Vintage Pulp Jul 22 2021
KEY MOMENTS
The difference is in the details.


The phenomenon of vintage illustrators copying each other is a subject of interest and bafflement to us. We've talked about it a lot. When it happens, usually it's a great illustration being copied by an anonymous artist of far lesser ability. Other times, though, it's two top level artists painting the same piece. We assume these are initiated by the copyright holders, whether movie studios or publishing houses.

Today we have an interesting example from the literary world. In 1962 Enrico de Seta painted a brilliant cover for a Digit Books edition of Dashiell Hammett's classic mystery The Glass Key. The same year, amazingly, Digit commissioned another, almost identical cover from illustrator Dan Rainey. You see it at top, with the de Seta cover underneath. We also have de Seta's piece in our usual pixel size, here, from a post back in 2014, so if you're on a mobile device feel free to click over there for more resolution. De Seta originated this tableau, so we give him more credit, but it's great work from Rainey too, even if it's almost a copy. We'll show you more from him later. 

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Vintage Pulp Feb 8 2016
SADA MASOCHISM
She always had a problem letting go.


This could be a Pulp Intl. first—a Japanese movie where a foreign poster is the nicest version out there. Usually the Japanese whip all competing asses in the poster design department, but just this once the Italian iteration is better, probably because it was painted by Enrico de Seta, one of the best illustrators of the period. The movie is Jitsuroku Abe Sada, which was called in Italian Abesada—L'abisso dei sensi. That means “Abesada—abyss of the senses,” but the English title decided upon was actually A Woman Called Sada Abe. The story tracks real-life murderer Sada Abe, who habitually practiced sexual asphyxiation with her lover Kichizo Ishida, and in 1936 strangled him to death with the sash of her obi. The sensational story grew into an epic folk legend, interpreted by painters, writers, and poets, and when Japan's roman porno film genre came along the incident was a perfect fit.
 
Jitsuroku Abe Sada was one of several films to tackle the subject. In real life, Sada followed up her killing of Ishida by castrating the corpse and fleeing with the severed organ. The movie covers this aspect of the incident too, and eventually ends with Sada's arrest. The real life Sada was convicted of murder and other crimes, but despite begging to be executed was sentenced to prison, released after a few years, and went on to live four more interesting decades. We won't go so far as to recommend Jitsuroku Abe Sada. It has its worthwhile points, among them the reliable Junko Miyahsita in the lead, but if you're going to watch a telling of the Sada Abe incident, maybe try the more famous and more explicit In the Realm of the Senses, which appeared in 1976. Jitsuroku Abe Sada premiered in Japan today in 1975.

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

Alan Ladd, 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 22 2010
LAST BEST TOPO
Now I will make you kiss with only the immense power of my mind!

A while back we shared a rare poster for Alexandro Jodorwoski’s 1970 cult classic El Topo specifically because of the Enrico de Seta artwork. Well, turns out he painted two posters for the film. Above is his rather ominous second effort, and you can see the first one—which is amazing—by clicking this link.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 2 2010
SUPER MOLE
Once upon a time in the west.

We’re starting 2010 out right, with an absolutely amazing poster from an equally amazing film. At least, we think it’s amazing. Reactions to Chilean-born director Alexandro Jodorowski’s El Topo run the gamut—some hail it as high art; other think it’s a pretentious and garbled mess. However, it’s undeniable that the film hails from a much more daring cinematic era. It’s also one of the first true midnight films, gaining popularity during its 1970 Stateside run among New York City’s artsy, nocturnal filmgoing crowd after a slow start in conventional release. Basically, El Topo ("topo" means "mole" in Spanish, but is used as slang to describe an awkward person) is a western, but it’s also a commingling of Biblical and eastern religion themes. Doesn’t that sound fun? The two halves of the film have different flavors, and this tends to turn off some viewers. Jodorowski confessed that a couple of important transitional shots got ruined and were never replaced. Add in all the nudity, dwarves, and random events, and it’s easy to think of the film as sloppy. But what isn’t sloppy is the Italian poster by Enrico de Seta, one of the true masters of cinema promo art, who we’ll be featuring again in the future. In the meantime, we recommend a viewing of El Topo. It’s a unique vision by a singular filmmaker—grand, violent, disturbing, and most of all, pulp. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
November 26
1922—Egyptologists Enter Tut's Tomb
British Egyptologists Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon become the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3000 years. Though sometimes characterized as scholars, Carter and Carnarvon were primarily interested in riches, and cut up Tut's mummy to more easily obtain the jewels and gold affixed to him.
November 25
1947—Hollywood Blacklist Instituted
The day after ten Hollywood writers and directors are cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to give testimony to the House Committee on Un-American Activities, the group, known as the "Hollywood Ten," are blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios.
November 24
1963—Ruby Shoots Oswald
Nightclub owner and mafia associate Jack Ruby fatally shoots alleged JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of Dallas police department headquarters. The shooting is broadcast live on television and silences the only person known for certain to have had some connection to the Kennedy killing.
1971—D.B. Cooper Escapes from Airplane
In the U.S., during a thunderstorm over Washington state, a hijacker calling himself Dan Cooper, aka D. B. Cooper, parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines flight with $200,000 in ransom money. Neither he nor the money are ever found.
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