched arms of a young couple and the longing gaze of their little girl. From 1960 to 1972, he taught at the Pan American Art School in New York while also producing paintings and portraits on commission.