Unknown (later retitled Unknown Worlds) was in print from March 1939 to October 1943. There were thirty-nine issues in all, but only sixteen of those issues featured a full-color cover. I don't know why the editor, John W. Campbell, Jr., decided to switch from illustrated to non-illustrated covers. He must have known that covers sell magazines. If he decided to disregard that and go ahead with a supposedly more dignified cover, then he made what could have been a fatal error. The magazine carried on for more than three years after Campbell made the switch. That suggests a still respectable readership. But non-illustrated covers could not have helped circulation. In my mind, they could only have hurt Campbell's cause. In any case, here are the covers for the first calendar year of Unknown, March through December 1939.
|H.W. Scott returned for the cover of the third issue, May 1939. Note that the main title logo is lit by the same effects as the rest of the design.|
|Scott's illustration for the fourth issue (June 1939) is another unremarkable cover. Was John W. Campbell ashamed of publishing a magazine of fantasy?|
|Maybe not, judging by this cover from July 1939. The artist was H.W. Scott.|
|H.W. Scott did this cover for September 1939, the month the war started.|
|Graves Gladney did this cover for the November 1939 issue of Unknown. The bear looks more like a wolverine.|
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley