Vintage Pulp Dec 15 2022
LES MARSEILLE LAYS
It's time to stand at attention, boys.


The cover art on Le voyage a Marseille by Alex Cadourcy was painted by someone new to our website. He signed his work as Arrigoni, as you see at lower left. Try as we might, we can't come up with more than that single name, though we did find other nice covers he created. Therefore this particular artist will remain a mystery for now. Cadourcy, though, was no mystery—he was aka André Héléna, and he wrote this for Éditions Le Lucane, copyright 1961.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 8 2022
MAN OVERBOARD
You get the feeling he's not her biggest Fanfan.


Above: a well worn cover for André Héléna's Fanfan la douleur, for Éditions le Trotteur's Condor collection, 1953. The art is by Jacques Thibésart, aka Nik, and it caught our eye because it seems to have been inspired by the famous promo image from Gilda of Glenn Ford losing his temper and slapping Rita Hayworth. At least we think so. If that's the case Thibésart wasn't going for an exact duplicate, but it feels about the same. You can check for yourself at our collection of Hollywood stars—including men on men, women on men, and women on women—slapping each other. It's fourth in the set

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Vintage Pulp Jun 22 2020
DEAD DRUNK
Come on, one more won't kill you.


Jean David is one of the great French illustrators of the mid-century era, and this cover for Kathy Woodfield's 1955 novel Massacres à l'anisette shows him at his best. Woodfield, as we recently mentioned, was a pseudonym for André Hélena, and he wrote this for the Parisian publisher Éditions de la Seine for its Collection Rafale. David was based in Marseilles and was active from the 1940s and onward, working often with Le Méridional, and specializing in small drawings for V magazine. In our opinion he truly shone on paperback covers. Take a closer look below at how beautifully rendered his female figure is. He did far too few book covers. In fact we've seen only a handful. But you can bet that each time we run into one we'll share it here. We think he's great. You can see some of his mini art here, and another brilliant paperback cover at the bottom of this post.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 16 2020
FULLY AUTOMATIC
The best hired guns never miss the mark.

Like clockwork, it's time once more for Jef de Wulf, one of the most reliable paperback illustrators of the mid-century era. Every cover he painted, for whatever company employed him, was stylish and unique. He was automatic. Here's an example of him at his best on this 1952 cover for Faudra cracher au bassinet, by André Helena writing as Kathy Woodfield, for Éditions la Dernière Chance's series Le Roman Noir Féminin. We don't know anything else about the novel except that the title translates as “you'll have to spit in the bassinet,” which is French slang meaning to give reluctantly. It only makes sense once you know that “bassinet” doesn't just mean a baby's bed, as it does in English, but also a church collection dish. Eew. We give unreluctantly more de Wulf here, here, and here

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Vintage Pulp Oct 26 2016
DOWN THE UP STAIRCASE
In vintage fiction you really need to watch your step.

The first step is a doozy, as they say, but in vintage fiction so is the last one and all those in between. Above and below are assorted paperback covers featuring characters who've had a bad time navigating stairs, a few due to accidents but most via ill intent from third parties. We also have one hardback dust sleeve we added at the bottom because it was so interesting. Just scroll down, but do it carefully.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 19 2012
DE WULF MAN
He had dogged determination to produce high quality art.

A couple of times we’ve shown you the distinctive work of French illustrator Jef de Wulf, and today we’re back with four more of his pieces in a slightly different vein. Rather than his usual textured backgrounds, here he works with negative white space while producing three covers for Editions de la pensée moderne’s 1950s-era Collection tropique, and one for Editions Armand Fleury’s Collection Le crépuscule. These, we think, showcase de Wulf at his best. We’ll have more later, and you can see those other covers here and here.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 27
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".
May 25
1938—Alicante Is Bombed
During the Spanish Civil War, a squadron of Italian bombers sent by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to support the insurgent Spanish Nationalists, bombs the town of Alicante, killing more than three-hundred people. Although less remembered internationally than the infamous Nazi bombing of Guernica the previous year, the death toll in Alicante is similar, if not higher.
1977—Star Wars Opens
George Lucas's sci-fi epic Star Wars premiers in the Unites States to rave reviews and packed movie houses. Produced on a budget of $11 million, the film goes on to earn $460 million in the U.S. and $337 million overseas, while spawning a franchise that would eventually earn billions and make Lucas a Hollywood icon.
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