These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

By Attila Nagy on at

We all know the scenes of a devastating Martian invasion: gigantic alien tripods and fighting-machines destroying towns, killing helpless humans, abducting men, women, and children. But do you know the Brazilian painter who was responsible for bringing those images for the first time in the early 1900?

It was a painter and illustrator named Henrique Alvim Corrêa (1876-1910) who planted these images in our collective mind. Corrêa drew his illustrations for the 1906 Belgian edition of H. G. Wells’s sci-fi masterpiece, The War of the Worlds.

The ongoing Illustration Art Signature Auction at Heritage Auctions (ends on May 14) features 29 original pencil and ink artworks created for this book, the earliest apocalyptic depictions of a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. These pre-modernist drawings of our deepest fears made the artist world famous long after his very early death, showcasing his work in several exhibitions in museums and galleries.

Livre Premier: L’arrivée des Martiens

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured as the title page of Book I: The Coming of the Martians, 1906.


Martians Head Toward Earth

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter I: “The Eve of the War,” 1906.


Martians Land

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter III: “On Horsell Common,” 1906.


Martian Emerges

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter IV: “The Cylinder Opens,” 1906.


Martians Blast House

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter VIII: “Friday Night,” 1906.


Martian in the Forest

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter IX: “The Fighting Begins,” 1906.


Martian Fighting Machine in the Thames Valley

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter XIV: “In London,” 1906.


Thunderchild Versus Martian

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter XVI: “The Exodus from London,” 1906.


Martian Gas Cannon

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter XV: “What Had Happened in Surrey,” 1906.


Martian Flying Machine

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book I: The Coming of the Martians, Chapter XVII: “The Thunder Child,” 1906.


Martian Handler

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book II: The Earth Under the Martians, Chapter II: “What We Saw from the Ruined House,” 1906.


Handler Grabbing Human

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book II: The Earth Under the Martians, Chapter V: “The Stillness,” 1906.


Martian Machine Over the Thames

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book II: The Earth Under the Martians, Chapter VII: “The Man on Putney Hill,” 1906.


Martian Viewing Drunken Crowd

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book II: The Earth Under the Martians, Chapter VII: “The Man on Putney Hill,” 1906.


Wrecked Martian Handler

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration is featured in Book II: The Earth Under the Martians, Chapter VIII: “Dead London,” 1906.


Humans Dissecting Martian War Machines

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

This illustration was featured in Book II: The Earth Under the Martians, Chaper IX: “Wreckage,” 1906.


The War of the Worlds

These Century-Old Drawings Show Humanity's Deepest Fear: Alien Invasion

L’Vandamme edition announcement poster, 1906