Vintage Pulp Aug 25 2015
FREE AS A BIRD
Flight 69, please hold position until further advised.

We think the fabled mile high club is like the original Woodstock—400,000 people showed up, but if you count everyone who claims to have been there attendance was actually something like 8 million. If you’ve never had sex in the sky, let Paul Rader’s cover for Mike Skinner’s 1962 sleaze novel Flight into Sin inspire you (even if the cover figure hasn't gotten airborne yet). Skinner is a bit of a mystery, but we know he was credited with other books in a similar vein for Midwood, such as So Wild, The Undoing of Jenny, and The Passionate Virgin, and he seems also to have written Blondes Don’t Give a Damn as Michael Skinner for Kozy Books. As for Rader, there’s little more to add—he was one of the kings of mid-century paperback art. You can read a full bio on him here. 

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Vintage Pulp Jul 3 2015
ALL THUMBS
Well, mostly thumbs.

The hitchhiker has been a central element of many a mid-century thriller, with the results of these rides ranging from hot sex to bloody murder, and several outcomes between. Below is a collection of paperback covers depicting various characters casting their fates to the road. Wish them luck—they’ll need it. And thanks to all the original uploaders on these. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 4 2015
TOUCH OF EVIL
Um, I think we’re going to need some revisions to this script.

Above, the cover of Amy Harris’s 1962 novel Touch Me Gently, in which a woman’s personality changes after she’s attacked and violated during a midnight dip in the local swimming hole. The virgin-to-vengeful-vamp transformation triggered by a rape is an all-too-common scenario found everywhere from sleaze fiction to ’70s sexploitation cinema to Japanese pinku films. On the one hand it’s always highly distasteful; on the other it acknowledges the existence of these terrible events and allows women violent revenge. In terms of artistic merit, you have to judge on a case-by-case basis. But that’s what it’s always about with difficult subjects, isn’t it? Done right, valuable understanding can result. The cover art by Paul Rader is excellent. No problem understanding that at all. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 22 2015
NAME BRAND PULP
What’s in a name? Everything, if it’s the title of a vintage paperback.

Above and below you will find a large collection of pulp, post-pulp, and sleaze paperback fronts that have as their titles a character’s first name. There are hundreds of examples of these but we stopped at thirty-two. The collection really highlights, more than others we’ve put together, how rarely vintage paperback art focuses on male characters. The prose is virtually all male-centered and male-driven, of course, but because the mid-century paperback market was male-driven too, that meant putting women on the covers to attract the male eye. We tell our girlfriends this all the time, but they still think we just don’t bother looking for male-oriented vintage art. But we do. For this collection we found two novels that have male characters’ names as their titles, and we looked pretty hard. If we had to guess, we’d say less than 5% of all pulp art is male-oriented. In any case, the illustrations come from the usual suspects—Barye Phillips, Robert McGinnis, Jef de Wulf, Paul Rader, et al., plus less recognized artists like Doug Weaver. Thanks to all the original uploaders for these.

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Vintage Pulp Nov 1 2014
OFF THE MENU
Tonight I think I’m in the mood for a big, juicy piece of meat.


Paul Rader once again demonstrates his genius with this cover for Brad Curtis’s Man Trap, brought to us by always reliable Midwood Books, 1963. Curtis was a pseudonym used by Giles A. Lutz, predominantly a writer of westerns who made a few forays into thrillers. What we really like about this cover are the spangles in the background hinting at some wonderful nocturnal metropolis, doubtless rife with sex, sin, and other worthy pursuits. Pretty nice, too, how Rader slipped his signature—in this case a single “R”—onto the back of the menu. 

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Vintage Pulp Sep 15 2014
EASY RADER
I think it’s really cute when a guy wears pajamas, but I have something even more comfortable you can slip into.

This is one of the prettiest Paul Rader covers we’ve seen, which is really saying something considering he painted this and this. But this stellar turquoise and gold effort for Joan Ellis’s Sooner or Later may be our favorite Rader yet. Note how the placement of the girl’s elbow suggests an erection on her tormented brother-in-law. Joan Ellis was in reality author Julie Ellis, and she also wrote as Linda Michaels, Jill Monte, and Susan Richard. She went on to author serious fiction, but even if those later books were better written, we bet none of them looked as appealing as this.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 7 2014
BRUSH FIRE
Blaze consumes acres of grassland. Authorities seek cause.

Above, the cover of March Hastings’ The Heat of the Day, one of many lesbian themed novels published by Midwood-Tower. It’s the story of two girls whose blackened skeletons are found in a fire-scorched field. Well, not really. It’s actually about two girls who meet at a summer camp and develop a scorching attraction for each other. 1963 on this one, with art by Paul Rader. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 5 2013
DOCTOR IN THE BLOUSE
Well, yes, it’s unorthodox, but I’ve found this to be just as accurate as using a stethoscope.

Actually, if the doctor tried to speak at this point it would sound like, “Mmmph mmmph mmmph,” and nurses don’t wear blouses, but hey, coming up with more than two-thousand headers isn’t easy. Anyway, Loren Beauchamp was a pen name of award-winning sci-fi author Robert Silverberg, and his Nurse Carolyn, one of many sleaze novels he wrote to pay the bills, first appeared in 1960. The above cover is from the 1963 second edition and was painted by Paul Rader.

Update: We got an email about this cover from Ruben: "Just wanted to let you know that today's book cover, Nurse Carolyn, was likely painted by Stan Borack, though I'm not 100% certain. However, I AM absolutely certain that it is NOT a Paul Rader cover."

Thanks for writing in, Ruben. Our info comes from the comprehensive website Vintage Sleaze Paperbacks, which writes: "Rader also did the cover for the second edition, which is less striking but still Rader." So at this point we'll throw it to the masses. Anyone have definitive info about this one?

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Vintage Pulp Jul 6 2013
NOT SAFE FOR WORK
They’re having a hard day at the office in more ways than one.

Where would sleaze fiction be without Midwood Books? The company was launched in 1957 by Harry Shorten, and the sub-genre of office sleaze quickly became one the new company’s linchpins. Below are some examples of these books, with art by the always excellent Paul Rader and others. Thanks to all the original uploaders.


 
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Vintage Pulp Jul 4 2013
STOLEN KISSES
If it feels good just do it.

You never forget your first kiss, right? Pulp and sleaze paperback covers have always been a medium for this form of affection, and so today we have for you below some of the most memorable kisses we’ve encountered over the years. A couple of these are from triplexbooks.com, a site we’ve already mentioned as worth a look. Art by Paul Rader, Louis Carrière, Ernest Chiriaka and others. Enjoy.


 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 03
1941—Auschwitz Begins Gassing Prisoners
Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of Nazi Germany's concentration camps, becomes an extermination camp when it begins using poison gas to kill prisoners en masse. The camp commandant, Rudolf Höss, later testifies at the Nuremberg Trials that he believes perhaps 3 million people died at Auschwitz, but the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum revises the figure to about 1 million.
September 02
1967—Nation of Sealand Established
The Principality of Sealand, located on a platform in the North Sea, is established under the rule of Prince Paddy Roy Bates. Proving that paradise is a pipe dream as long as humans are involved, Sealand has already endured a coup, a war, and a hostage crisis since its formation.
1973—J.R.R. Tolkien Dies
British fantasy novelist J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, dies at the age of 82.
September 01
1902—French Go to Moon
Georges Méliès' Le voyage dans la lune, aka A Trip to the Moon, is released in France. It is the first science-fiction film ever made.
1939—Germany Starts World War II
Nazi Germany, along with the Soviet Union and Slovakia, attack Poland, beginning the chain reaction that leads to war across Europe.
1972—Fischer Beats Spassky
In Reykjavík, Iceland, American Bobby Fischer beats Russian Boris Spassky and becomes the world chess champion. The match had been portrayed as a Cold War battle, and thus was a major propaganda victory for the United States.

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