Vintage Pulp Sep 5 2020
MOUNTY PYTHON
Sir Squeezalot starts slow but once he gets warmed up he's a hell of a lot of fun.


1967's Diary of a Dyke was published by Greenleaf Classics for its imprint Pleasure Readers, and the, er, interesting cover was painted by Tomas Cannizarro. The book was written by Robert Silverberg under his Don Elliott alter ego. The distinguished Silverberg is of course famous as the mind behind award winning novels like A Time of Changes and Lord Valentine's Castle, but early in his career he paid the bills by surreptitiously cranking out sleaze classics like LSD Lusters and Sin on Wheels. When these serious writers are outed for their early smut we always picture them reacting like vampires suddenly exposed to the light, shrinking into a far corner and hissing eternal curses. But Silverberg seems pretty chill about having worked in soft porn. He even wrote the foreword to one of the reprints. We'll undoubtedly run across more from him and his worse half later, but until then feel free to click his/their keywords below and explore our previous postings.

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Vintage Pulp May 17 2020
LIP SYNCING
Kiss me and I'll kiss you back.


Below, another collection of covers featuring characters expressing a little affection, a continuation of the lip locks we put together way back in 2013, and an adjunct to our collection of Harry Barton neck kisses from 2017. 

Bonus action: see more kisses here, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 28 2018
DEMONIC OBSESSION
You're amazing. This whole reputation you have for evil is totally undeserved. Wait, what are you doing? Hey, I can't bre— *glug*


Another cheapie cover from Greenleaf Classics, Lust Demon by Don Elliott, with a tableau featuring a nipple-less devil woman and her unsuspecting companion. This isn't just any sleaze—it's sleaze by Robert Silverberg hiding behind the Elliott pseudonym. We've read of few of his smut efforts now, and he's better than the average literary perv. That doesn't sound like a compliment, but it really is. 1966 on this with art by uncredited. 

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Vintage Pulp Nov 25 2015
BLACK AND WHITE IN COLOR
Mid-century paperback art and the race to judgment.


Science has given humanity a lot over the centuries. What will turn out to be one of its most important gifts is its conclusion, widely disseminated beginning in 1950 but by today firmly proven thanks to DNA sequencing, that race doesn’t exist in any scientific way. Of course, many don’t consider that fact a gift—but many people also had serious problems with the revelation that the Earth wasn’t flat. The concept of anti-black racism came entirely from the human imagination within about the last five-hundred years, principally as a means to justify the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Seen in that light, scientific proof that race doesn’t exist represents not new knowledge, but a return to knowledge that was the norm before the drive for riches caused men to deliberately warp human thought as a means to cover for mass cruelty.

As an imaginary construct, however, race is persistently powerful, which the collection of paperback fronts above and below strongly illustrate. We weren’t around when any of these were written, but their existence reveals a surprisingly (to us) lively market in such material. Were all the books you see here of great worth? Certainly not. But even with their flaws—particularly woman-blaming for rape—these books are artifacts of a fascinating racial dialogue that we suspect, on balance, was beneficial. We have fifty examples and there are at least a couple dozen more we didn’t include (Black Dicks for Marcie was just a bit too out there). Some of those pieces will pop up later in a slightly different themed collection. In addition to what you see here, we also put together a related group last year featuring an Asian theme and you can see that here.

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Vintage Pulp Oct 12 2015
STRIKING POSES
We don’t know art but we know what we like.

What do you do when money is tight? In mid-century fiction, you work that body. You find an artist, present your bona fides as a figure model, then peel down for a fee. Or room and board. Or notice from those who guard the doorway to success. Just remember that however much you generate in cash, barter, or recognition, it all inevitably leads to a romp in the sack, often with several participants, and always with disastrous complications because in pulp there’s no such thing as consequence-free sex. Now that you know the rules make that booty work. Above and below you see an assortment of mid-century bookcovers featuring artists and their models. Thanks to all the original uploaders on these, and don’t forget this awesome example and this one.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 17 2015
ULTIMATE FIGHTING
Vintage paperback violence gets up close and personal.


We have another collection today as we prepare to jet away on vacation with the girls. Since the place we’re going is known for rowdy British tourists (what place isn’t known for that?), we thought we’d feature some of the numerous paperback covers featuring fights. You’ll notice, as with our last collection, the preponderance of French books. Parisian publishers loved this theme. The difference, as opposed to American publishers, is that you almost never saw women actually being hit on French covers (we’d almost go so far as to say it never happened, but we’ve obviously not seen every French paperback ever printed). The French preferred man-on-man violence, and when women were involved, they were either acquitting themselves nicely, or often winning via the use of sharp or blunt instruments.

Violence against women is and has always been a serious problem in the real world, but we’re just looking at products of the imagination here, which themselves represent products of the imagination known as fiction. Content-wise, mid-century authors generally frowned upon violence toward women even if they wrote it into their novels. Conversely, the cover art, stripped of literary context, seemed to glorify it. Since cover art is designed to entice readers, there’s a valid discussion here about why anti-woman violence was deemed attractive on mid-century paperback fronts, and whether its disappearance indicates an understanding of its wrongness, or merely a cynical realization that it can no longer be shown without consequences. We have another fighting cover here, and you may also want to check out our western brawls here.


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Vintage Pulp Dec 29 2014
EARLY THAW
Frosty the Snowman was a jolly happy soul, with a corncob pipe and a button nose and a nympho on his pole…

Those are the lyrics, right? We can’t remember. You know, maybe humping a snowman is more fun than it looks, but even so, it seems like a good way to find yourself explaining to a doctor—or a gynecologist—how you got the weirdest case of frostbite ever. Don Elliott was a pseudonym used by science fiction author Robert Silverberg, and we can only guess he’s cringed over this one at least once a day ever since he wrote it in 1967. The art is by Tomas Cannizarro.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 2 2014
BLIND SIDED
Pull the blinds and turn out the lights.

We’ve explored several cover motifs in pulp art, and another we’ve grown to appreciate is the use of venetian blind shadows or silhouettes. Always a dramatic addition to a cover, we could probably compile fifty of these, at least, but here are twenty examples. The artists—Olivier Brabbins, Emilio Freix, Robert Maguire, James Hodges, and others—use them to greater and lesser degrees, and opt for both literal and stylized renderings. For instance, the above cover from Maguire shows vertical shadows, but the sense of venetian blinds remains. As always, thanks to all the original uploaders, particularly Pulpnivora for the very nice front to La llamada de la muerte

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Vintage Pulp Aug 12 2013
VANISHING POINTS
I've seen the needle and the damage done.


Today we have another cover collection for you. We had noticed quite a few pieces of pulp/sleaze art featuring syringes as a central element, so we’ve gathered up twenty examples, with art by Michel Gourdon and others. Some of these are from Flickr, so thanks to the original uploaders.

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Vintage Pulp Jul 27 2011
LASH ON DEMAND
When a problem comes along you must whip it.


Below, eight pulp covers with corporal punishment as their central themes, with art from Rudolph Belarski, Bob Abbett and others.

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Next Page
History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
September 26
1934—Queen Mary Launched
The RMS Queen Mary, three-and-a-half years in the making, launches from Clydebank, Scotland. The steamship enters passenger service in May 1936 and sails the North Atlantic Ocean until 1967. Today she is a museum and tourist attraction anchored in Long Beach, U.S.A.
1983—Nuclear Holocaust Averted
Soviet military officer Stanislav Petrov, whose job involves detection of enemy missiles, is warned by Soviet computers that the United States has launched a nuclear missile at Russia. Petrov deviates from procedure, and, instead of informing superiors, decides the detection is a glitch. When the computer warns of four more inbound missiles he decides, under much greater pressure this time, that the detections are also false. Soviet doctrine at the time dictates an immediate and full retaliatory strike, so Petrov's decision to leave his superiors out of the loop very possibly prevents humanity's obliteration. Petrov's actions remain a secret until 1988, but ultimately he is honored at the United Nations.
September 25
2002—Mystery Space Object Crashes in Russia
In an occurrence known as the Vitim Event, an object crashes to the Earth in Siberia and explodes with a force estimated at 4 to 5 kilotons by Russian scientists. An expedition to the site finds the landscape leveled and the soil contaminated by high levels of radioactivity. It is thought that the object was a comet nucleus with a diameter of 50 to 100 meters.
September 24
1992—Sci Fi Channel Launches
In the U.S., the cable network USA debuts the Sci Fi Channel, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. After a slow start, it built its audience and is now a top ten ranked network for male viewers aged 18–54, and women aged 25–54.
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