Modern Pulp Mar 25 2015
GRAFICO DESIGN
Spanish magazine Monografico fuses art, criticism, politics—and sometimes pulp.

One of our friends from Spain sent in a few scans from an issue of the freezine Monografico, an art magazine founded in Burgos in 1987 by Luan Mart and which today is a forum not just for art, but criticism and political commentary. What caught our friend’s eye was the usage inside of the adventure magazine Man’s True Danger from August 1963. The art on that is by Charles Frace, and the boxed text has been changed (see original at right) to describe the action on the cover, but ironically. It says, “While the city sleeps, rat-haired chavalotes, gallant and generous, teach fragile butterflies to defend against evil men using simple house keys.” Chavalotes means something like “lads” or “big boys,” and it also has a sexual connotation we won’t bother with here. The idea of the image is simply to point out the prevalence of using doublespeak to mask misdeeds—i.e., how the state proclaims it wishes to protect you from external threats, but uses that as an excuse to increase its own power by destroying your rights. This is obviously a big issue in Spain, but it’s a problem everywhere. Our friend sent us a few other scans, and though they aren't pulp we decided to share them anyway because they're very interesting. We’ve uploaded those below. And thanks for sending this in—we love it when we check our inbox and find that the day's pulp work has been done for us. 

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Modern Pulp | Vintage Pulp Mar 20 2015
GETTING HAMMERED
Three Italian covers offer three visions of Mickey Spillane’s hard-boiled Mike Hammer classic.

The top cover for Mickey Spillane’s Ti ucciderò was painted by the excellent Giovanni Benvenuti for Garzanti in 1957. You can see the artist’s signature more or less in the middle of the cover. The title Ti ucciderò means “I will kill you,” which is considerably less evocative than the original title I, the Jury, but maybe that just doesn’t translate well in Italy for some reason. The second cover is also from Garzanti and dates from 1972. The shifty eyes at top were a design element on all the Spillane covers from Garzanti during the period. Last you see a 1990 edition of I, the Jury published by Oscar Mondadori, and though we don’t know the artist, it’s interesting to see a book appear so late with a painted cover. The detective on that one, if you take a close look, is the actor Stacy Keach. He was starring as Mike Hammer on an American television show called The New Mike Hammer, from which you see a still at right, and the Mondadori book was a tie-in for when the show hit Italian television. All three covers are nice, but Benvenuti is tops, as always.

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Modern Pulp Feb 26 2015
THIS LITTLE PIGGY
Think you have trouble getting laid? Try dealing with this guy’s problem.

Above are assorted covers of the Italian fumetto Pig, which first appeared in 1983 from Ediperiodici. Pig was reprinted in both French and Spanish, though the French editions ran into trouble from authorities that saw the content as promoting bestiality. You’d have to be a real prude to see it that way, because this is pretty funny stuff. An experiment gone awry has given the protagonist a pig’s head, and if he doesn’t have sex regularly he’ll transform past the point of no return. Since he has a pig’s head, the sex thing is a bit tricky, but through sheer animal charm he manages. So what’s your excuse for not scoring? We bet you have a human head, so quit your bellyaching. 

As a side note, this comic brings to mind the time we worked for a production company in L.A., which at some point began scouring the country for graphic novels with cinema potential. Once word got out in the comic community we began receiving dozens of submissions a week, all of which had to be evaluated for merit. There was one guy who sent in something called Pork, and the idea was that a pig was elected to the U.S. Senate. We loved that one and gave it highest marks, but others in the company just didn't get it. Disagreement over the concept contributed to us getting fired. Which just goes to show how stupidly literal some people are.
 
Anyway, we have some interior scans from issue number 63 of Pig below. In those pages the hero calls himself Dick Saroyan and seemingly is a writer or journalist. However, we’ve seen online that the pig is actually named Mark, so maybe in this issue he’s involved in some sort of undercover caper. Regardless, he ends up getting laid and that's all that really matters for him, lest he transform into 100% swine. Have a look below. The art, which is by Averardo Ciriello, is pretty graphic, but that's why it's per adulti.

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Modern Pulp Feb 13 2015
FOLLOW THE LIDER
Why thank you. I’ll put this right into my secret account at HSBC.

It’s been a while since we shared any Mexican pulp art, so here’s a nice example—it’s entitled “Líderes aprovechado,” which means “exploited leaders,” and it depicts the buying off of a politician. How unsophisticated—don’t they know if they follow certain procedures this becomes a perfectly legal campaign donation? They need to look north for inspiration. Anyway, this painting and others we’ve shared were made for Mexico’s cheapie paperback market during the seventies and eighties. You can see a few other examples here, here, and here. 

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Modern Pulp Jan 10 2015
BEBA YOU'RE A STAR
Gio and Roberto make a porno.

Above and below, a revisitation of the Italian fumetto Pornostar, with cover art by Roberto Molino and interiors from Giovanni Romanini. A couple of websites say the physical aspects of Beba and Fiona are based on two showgirls from the Italian television program Striscia la notizia, but we checked and it turns out the show debuted three years after the comic. See our other entry on this comic here.

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Modern Pulp Dec 22 2014
NEW YORK VISIONS
Owen Smith’s pulp influenced creations are modern masterpieces.

We don’t spend as much time as we should on what we like to call modern pulp, but we very much like contemporary artist Owen Smith and mentioned how his work fronts two of our favorite crime novels of recent years—Daniel Chavarría’s Adios Muchachos and Tango for a Torturer. Smith also created two brilliant Dashiell Hammett posters that we shared back in 2009. We wanted to get back to him, so above and below are some of his unique, pulp-style covers for The New Yorker magazine. You can see more art on his website.

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Modern Pulp Dec 13 2014
ALPHABETICAL DISORDER
One out of two isn’t bad, when it comes to Cyrillic.

The cover of the above Soviet-issue James Hadley Chase/Victor Canning double novel isn’t particularly wonderful, but the interior illustrations are rather nice. We don’t read Cyrillic, but we painstakingly plugged the cover squiggles into a translator and came up with I’ll Bury My Dead for Chase and something like “communicating on foot” for Canning, a title which resembles those of none of his actual works. So there you go. We were actually pretty confident when we started the process. We once figured out the St. Petersburg subway system during rush hour, so we figured book titles would be a snap. No such luck. These translations appeared in 1991.

Update: The answer comes from John, who wrote in saying: пешка translates as "pawn", so a reasonable guess might be Queen's Pawn, Canning's 1969 book. The other word проходная translates as "communicating", so that is harder to work out a connection.
 
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Modern Pulp Nov 27 2014
TOKYOSCOPE POP
2010 lecture and film series produced uniquely stylish art.

Modern art with a vintage flair always catches our eye. The posters above and below promote a lecture and film series called TokyoScope Talks, which were held in San Francisco during 2010 at the subterranean Viz Cinema in Japantown. The cinema has since closed, and the lecture/film series has concluded, but the art is so interesting we wanted to share it anyway, even fours years late. These events were primarily organized by writer/journalist Patrick Macias, and the posters were put together by the talented Kazumi Nonaka.

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Modern Pulp Nov 26 2014
CHE REVOLUTION
Hasta siempre, Comandante.

Since we mentioned in our Kennedy post that Mercocomic had serials about other historical figures, we decided we’d go ahead and share these Spanish Che covers from 1978. The complete run was three issues in the order seen, and the art is once again from the excellent Prieto Muriana, who even worked in a Pietà on cover three. “Hasta siempre, Comandante,” by the way, is a very famous Carlos Puebla song recorded by everyone from Joan Baez to Nathalie Cardone. 

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Modern Pulp Nov 22 2014
BLOOD BROTHERS
Mercocomic re-imagines one of the darkest periods in American history.


A long while back we shared a Spanish cover of the Mercocomic publication Kennedy and mentioned that a series of six appeared in 1977. The same comics were also published in French, so today, inappropriately, we’re sharing those six covers from France with their excellent if unsettling art by Prieto Muriana. Mercocomic published serials of other well known figures, among them Che, Hitler, Mussolini, Don Juan Tenorio Garcia, and Quijote 78. None are strictly factual accounts, but rather re-imaginings of the circumstances and motivations that drove important historical episodes.

Kennedy, as you can probably guess from JFK’s exit on cover one and Lee Harvey Oswald’s dispatching on cover two, deals with events leading all the way up to RFK’s assassination, with the proceedings generously sprinkled with the sex, drugs, betrayal, and hyperviolence you’d expect in an adult comic. Years ago when we first ran across Kennedy you could download all six. Not anymore. But they’re still available for purchase online at reasonable prices and then friends can question your taste for buying them. Luckily that isn’t a problem for us—most everything we own is tasteless. 
 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
March 27
1958—Khrushchev Becomes Premier
Nikita Khrushchev becomes premier of the Soviet Union. During his time in power he is responsible for the partial de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union, and presides over the rise of the early Soviet space program, but his many policy failures lead to him being deposed in October 1964. After his removal he is pensioned off and lives quietly the rest of his life, eventually dying of heart disease in 1971.
March 26
1997—Heaven's Gate Cult Members Found Dead
In San Diego, thirty-nine members of a cult called Heaven's Gate are found dead after committing suicide in the belief that a UFO hidden in tail of the Hale-Bopp comet was a signal that it was time to leave Earth for a higher plane of existence. The cult members killed themselves by ingesting pudding and applesauce laced with poison.
March 25
1957—Ginsberg Poem Seized by Customs
On the basis of alleged obscenity, United States Customs officials seize 520 copies of Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl" that had been shipped from a London printer. The poem contained mention of illegal drugs and explicitly referred to sexual practices. A subsequent obscenity trial was brought against Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who ran City Lights Bookstore, the poem's domestic publisher. Nine literary experts testified on the poem's behalf, and Ferlinghetti won the case when a judge decided that the poem was of redeeming social importance.
1975—King Faisal Is Assassinated
King Faisal of Saudi Arabia dies after his nephew Prince Faisal Ibu Musaed shoots him during a royal audience. As King Faisal bent forward to kiss his nephew the Prince pulled out a pistol and shot him under the chin and through the ear. King Faisal died in the hospital after surgery. The prince is later beheaded in the public square in Riyadh.

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