That delightful ’60s/‘70s intersection of pop-psychedelic surrealism and space-age futurism produced some of the most awesome book covers the world has ever seen, with illustrations that often far exceeded in greatness the pulpy sci-fi genre novels they’d adorned. While some of those artists achieved renown, too often, those covers were the works of obscure toilers about whom little is known.
Davis Meltzer, alas, fits deep into the latter category. My best search-fu yielded so little biographical data that I’m not even able to determine if he’s currently alive. A 2014 Gizmodo article alluded to the fact that Meltzer was still living as of its publication, and offered up some résumé data as well:
Davis Paul Meltzer was born in 1930, in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, and attended school in Newtown, Pennsylvania. Both his parents, the late Arthur Meltzer and Paulette Van Roekens, were highly respected fine art painters—and he inherited their great talent. During his career as a freelance artist he created stamps for the U.S. Postal Service, painted dozens of sci-fi book covers, worked for NASA, and worked as a scientific illustrator for 30 years at National Geographic.
Enjoy this gallery of Meltzer’s book covers, assembled from various online sources. If you’re looking to own some Meltzer art but you just utterly hate books, a print of his called “How Cocaine Works in the Brain” is available.
Mack Reynolds, Equality: In the Year 2000
Clifford D. Simak, City
Andre Norton, Plague Ship
Margaret St. Clair, The Dancers of Noyo. Love that tag-line.
Keith Laumer, A Plague of Demons
Theodore Sturgeon, The Worlds of Theodore Sturgeon
Barry N. Malzberg, The Falling Astronauts
Andre Norton, Web of the Witch World
Clifford D. Simak, Time and Again
Andre Norton, Victory on Janus
Bruce McAllister, Humanity Prime
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Dreamy sci-fi paintings show the world after an alien invasion
Psychoactive sci-fi surrealism: The book covers that inspired XTC’s Andy Partridge
The marvelous cover art of the early ‘Star Trek’ comic books