|Jul 15 2023
Above: a Peter Driben paperback cover, which he painted for The Singing Widow by Veronica Parker Jones, published by Atlas Bard, 1946. Driben is thought of more as a magazine illustrator, but his book covers are all aces. See examples here, here, and here.
|Jul 20 2017
Peter Driben illustrated relatively few book covers compared to his magazine output. We showed you a rare paperback from him a few years ago, and above you see another—his work on W. T. Ballard's 1943 thriller Say Yes to Murder, for publisher Martin Goodman. The book is part of a series starring Ballard's character William Lennox, who was a detective-like troubleshooter for fictitious General Consolidated Studios.
In this one he investigates the murder of an actor found stabbed and lying under the bed of actress Jean Jeffries, who is the granddaughter of one of Lennox’s close friends. As a troubleshooter, Lennox's first duty is to move the body to avoid scandal for the studio (that's the difference between a detective and a troubleshooter) and only then does he try to unravel the mystery.
Lennox appeared in three other Ballard novels—1946's Murder Can’t Stop, 1948's Dealing Out Death, and 1960's Lights, Camera, Murder, which he wrote as John Shepherd. Martin Goodman, you probably know already, later went on to create Marvel Comics. You can see that other nice Driben cover we mentioned here, and three brilliant Dutch covers here. We'll keep an eye out for more.
|Jul 3 2017
The Novel Library 1950 paperback edition of Maxwell Bodenheim's 1930 book Naked on Roller Skates has one of the most famous covers from the mid-century era, thanks to master illustrator Peter Driben. This image has appeared on prints, postcards, and even bottles of wine. You'll notice it's cut off on the right edge so that Bodenheim's name is incomplete. That's the cover, not the scan. Call it a design defect, or a miscalculation at the printer.
The book is about a fifty-something traveling salesman who meets a carefree young woman who has never seen the big city but wants to experience life's thrills unfiltered—i.e. to live naked on roller skates. She uses the phrase, “Punched in the face.” She wants to be punched in the face by life. And so the two make a deal to hook up for a year and head off to New York City.
There they meet gangsters, brawlers, indulge in the nightlife of Harlem, run a food stand, and try to deal with the unscrupulous characters that descend upon them. All of this may have been familiar to Bodenheim, who seemed to live as fast as his characters. Despite writing at least three bestsellers, he was broke later in life, homeless along with his wife, and they ended up murdered in a slum rooming house. We may get into that sordid tale later.
|Nov 10 2014
Maurice Dekobra’s Bedroom Eyes was originally published in 1932 as La biche aux yeux cernés (which means “doe eyes identified”), and this retitled Novel Library paperback appeared in 1949 with excellent Peter Driben cover art of a nightgown-clad temptress. We can’t see her companion, but he’s left a top hat, cane and gloves in view. We think it’s Fred Astaire. Like his song from that era goes, “I just got an invitation through the mails: Your presence requested this evening. It’s formal—a top hat, a white tie, and tail…” Or, er, tails.
|Oct 22 2014
Peter Driben cover art for Robert Harrison’s Titter, October 1949. Inside, showgirls, showgirls, showgirls, including Jessica Rogers, who was known as the Wow Girl. We're getting a distinct message from this, which is that Harrison was a horny guy. See more Peter Driben art here, here and here.
|May 4 2013
Sometimes, when you’re looking at a stack of vintage magazines about a hundred high the work of scanning seems overwhelming. For days like those, the website Darwination is truly a lifesaver. It used to post full scans of vintage magazines but the site has been idle for nearly a year. In any case, here’s another of their great offerings, a copy of Whisper published in May 1950. Cover artist Peter Driben uses a common pulp/men’s magazine motif—the big ass keyhole. In fact, we’ve been putting together a collection of these keyhole-themed covers we’ll show you later. The link to download this Whisper has died, but we’ve got a bunch of great scans below for your enjoyment this Saturday. We’ll return to scanning our own magazine stack soon.
|May 31 2012
Above, a Peter Driben cover for Robert Harrison’s Wink magazine published this month in 1949. Wink was pretty much identical to Harrison’s Beauty Parade, except with an element of kink. For instance, in panels 26 and 27 you’ll see the bondage themed comic strip “Sweet Gwendoline.” Pretty racy stuff for the time. See below. And see Beauty Parade here.
|May 11 2012
Since we were just talking a couple of days ago about websites where it’s possible to download vintage magazines, we thought we’d shine the spotlight on two more. Vintage Girlie Mags and Dad’s Stash, which are basically alter egos of each other, both have full scans. The main difference is vintagegirliemags gives away the scans for free, while dads-stash charges a minimal amount for downloads. The May 1950 issue of Beauty Parade you see above is available at the latter site, though ours didn’t come from there. The cover art on this issue is by the great Peter Driben, and inside you get Yvonne de Carlo, Denise Darcel, Ann Sheridan, Lana Turner, and page after page of other beauties. Many scans below for your Friday enjoyment.
|Jan 29 2012
Below, a small selection of Peter Driben covers featuring his trademark full-bodied beauties, which he painted for six Robert Harrison-owned imprints, 1940s and 1950s.
|Jun 2 2011
Above are three Dutch language covers for Antwerp based Uitgeverij Publiforce and author Conald Leüger painted by the famed American pin-up artist Peter Driben. Sex Appeal en Bloedzuigers (Sex Appeal and Extortionists) and Sex Appeal Liefde en Hormonen (Sex Appeal Love and Hormones) date from 1957, and De Pekelzonde (The Peccadillo) with its charming image of a girl having trouble hanging a picture dates from 1963. If you’re inclined you can see more Dutch language pulp at this Flickr group.