The Golden Age of Retro-Future

From Dark Roasted Blend:

This is the start of a new series, collection of the most inspiring & hard-to-find retro-futuristic graphics. We will try to stay away from the well-known American pulp & book cover illustrations and instead will focus on the artwork from rather unlikely sources: Soviet & Eastern Bloc “popular tech & science” magazines, German, Italian, British fantastic illustrations and promotional literature – all from the Golden Age of Retro-Future (from 1930s to 1970s).

The author is clear on one point: the future never looked better. Sure, it’s a sort of pseudo-pulp, science romance image they paint (which reminds me awfully of SpaceMaster, does that make me bad?) with plenty of cutaways, pointy rockets and smiling people in bubble helmets but there’s such a cheerful image that it’s kind of sad that it didn’t pan out that way.

The images certainly speak of re-usable spacecraft, a vision that is barely realised by the science of NOW. They also show some Abyss-style aliens (First Contact, by Nikolai Nedbailo).

The Retro Future Chart of Starships further down the page remind me of designs made for Frontier, Crucible Design’s version of Star Trek that, sadly, never went anywhere.

Let us know of other rare & unusual futurist art; next issue will be devoted to the architectural and transportation retro-future visions.

I’ll certainly be tuning in!

Of course, the prominence of the Red Star in many of the images from Russian artists and publications inspires me to think of a post-Cold War era backdrop where the smiling idealism of the images is real. A real Retro-Future of a successful communist Russia sending their brave cosmonauts into the void to build a better tomorrow and forever having to thwart the greedy machinations of Capitalist America with their military expansionism!

Yes, yes, Flash Gordon even, but with a big red star on his chest as the silent American defector muscle behind the scientific genius of the people, Hans Zarkov!

“Damn you Hans Zarkov, Hero of Comrades!”
“You will never defeat me, Ming the Capitalist!”
“I have hostages, Dale Ardinski and the defector Flash Gordon!”


About matt

Gamer. Writer. Dad. Serial Ex-husband. Creator of The 23rd Letter, SpaceNinjaCyberCrisis XDO, ZOMBI, Testament, Creed. Slightly megalomaniac
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2 Responses to The Golden Age of Retro-Future

  1. Paul says:

    Blast! Here’s what I should be researching, not the c18th!

    Some great Sov stuff – the magazine Техника молодежи is still running and the back issues from the fifties onwards are on their site:

    Check out the cameraman without a space-suit/helmet under “To Saturn and Beyond” – pre-Capricorn One as well!

  2. matt says:

    Ahhh, if only I could read Russian!

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