Vintage Pulp Aug 20 2012
DEATH BECOMES HER
Die young and leave a good-looking corpse.

Above, seven excellent if morbid paperback covers showing a favorite pose of pulp artists—the beautiful supine dead woman with (just to make it extra creepy) nice cleavage. It's amazing how similar these covers are. Art is by Maurice Thomas, Rudolph Belarski, Willard Downes, George Geygan, Harry Schaare, and unknowns. 

Update: We were also sent another example in this style by a reader. Check here.

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Vintage Pulp May 16 2012
IN FULL LOOM
Ever get the feeling you're being watched?

Above are three dust jackets for the classics of macabre literature Frankenstein, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, and Dracula, by Shelley, Poe, and Stoker respectively. These books are photoplay editions, i.e. novelizations of silent film source material. The editions usually had a handful of production photos inside, as well as film production credits. Basically, these were seen as forms of advertisement for the movies, and back then it was the books people were interested in, not the dust jackets. As a result, the jackets were not well treated by owners, and often were thrown away. That may seem strange, looking at the art above, but it’s true. Picture an old movie. Any old movie. And now imagine a scene set in a study or den. See all those books on the walls? No dust jackets. Back then books were thought of as classiest and most impressive sans jackets. That’s why the items above are extraordinarily rare, and are each worth a fortune today. The first two were painted by Nathan Machtey, and the third is signed G.B., who is a painter unknown to us so far. But all three look rather the same, don't they, with a looming, monstrous shape menacing an insensate woman? They are pure brilliance. We’ve seen some of these at auction for $5,000, and we hear they can go for much more. Much, much more. Of course, the most expensive ones are first editions, with book and dust jacket paired and in good condition, but if the book and jacket are separated, the jackets still go for mucho dinero. We’ll keep an eye out for more Machtey work, and try to identify that second artist. We'll also look for more photoplay editions, and share whatever we uncover. 

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Musiquarium Aug 4 2009
SHELLEY SHOCK

B-movie-influenced CD covers and promo materials by U.S.-based punk band Mary Shelley Overdrive. More items here.    

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Modern Pulp Jan 3 2009
VALENTINA DAY
Thrift market digging disgorges buried treasure.

So there we were in Madrid, digging for pulp gems at the outdoor market on the Prado, when we spotted Valentina au Débotté by the immortal comic artist Guido Crepax. Since this was a French translation, rather than an original Italian edition, we figured to score it for a song. After some expert negotiations that served to lower the asking price exactly 0.0 percent, we paid fifteen euros. But at least we got the book, and what a book it is.

Crepax began the Valentina series in 1965, and nurtured it into an international sensation that ran until 1995. Basically, it was erotica, but delicately drawn and infused with a 60s insouciance and dreaminess that somehow made it both titillating and highbrow. Crepax published other famous series, and drew adaptations of Emmanuelle, The Story of O, Justine and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but the Valentina series was his crowning achievement.

Reading any of the Valentina stories is like stepping through Lewis Carroll’s looking glass, but Valentina au Débotté is Crepax at his psychedelic best, deftly immersing his heroine in typically bizarre adventures, including riding a broomstick and having sex with an octopus. Crepax died in 2003, but not before amassing many awards and seeing his work translated into multiple languages. The book we found would have lasted at most another ten minutes at the busy Prado market, but we had gotten there early, which means we’re the lucky ones who now own this treasure.
We found some scans online from the same book and posted several below for your enjoyment.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
August 14
1912—U.S. Invades Nicaragua
United States Marines invade Nicaragua to support the U.S.-backed government installed there after José Santos Zelaya had resigned three years earlier. American troops remain for eleven years.
1936—Last Public Execution in U.S.
Rainey Bethea, who had been convicted of rape and murder, is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in what is the last public execution performed in the United States.
August 13
1995—Mickey Mantle Dies
New York Yankees outfielder Mickey Mantle dies of complications from cancer, after receiving a liver transplant. He was one of the greatest baseball players ever, but he was also an alcoholic and played drunk, hungover, and unprepared. He once said about himself, "Sometimes I think if I had the same body and the same natural ability and someone else's brain, who knows how good a player I might have been."
August 12
1943—Philadelphia Experiment Allegedly Takes Place
The U.S. government is believed by some to have attempted to create a cloak of invisibility around the Navy ship USS Eldridge. The top secret event is known as the Philadelphia Experiment and, according to believers, ultimately leads to the accidental teleportation of an entire vessel.
1953—Soviets Detonate Deliverable Nuke
The Soviet Union detonates a nuclear weapon codenamed Reaktivnyi Dvigatel Stalina, aka Stalin's Jet Engine. In the U.S. the bomb is codenamed Joe 4. It is a small yield fission bomb rather than a multi-stage fusion weapon, but it makes up for its relative weakness by being fully deployable, meaning it can be dropped from a bomber.
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