Vintage Pulp Aug 16 2014
ASIA SPECIFIC
Mid-century fiction’s love affair with the East produced scores of virtuoso bookcovers.

It seems time for another themed cover collection, so today we’re sharing some of the scores of Asian styled mid-century paperback fronts we’ve seen. Much of the fiction here is offensive on some level, but then quite a bit of the old literature falls into that category. The art, on the other hand, is somewhat easier to look at dispassionately. So we have twenty-three paperback covers revealing the mid-century fascination with—or exploitation of—Asian archetypes, with art by Denis McLoughlin, Robert Maguire (identically on Ne-San and The Transistor Girls), J. Oval, aka Ben Ostrick, and more. Four or five of these came from Flickr, so thanks to the original uploaders on those.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 14 2014
GRAND HOTEL
You can check in any time you like.

Moving away from the hard-boiled for a moment, here’s a beautiful cover for Nina Antony’s L’hôtel des chimères, aka Hotel of Chimeras, 1960, from Editions de L’Arabesque’s collection Colorama. As you probably know by now, Antony was a pseudonym, because that’s just what French authors did. This time the owner is an author named Jeannine Rubia who also wrote under Cora del Rio and possibly other names. Another version of L’hôtel des chimères appeared with different cover art, but this breezy effort from Jef de Wulf is sublime.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 5 2014
BORN LOESER
They say there are victors and losers in life, but what if you’re both?

David Mark’s 1959 thriller Long Shot, originally published as The Long Chance in 1955, is a look at the life of a compulsive gambler. He picks winning horses, losing horses, marries Ruth, beds Katy and Carol, picks winning horses, picks many more losing horses, and eventually resorts to lies, cheating, theft, and so forth. To understand what the novel is about all you really need to know is the lead character’s doubly predictive name—Evan Victor Loeser. The excellent art here is by Mitchell Hooks.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 27 2014
WHO'S LE BOSSU?
All roads lead to Renato.

Today we have yet another excellent cover from Benedetto Caroselli—Anima e corpo, aka Body and Soul, written by Lucien Le Bossu for Edizioni Periodici Italiani’s I Capolavori della Serie KKK Classici dell’Orrore, 1965. Le Bossu, perhaps unsurprisingly, was one of about twenty literary pseudonyms belonging to Renato Carocci. In fact, Carocci even wrote under the name Tom Ewell, who was a well-known American actor of the period. How he got away with that we don’t know. Anyway, you can find out a bit more about Carocci here, and see more art from Caroselli by clicking his keywords below.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 22 2014
QUICK FIXLER
Fred Fixler once again elevates Brandon House sleaze with virtuosic art.

A few years ago we shared eight Fred Fixler covers he had painted for Brandon House. Today we thought we’d fill out the collection a bit with another group of Fixlers, above. Some of these you can see elsewhere online, whereas others you can’t, but they all fall into that our-website-is-not-complete-without-them category we’ve mentioned before. Problem solved. Over time Fixler has become one of our favorite paperback illustrators, and these pieces show why. In fact, they’re probably way too good for an imprint like Brandon House, which published books like The Rape Machine and Sex on Welfare. It’s proof that even excellent artists often barely manage to make a living in this crazy world of totally upside down values. You can see the other Fixler collection at this link.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 20 2014
LADY AND THE SCAMP
Life is like a can of whup-ass—you never know what you’re gonna get.

Basil Heatter’s The Captain’s Lady is the story of a World War II vet who moves to a Florida fishing town and opens a charter boat business. It had been the dream of he and his buddy, Forrest Gump-style, and just like in Gump the buddy was killed in battle, so the protag Greg Cape has to go it alone. At least until he meets a tough woman named Billie, and it’s good she’s tough, because the local boating cartel plans to run Cape out of town. But when he decides to fight, Billie helps, and all hell breaks loose. It’s still a bit like Forrest Gump, but with Gump as a badass. The art for these editions, 1950 and 1953, is uncredited.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 10 2014
ABBETTING AFTER THE FACT
A long overdue collection of Bob Abbett covers.

We’ve compiled a collection of Bob Abbett covers, something we should have done years ago. Throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, working in a couple of distinct styles, he produced some of the most striking book fronts to be found on newsstands. See eighteen pieces of evidence below. 

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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 Jul 3 2014
LADY KILLERS
Sexiness is a warm gun (on a book cover anyway).

This cover of Peter O’Donnell’s Sabre Tooth, part of his popular Modesty Blaise series, shows Italian actress Monica Vitti as the title character, and it got us thinking about all the paperback covers that feature photos of women with guns. Of course, we realize that, as far as the gun-crazed U.S. is concerned, thinking of armed people as enticing or artistic may seem a little tone deaf, but we're talking about book covers, that's all. So we decided to put together a collection. We should mention that the Blaise series is worth reading if you’re looking for something along the lines of light thrills. It’s breezy and sexy as only 1960s spy literature can be, and Blaise herself is an interesting character, born in Greece, raised by a Hungarian scholar, trained in martial arts, and proficient in piracy, theft, and all around sneakiness. In Sabre Tooth she finds herself trying to thwart an invasion of Kuwait by an Afghan warlord. Below we have a dozen more photo covers featuring heat-packing women. As always with these collections, thanks to the original uploaders, most from Flickr, but particularly Muller-Fokker and Existential Ennui.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 30 2014
A SHOULDER TO SIGH ON
Sweetie, stop. I said I like sensitive men, but I meant one who puts the toilet seat down. This is too much.

Merle Miller’s That Winter is one of the better post-World War II novels, dealing with the time-honored theme of veterans struggling to fit in after their military service. One has a dead end job, another believes he can function only in the army, and another is trying to hide the fact that he’s Jewish. In the area of feeling forced to hide an essential aspect of oneself, Miller knew exactly what he was writing about. In 1971 at the age of fifty-one, during a time when he was a public intellectual of considerable stature, he came out in the New York Times Magazine as gay. The article catapulted him into the forefront of gay activism, a status he maintained the rest of his life. That Winter was his first novel, appearing in 1948, with the above Popular Library edition hitting shelves in 1950. The great cover art could be by Earle Bergey, but Christopher P. Stephens’ reference tome A Checklist of the Popular Library Paperbacks lists no illustrator, so we’ll have to go with unknown on this one for now. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 20
1940—Trotsky Iced in Mexico
In Mexico City exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded with an ice axe (not an ice pick) by Soviet agent Ramon Mercader. Trotsky dies the next day.
1968—Prague Spring Ends
200,000 Warsaw Pact troops backed by 5,000 tanks invade Czechoslovakia to end the Prague Spring political liberalization movement.
1986—Sherrill Goes Postal
In Edmond, Oklahoma, United States postal employee Patrick Sherrill shoots and kills fourteen of his co-workers and then commits suicide.
August 19
1953—Mohammed Mossadegh Overthrown in Iran
At the instigation of the CIA, Prime Minster of Iran Mohammed Mossadegh is overthrown and the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is installed as leader of the country.
August 18
1920—U.S. Women Gain Right To Vote
The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified despite heavy conservative opposition. It states that no U.S. citizen can be denied the right to vote because of their gender.
1958—Lolita is Published in the U.S.
Vladimir Nabokov's controversial novel Lolita, about a man's sexual obsession with a pre-pubescent girl, is published in the United States. It had been originally published in Paris three years earlier.

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