Vintage Pulp Apr 1 2023
ALL THAT JAZZ
Mid-century paperback artists were in tune with the times.


There are numerous jazz themed mid-century paperback covers. The jazz milieu—with its smoky clubs, passionate personalities, and idiosyncratic ways—fascinated readers. Above you see a small collection of fronts that visually reference the uniquely American (black American) art of jazz. We've also added a couple of the many torch singer and crooner covers out there that seem jazzy enough to fit. The artists are Barye Phillips, Stanley Zuckerberg, Harry Barton, Mitchell Hooks, Julian Paul, and others. We've previously posted quite a few jazz covers, and we have a few jazz themed books still to read, so in both cases you won't see those pieces here. We don't keyword for jazz, which means a search for those we've already posted would bring up a welter of books, movies, tabloids, and album covers. Therefore, in order to save you the trouble of wading through all that, here are some links. We'll limit ourselves to ten: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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Vintage Pulp May 20 2021
RIGHT JABS
A shot in the arm may finally set us free.

We got our vaccinations today, and in commemoration we have a collection of paperback covers featuring syringes. These should be considered a supplement to the larger collection of needles we put together in 2013. The process of vaccination was surprisingly efficient. The health pros were going thorough people at a rate of about one per minute. There's been no controversy here. No talk about refusing. Vaccinations are considered the right and sensible thing to do. We've had some shots before in our lives and mostly didn't feel them. This one felt exactly someone stabbing you in the arm with a long, sharp object.

During the last year-plus about ten friends got sick and recovered, and a couple of friends died, one in Guatemala and one in the U.S. But we can't complain about how the period has gone for us. We have plenty of space, an ocean view, mellow girlfriends, and we work online. Having all of that makes us reflect upon how difficult it's been for so many others. Early last year we threw a birthday party for PSGP. That party turned out to be the last get together between our social group, the last hurrah. Well, when it seems safe we're having a first hurrah. And we'll toast to our lost friends. Let's hope all these vaccinations work. More needles below.
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Vintage Pulp Dec 31 2018
JUST A GIGOLO
Need a service animal? He's happy to do the job.


Harold W. McCauley is responsible for this simple but effective cover for 1961's Lover. His image captures the main character Johnny Wells' aura of unhappiness. Johnny is a young New York City hustler who decides to become an uptown gigolo. Starting with a few hundred dollars of ill-gotten gains, he transforms himself into a cultured, hotel-dwelling manhooker who services upper class women. While great at his job, his sexual misadventures take a toll. These include being spurned by a favorite customer who realizes she prefers women, being the unwilling centerpiece of an orgy, and more. The most curious bit is how Johnny's main love interest is a 14-year-old girl from around the way. Author Lawrence Block, hiding behind the Andrew Shaw pseudonym, makes no comment about how strange and possibly illegal this relationship is, and after a while you realize he never planned to. Block can write, so in general Lover reads smoothly, which is about the most you can hope for with this genre. Does that mean it's worth checking out? Well... we wouldn't go that far. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 11 2016
THE MILKY WAY
I've been practicing by milking Daisy. Just sit back and enjoy this.

Above, a Robert Bonfils cover for Andrew Shaw's sleazer Bad Town, copyright 1966. Shaw was a Greenleaf Classics house pseudonym used by Lawrence Block and others, and was credited with books such as Sin Sucker, Sin Seer, Sintown Setup, Sin Alley—are you sensing a theme here?—Sin Bum, The Sin-Damned, Sin Hellcat... 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 1 2016
APRIL SHOWERS
Cleanliness is next to bawdiness.
 
Below, a small selection of paperback covers featuring characters getting more from their daily rinse than just a squeaky clean feeling.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 7 2015
SINNERMAN
Um, you and your wife should talk, so I'll just slip out. Wait—let me rephrase that.

“They found gutter love with gutter tramps!” We’re guessing you get two gutterballs, then it’s someone else’s turn. Greenleaf Classics provides more fun coverness, this time from its Midnight Reader imprint, Slum Sinners, by Andrew Shaw, who was really Lawrence Block, at least in this case. Some sites say Donald E. Westlake wrote this, but authoritative sources (Block) say Westlake wasn’t Shaw until after 1963. This one is from ’62, so it’s Block. Wanna know what it's about? Check the rear cover, below. No artist info, but it’s probably Tony Calvano.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 11 2014
ALPHA BEST
Faced with this position surrender is the only option.

Here you see a pose that appears over and over in vintage paperback art—one figure looming menacingly in the foreground as a second cowers in the triangular negative space created by the first’s spread legs. This pose is so common it should have a name. We’re thinking “the alpha,” because it signifies male dominance and because of the A shape the pose makes. True, on occasion the dominator isn’t male, sometimes the unfortunate sprawled figure is depicted outside the A shaped space, and sometimes the art expresses something other than dominance, but basically the alpha (see, that just sounds right, doesn’t it?) has been used scores of times with only minor variation. You’ll notice several of these come from subsidiaries of the sleaze publisher Greenleaf Classics. It was a go-to cover style for them. We have twenty examples in all, with art by Bob Abbett, Robert Bonfils, Michel Gourdon, and others.
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Vintage Pulp Jun 9 2009
ONCE AROUND THE BLOCK
Another master crime novelist writes sex books to make ends meet.

Today for your enjoyment we have another example of a heavyweight author earning extra nickels under the guise of a pseudonym. This time it’s crime thriller icon Lawrence Block, who’s won four Shamus Awards, three Edgars, seen his novels 8 Million Ways To Die, The Campus Tramp and Deadly Honeymoon made into films of varying quality, and who wrote the screenplay for the recent critically acclaimed film My Blueberry Nights.

But it was as Sheldon Lord that he really let his hair down, penning salacious books like Stud, as well as the lesbian themed tales below. He also flaunted his utter immunity to writer’s block by publishing fiction under the names Jill Emerson, Chip Harrison, Paul Kavanaugh, and Andrew Shaw. It's an astonishing output. Maybe when Block wrote Stud he was thinking about himself.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 21
1947—Edwin Land Unveils His New Camera
In New York City, scientist and inventor Edwin Land demonstrates the first instant camera, the Polaroid Land Camera, at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. The camera, which contains a special film that self-develops prints in a minute, goes on sale the next year to the public and is an immediate sensation.
1965—Malcolm X Is Assassinated
American minister and human rights activist Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City by members of the Nation of Islam, who shotgun him in the chest and then shoot him sixteen additional times with handguns. Though three men are eventually convicted of the killing, two have always maintained their innocence, and all have since been paroled.
February 20
1935—Caroline Mikkelsen Reaches Antarctica
Norwegian explorer Caroline Mikkelsen, accompanying her husband Captain Klarius Mikkelsen on a maritime expedition, makes landfall at Vestfold Hills and becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica. Today, a mountain overlooking the southern extremity of Prydz Bay is named for her.
1972—Walter Winchell Dies
American newspaper and radio commentator Walter Winchell, who invented the gossip column while working at the New York Evening Graphic, dies of cancer. In his heyday from 1930 to the 1950s, his newspaper column was syndicated in over 2,000 newspapers worldwide, he was read by 50 million people a day, and his Sunday night radio broadcast was heard by another 20 million people.
February 19
1976—Gerald Ford Rescinds Executive Order 9066
U.S. President Gerald R. Ford signs Proclamation 4417, which belatedly rescinds Executive Order 9066. That Order, signed in 1942 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, established "War Relocation Camps" for Japanese-American citizens living in the U.S. Eventually, 120,000 are locked up without evidence, due process, or the possibility of appeal, for the duration of World War II.
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