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 Jan 16 2020
ZEST INTENTIONS
It was a different flavor of men's magazine.


Zest magazine, with its bold graphics and cover portraits, looks like a classic mid-century tabloid, but its banner tells you it's really a men's magazine. It lives up to its billing in this issue from January 1956—issue number one, actually—with short stories from Michael Avallone and H.P. Lovecraft, real life adventure tales, scare stories (“Is Your Daughter a Sex-Film Star?), glamour photography, and humor.
 
The Lovecraft tale, “Rats in the Walls,” is called “the greatest horror story ever written.” We wouldn't go that far, but it's freaktacular, like everything Lovecraft wrote. It had originally been published in Weird Tales in 1924, and we imagine that its bizarro mutant/cannibalism themes were pretty shocking back then. The Avallone story, “The Glass Eye,” is novella length. He had already published three novels and was building a reputation as a reliable author of thrillers, which makes his inclusion a nice coup for a new magazine.
 
The photography in Zest is just as impressive as the fiction. Readers get to see rare shots of major celebs such as Sophia Loren, Sabrina, and Delores del Rio. All in all Zest was a high budget effort, but it lasted only two issues. Why did it fold? No idea on that. Competition in the market was plenty stiff at the time. On the other hand, maybe two issues are all that were planned. We're thrilled to show you one of them, comprising thirty-plus scans below for your Thursday enjoyment.

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Vintage Pulp Aug 12 2016
BAGGAGE CHECK
A suitcase and a sense of adventure will take you anyplace you want to go (and some places you don't).

As noted in the above post, we've gotten a trip together for this summer, so we thought we'd inspire ourselves by collecting a set of paperback covers featuring characters with suitcases. Just about anything can happen once you leave the comfy confines of home and we're hoping several of the scenes depicted here come true for us. See if you can guess which. Hint: not the one above—we already did that last year when we got caught in a monsoonal downpour that shut the airport on the day we were supposed to fly. No, we're thinking we want something more like the below cover to happen. And actually, that's a guarantee because the Pulp Intl. girlfriends are coming with us. Anyway, this group of covers serves as a companion set to our hitchhiker collection from last year. Art is by Robert McGinnis, Mitchell Hooks, George Gross, and others.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 6 2011
SALON KITTY
You were all out of milk, so I made us a couple of dry martinis.

Cats play with their prey before killing it. The cover of Michael Avallone’s 1962 thriller Sex Kittten, with its turquoise-eyed femme fatale painted by Paul Rader, conveys that threat nicely. We’ve seen this paperback going for as much as fifty dollars. While we wouldn’t pay that for the book, we’d meet virtually any price for a print of Rader’s original art. But we’ll never have to prove that, because we looked and it isn’t out there. You can learn more about Avallone here, and see more Rader art here. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 11 2010
PROFESSIONAL TOUCH
Accurate shooting starts with the diaphragm, baby. Let me show you what I mean.

We posted a couple of Michael Avallone covers a while back and decided to return to him today for a more detailed treatment. Avallone called himself the fastest typewriter in the east, cranking out nearly two hundred books between 1953 and 1989, including entries in the Hawaii Five-O, Planet of the Apes, and Man from U.N.C.L.E. series. But speed exacted a heavy toll in quality, which may be why Avallone is considered by some to be one of the worst writers of all time. We can’t possibly dispute that—after all, he wrote the novelization of Friday the 13th in 3D—not exactly a résumé highlight. But even if he was undiscriminating, he was also bold. His output eventually shifted from detective fiction to pure flights of fancy. In the surreal Shoot It Again, Sam a group of Chinese brainwashers disguised as old Hollywood stars make lead character Ed Noon believe he’s Sam Spade. The series grew even weirder, and by the last few books Noon was trying to thwart an alien invasion. Quality of the prose aside, Avallone was a unique—if occasionally obnoxious—member of the pulp pantheon. Check him out yourself and you’ll see what we mean. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 26 2009
GUNS OF AVALLONE


Dutch covers for two of Michael Avallone’s Ed Noon thrillers. These are The February Doll Murders, from 1966, and The Bedroom Bolero, from 1963. Avallone died this month in 1999.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 22
1912—Pravda Is Founded
The newspaper Pravda, or Truth, known as the voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, begins publication in Saint Petersburg. It is one of the country's leading newspapers until 1991, when it is closed down by decree of then-President Boris Yeltsin. A number of other Pravdas appear afterward, including an internet site and a tabloid.
1983—Hitler's Diaries Found
The German magazine Der Stern claims that Adolf Hitler's diaries had been found in wreckage in East Germany. The magazine had paid 10 million German marks for the sixty small books, plus a volume about Rudolf Hess's flight to the United Kingdom, covering the period from 1932 to 1945. But the diaries are subsequently revealed to be fakes written by Konrad Kujau, a notorious Stuttgart forger. Both he and Stern journalist Gerd Heidemann go to trial in 1985 and are each sentenced to 42 months in prison.
April 21
1918—The Red Baron Is Shot Down
German WWI fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as The Red Baron, sustains a fatal wound while flying over Vaux sur Somme in France. Von Richthofen, shot through the heart, manages a hasty emergency landing before dying in the cockpit of his plane. His last word, according to one witness, is "Kaputt." The Red Baron was the most successful flying ace during the war, having shot down at least 80 enemy airplanes.
1964—Satellite Spreads Radioactivity
An American-made Transit satellite, which had been designed to track submarines, fails to reach orbit after launch and disperses its highly radioactive two pound plutonium power source over a wide area as it breaks up re-entering the atmosphere.
April 20
1939—Holiday Records Strange Fruit
American blues and jazz singer Billie Holiday records "Strange Fruit", which is considered to be the first civil rights song. It began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, which he later set to music and performed live with his wife Laura Duncan. The song became a Holiday standard immediately after she recorded it, and it remains one of the most highly regarded pieces of music in American history.
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