Vintage Pulp Feb 24 2015
SIGHT UNSEEN
Jean de la Hire’s truth is stranger than fiction.

The French sci-fi novel L’Invisible was written by Jean de La Hire, aka Espié Adolphem, for Éditions Jaeger et Hauteville’s Fantastic series in 1953. The set-up is ingenious here—basically, H.G. Wells’ famous novel The Invisible Man was a disguised factual account, and this book reveals the truth about the man Wells fictionalized. He develops an invisibility potion, uses it to make a fortune, and later faces a choice between continuing on his path or giving it up for love. The cool cover art is by René Brantonne. 

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Vintage Pulp Jan 29 2015
HOLLYWOOD SWINGING
Everybody who was anybody got inside.

Above and below, scans from the French show-biz and showgirl magazine Paris-Hollywood, issue 26, from 1948. The front cover features Marguerite Chapman, the rear Arlene Dahl, and in between you get Cyd Charisse, Patricia Roc, Martha Vickers, Alexis Smith, Anne Jeffreys, Luce Feyrer, Edwige Feuillère, Marlene Dietrich, and other luminaries. That's quite a collection of celebs. In upcoming years the magazine would spend more time on cabaret dancers, but its early issues were all about international stars. We picked up a few of these in Paris a while back and we’ll get to some detailed scans of those soon. In the meantime, you can see more from Paris-Hollywood here, here, and here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 19 2015
HODGING YOUR BETS
French illustrator James Hodges shifts from the magic of books to the magic of cards.

We mentioned in our October post on French artist James Hodges that he moved into playing card design as his career progressed, so today we thought it would be nice to show you some of those designs. Above you see an example of his collectible work for the French playing card and tarot card company B.P. Grimaud, owned by Baptiste Paul Grimaud and based in Paris. Grimaud’s cards go back to 1848 when he purchased a workshop that had been in business since 1750, so we’re talking about a time-honored art here. Hodges’ designs were pin-up influenced, but he also painted stylized card faces, and we’re pretty sure he did some of the backs too. We have an assortment of card fronts below, and you can see more work at his website. The post where we mentioned his playing card career is here, and we have a collection of Hodges book fronts here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 7 2015
UP AND AWAY
Let your love take flight.

Jef de Wulf really outdid himself here. This cover is from 1958 for René Roques’ romance novel La Fille de Monseigneur, and we think this is by far the best we’ve seen from de Wulf. The central balloon reads “love,” of course, and all the others have the two syllables making up the French word “rire,” or laugh, creating an image of heartlifting joy. Sublime stuff. Check out some of de Wulf’s other covers by clicking his keywords directly below.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 4 2015
LOVE BY DESIGN
Then we’ll do flowered window treatments here, move the bed over there, and I’ll need lots of room for my porcelain dolls, and Widget’s doggie bed will fit in the corner…

French author Émile Zola gets a posthumous pulp makeover for his novel Fatal Intimacy, which appeared as above in 1960 but was originally published in 1868 as Madeleine Férat. Though Zola was a literary icon (and an interesting public figure), this is an early novel and it’s not as far away from cheap paperback fiction as you might suspect. The art is by Donald E. Green.

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Femmes Fatales Jan 4 2015
TIMELESS IN TUNISIA
Anna Karina gives an ancient place a touch of contemporary beauty.

Anna Karina, née Hanne Karin Bayer, is a famed model, novelist, singer, and award-winning actress, who was a muse of French director Jean-Luc Godard, and star of such films as Alphaville, A Woman Is a Woman, and Chinese Roulette. She has also directed two movies, with the latest appearing in 2008. All very amazing, considering she was homeless and unable to speak French when she was discovered by an advertising exec in a Paris café at age seventeen. The above photo was made in Tunisia (standing in for Egypt) for her 1969 film Justine.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 26 2014
AMERICAN HUSTLE
It should have been a classic but is really just a wasted opportunity.

Paramount execs probably wet themselves when they finally made a deal to get American star Burt Reynolds and French icon Catherine Deneuve together onscreen. The promo poster tells us they’re hot—true, and it especially applies to Deneuve, who probably can't vent heat efficiently while shrouded beneath her enormous helmet of immobile, golden hair. You know those war flicks where a soldier in a ditch has a photo in his pocket of his beautiful girlfriend, and during lulls in combat he gazes at her and mutters about how he can’t wait to get back home to her? In Hustle Catherine Deneuve is a living version of that photo. Instead of being overseas she’s just across town, but she’s no less a signifier of impending doom than if she were a snapshot in someone’s pocket. We think writer Steve Shagan dropped the ball here, and not just by making her purpose in the film so obvious, but by making her role so thin. She has a key piece of evidence (she witnesses the villain making a phone call that leads to a murder) in a case that is never made, which we found bizarre. Hustle is mildly involving thanks to stylish direction and Reynolds’ innate watchability, but ultimately unsuccessful. It premiered in the U.S. yesterday in 1975.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 20 2014
SALADE DAYS
Finally, after a lifetime's work—the condiment that will revolutionize how the world eats greenery.

Above, Drôle de salade written by Al Caussin, aka Alex Caussin de Perceval, Percy Wall, and Allan Blyth, published 1952 by France's Éditions de la Flamme d’Or, with awesome cover art from Jef de Wulf. Drôle de salade actually means “funny salad,” so you have to wonder what this book is about. In any case, what a bummer it’ll be for the main character when he finds out the term “French dressing” is already in use.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 11 2014
WHO'S UP FOR PIE?
This oughta really blow your skirt up.

We had no idea there’s a porn star named Rebecca Lane, nor that she has starred in something called Creampie Surpise, but you learn something new every day. That Rebecca Lane is not to be confused with the author Rébecca Lane, who wrote Surprise-Party for Éditions Le Styx’s collection Les fruits verts in 1958. Not to say the other Rebecca Lane isn’t talented in her own right. She very likely is. Creampies are hard to make, especially if they have those crumbly crusts. Anyway, judging by Aslan’s art, the party Rébecca Lane writes about here must have been a real surpise to get such a reaction. Alternatively, the pair could be dancing. But that’s always true, isn’t it? We all could be dancing. Okay, we’re done in France. Back home and back to other types of posts tomorrow. 

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Vintage Pulp Dec 11 2014
AMONG FRIENDS
Amis du Soleil makes nudism look like paradise on Earth. Now just wait until the guys show up to ruin it all.

Is it pulp? Of course it is, nos amis. There are countless mid-century novels about nudism. So, we couldn’t pass this up. It’s a special issue of the French nudist magazine Amis du soleil. This appeared around 1950, but the magazine went on for a long while, publishing hundreds of issues well into the late 1960s, so we’re told. We’re also told it was actually a satellite publication of Sonnenfreunde, which was the official publication of the German, Swiss and Austrian Nudist Federations. We’ve talked once or twice about how the Germans feel about this stuff, remember?

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 28
1953—Watson and Crick Unravel DNA
American biologists James D. Watson and Francis Crick tell their friends that they have determined the chemical structure of DNA. The formal announcement takes place in April following publication in Nature magazine. In 1968, Watson writes The Double Helix, a non-fiction account of not only the discovery of the structure of DNA, but the personalities, conflicts and controversy surrounding the work.
February 27
1922—Challenge to Women's Voting Rights Rebuffed
In the United States, a conservative legal challenge to the nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishing voting rights for women is rebuffed by the Supreme Court in Leser v. Garnett. The challenge was based partly on the idea of individual "states rights" to self determination. The failure of such reasoning as it applied to basic human rights created a framework for later states rights losses involving the denial of voting rights to African-Americans.
February 26
1917—First Jazz Record Is Made
In New Orleans, The Original Dixieland Jass Band records the first ever jazz record for the Victor Talking Machine Company in New York. The band was frequently billed as the "Creators of Jazz", but in reality all the members had previously played in the Papa Jack Laine bands, a group of racially mixed performers who helped form the basis of Dixieland while playing under bandleader George Laine.

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