(with thanks to Bill Storie): Everyone knows veteran artist Chris Foss as the man who draws amazing spaceships – and whose art has inspired many an illustrator down the years. But did you also know one of his first commissions was a comic strip?
In an interview for New Scientist published back in September during promotion time for Titan Books brilliant Hardware: The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss, Foss revealed he drew for Penthouse in the 1960’s, the first being a rabbit cartoon for Issue 3 of the then new adult and controversial magazine.
Publisher Bob Guccione promptly commissioned him to produce a regular strip, later putting the young artist on a retainer when he left his job as an assistant to other artists.
New Scientist notes that while the strip was predictably centred on adult concerns, its backdrop of “quarries and monsters” drew on Foss’s surroundings as he grew up amid half-derelict fortifications dating back to World War II on Guernsey – and foreshadowed the direction of his later science fiction work.
Penthouse had a policy of employing great artists so work in its pages – incuding Ron Embleton, Harvey Kurzman and Neal Adams, to name but a few.
While we imagine the strip itself might scare horses if published here on downthetubes, we’d be interested to know if anyone has further information about it. Given the length of Foss’ career a definitive listing of his output over the years is still being built up and new images keep popping up in the strangest of places because his work has by no means limited to science fiction book covers (he also illustrated The Joy of Sex, for example).
• Chris Foss Official web site: www.chrisfossart.com