Vintage Pulp Oct 19 2014
ZONED OUT
She’s dreaming of the day when she gets to change out of that ridiculously uncomfortable outfit.


Above, an alternate promo for Yoru no saizensen: Tôkyô onna chizu, aka Secret Zone of Tokyo. This one is nice, but the previous version is one of the coolest Japanese posters we’ve seen.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 18 2014
SPACE INVADERS
Spain conquers the cosmos.

Above, assorted covers of the Spanish science fiction series Luchadores del Espacio, or Space Fighters, from Editorial Valenciana, created and written by Pascual Enguídanos Usach under the pseudonym George. H. White, with other authors like Alfonso Arizmendi Regaldie, José Luis Sanchis Benet (writing as Joe Bennett), and Pedro Domingo Mutiñó (as P. Danger) also involved. Art is mostly by José Luis Macias, with a few contributions from Vicente Ibáñez Sanchís and José Lanzón Piera. A couple of these images came from audiolibrosdebolsillo (where you can download audio copies), so thanks to them. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 17 2014
MORBO FASCINATION
Artist C. Renè makes a bold statement in blue.

Finally, an Italian horror novel that wasn’t illustrated by the incomparable Benedetto Caroselli. This time the artist is someone billed as C. Renè, and he/she’s created a beautiful blue cover for Mark Hawk’s Morbo Azzurro (Blue Disease), opting to show a very detailed eye and set of lips rather than a whole face. Very effective work, we think. This appeared in 1961 and was a ristampa—a reprint—of a 1960 release.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 15 2014
MASTERFUL KEY
Glass Key paperback art is tops thanks to another Italian master.

Brian Donlevy and Veronica Lake’s film noir The Glass Key, which was Hollywood’s second try at Dashiell Hammett’s novel, premiered this month in 1942. To be exact, it opened yesterday in New York City and throughout the U.S. on October 23. The poster most often seen online is the theatrical release version we showed you several years ago, but alternates were produced and two of them appear below. What we really wanted to share, though, is this great paperback cover from UK-based Digit Books. It’s from 1961 and features the art of Italian illustrator Enrico de Seta, who we’ve mentioned before. If you haven’t watched The Glass Key we recommend it, and if you haven’t read the book, just know that it was Hammett’s personal favorite. 

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Vintage Pulp Oct 14 2014
NOUS WORLD
Out of the fires of war came romance.


We’re sharing one last item from our France trip before moving on to other items. We haven’t run out of Parisian purchases, though—we’re just saving the rest of our finds for later. Above is another cover of the photo romance publication Nous Deux, which we mentioned was a French version of an Italian magazine put together by the brother of the two Italian publishers. That brother was Cino Del Duca, who was a major cog in the French Resistance during World War II, and earned the Croix de Guerre for his efforts.
 
After the war he launched a small publishing house in Paris and built that into a successful business. Later he diversified into cinema, and extended his publishing arm into West Germany, Great Britain, and his native Italy, building an empire in the process, and using his ample profits for philanthropic pursuits. When he died in 1967 streets were named for him in Paris and Biarritz, and today a major French literary award bears his name—the Prix Mondial Cino Del Duca.

The cover of this Nous Deux, with its happy and colorful holiday theme, is by Aslan, a prize-winner in his own right (he was given the prestigious Commandeur des Arts et Lettres in 2003). Some online sources say his covers appeared on the magazine only in the early 1960s, but 1968 is the date on this, and it’s one of his more beautiful pieces, we think. Now it’s time to put our French material aside and focus on other countries the way Cino Del Duca did. We’ll have more from him and Nous Deux later.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 13 2014
VENUS DE PARIS
French cover model earns her stripes.

This is the first issue of the Parisian art deco magazine Vénus we’ve had on the site. There’s a reason for that—they’re rare. And there’s a reason for that—they’re amazing. We think it’s the prettiest mid-century French art magazine ever made, and that’s really saying something, because plenty were published. This one survives from January 1937 and when we saw it at one of bouquinistes adjacent to the Seine it seemed to leap out from all the publications on offer. And no wonder—the cover photo-illustration of a woman dressed as a sort of theatre usher riding a carousel zebra is an instant classic. We’ve already made a high resolution scan of it and are thinking of having it framed. Our website (and other vintage websites) implicitly ask whether we are today living in a less artful age. Vénus answers that question definitively, especially when you consider that it was only one (but the best in our opinion) of a dozen or more French magazines of similar stripe (heh, because of the zebra). For a refresher on what was going on in Paris during the mid-century era check here, here, here, here, and here, but only after you scroll down and enjoy the interior of Páris, including a stunning overleaf, a great rear cover, and photography from Schostal, Caillaus, and others.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 11 2014
A REAL MOUTHFUL
Not only is she fun—she’s easy to swallow.

Souris à croquer means “chewable mouse.” Nothing more to add there, really, except to speculate that maybe it’s a slang phrase. French friends help us out. Moving on, you may already know the master illustrator Jean David, who signed his work J. David. Did he write this book? We have no idea, and neither did anyone else we asked. Considering J. David painted from the 1940s onward, and this book by Jean David appeared in 1958, it’s certainly possible they’re the same person. Note to selves: more research. Souris à croquer, by the way, means “chewable mouse.” Did we mention that already? Well, it bears repeating. The cover art here is not by J. David, but by Jihel, aka Jacques Leclerc. 

Update: Jo B. from Marseille has the answer, writing: "Souris à croquer" means "a mouse to eat."  "Mouse" is a little slang term (not vulgar) to designate a pretty girl. "Croquer" is the way you eat an apple, a bar of chocolate or something like that. I don't know the real word in English (munch, crunch?). Maybe we have two mice to crunch on the cover as "souris" can be one mouse or many mice.

Thanks so much Jo.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 11 2014
FATAL BALLET
Who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time now, smartass?

Above, another cool comic book cover, this one featuring a woman dressed vaguely like a ballet dancer seeming to scratch her ankle and shoot her enemy at the same time. Or maybe that’s just a normal French shooting pose, because they do everything with a bit more style. Actually, this is the French version of the Italian comic Satanik, created by Max Bunker and Magnus, and the character is Marny Bannister, a woman who develops a formula to make her beautiful, but with the side effect of turning her into a murderous criminal. The screen version starred Magda Konopka, who needs no formula of any sort to look good.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 10 2014
DOWNWARD SPIRAL
Where she stops nobody knows.

Where we stayed in Paris near the famed Sorbonne seemingly dozens of comic book shops had sprouted. Here’s an amazing cover that caught our eye—Dans les spirales du temps, from Elvifrance, number 103 in its Serie Verte, 1973. See more Elvifrance here, here, here, and here.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 9 2014
ENTRE NOUS
Deux for the price of one.

The above photos show the wares of one of the vintage booksellers known as “bouquinistes,” Parisian vendors found on the right bank of the River Seine from Pont Marie to Quai du Louvre, and on the left bank from Quai de la Tournelle to Quai Voltaire. Amazingly, they have been there in one form or another since the 1700s. We were lured to this specific bouquiniste by some issues of the weekly Nous Deux and grabbed a couple at half the asking price. Nous Deux was a version of a wildly successful Italian magazine called Grand Hôtel, and was established by the brother of the two men who had launched the Italian imprint. The cover art on Nous Deux is always spectacular. Since it was a reiteration of the Italian magazine, the art was often Italian in origin, mainly by Walter Molino and Giulio Bertoletti, and inside each issue appeared a few more illustrations and twenty pages of photo fiction. This particular cover from 1951 is by Bertoletti for the story “Incident sur la Canebiere,” and features the charming scene of a woman with her heel stuck in a trolley track being rescued by a passing stud. Interestingly, later issues of Nous Deux were illustrated by Aslan, and those are rare indeed.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 22
1926—Houdini Fatally Punched in Stomach
After a performance in Montreal, Hungarian-born magician and escape artist Harry Houdini is approached by a university student named J. Gordon Whitehead, who asks if it is true that Houdini can endure any blow to the stomach. Before Houdini is ready Whitehead strikes him several times, causing internal injuries that lead to the magician's death.
October 21
1973—Kidnappers Cut Off Getty's Ear
After holding Jean Paul Getty III for more than three months, kidnappers cut off his ear and mail it to a newspaper in Rome. Because of a postal strike it doesn't arrive until November 8. Along with the ear is a lock of hair and ransom note that says: "This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits." Getty's grandfather, billionaire oilman Jean Paul Getty, at first refused to pay the 3.2 million dollar ransom, then negotiated it down to 2.8 million, and finally agreed to pay as long as his grandson repaid the sum at 4% interest.
October 20
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.

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