Vintage Pulp May 21 2015
HOLDING THE LINE
Aslan shows his soft side.

Are these pulp? Sort of. They’re Aslan, and that’s close enough. We’re referring, of course, to French master Alain Gourdon, aka Aslan, and we’ve featured rare pieces of his that you can’t see anywhere else (so far) here and here. What you’re looking at above are covers for the magazine Line, billed as “le journal des chics filles.” These are Aslan in cutesy mode, which he always did quite well, and which presents a nice counterpoint to him in raunchy mode, at which he also excelled. We’ll do more on him in the latter incarnation in a bit. Late 1960s on all these. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 20 2015
FLINGTIME IN PARIS
Timeless moments in a timeless town.

Cover and scans from an April 1933 issue of Paris Magazine, with the usual art photography from Studio Manassé and other sources, plus humor and goings-on around town. The cover star is showgirl Lilian Daugherty. 

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Vintage Pulp Apr 14 2015
OCTOPUSHY
Precocious octopus graduates from twisting the lids off jars to twisting the lids off jarheads.

Above, twenty scans from True Men Stories, including a classic man against nature cover, published April 1957. Neither the cover nor the interior art is credited, but we spotted Earl Norem’s signature on one piece. As for the written content, you get adventure and war tales, an exposé on model Debbie Jones, and a dash of true crime—notably a stomach-turning feature on the violence men inflict on women, complete with sensationalistic splatter photos. We’re still catching up on sleep a bit after our travels, so we won't go into more detail right now. But the good news is the international mails delivered ten more tabloids and men’s magazines, including some classic issues of Confidential, and we’ll get those up soon. 

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Modern Pulp Mar 25 2015
GRAFICO DESIGN
Spanish magazine Monografico fuses art, criticism, politics—and sometimes pulp.

One of our friends from Spain sent in a few scans from an issue of the freezine Monografico, an art magazine founded in Burgos in 1987 by Luan Mart and which today is a forum not just for art, but criticism and political commentary. What caught our friend’s eye was the usage inside of the adventure magazine Man’s True Danger from August 1963. The art on that is by Charles Frace, and the boxed text has been changed (see original at right) to describe the action on the cover, but ironically. It says, “While the city sleeps, rat-haired chavalotes, gallant and generous, teach fragile butterflies to defend against evil men using simple house keys.” Chavalotes means something like “lads” or “big boys,” and it also has a sexual connotation we won’t bother with here. The idea of the image is simply to point out the prevalence of using doublespeak to mask misdeeds—i.e., how the state proclaims it wishes to protect you from external threats, but uses that as an excuse to increase its own power by destroying your rights. This is obviously a big issue in Spain, but it’s a problem everywhere. Our friend sent us a few other scans, and though they aren't pulp we decided to share them anyway because they're very interesting. We’ve uploaded those below. And thanks for sending this in—we love it when we check our inbox and find that the day's pulp work has been done for us. 

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Vintage Pulp Mar 6 2015
FOLDABLE FATALES
Americans may have perfected the art, but the French got there first.

During the last few months we shared three Technicolor lithographs with glassine overlays of clothing that could be peeled back to reveal a nude model, and mentioned we thought the technique originated in France with Paris-Hollywood, a cover of which see above. The magazine began publishing déshabillable—i.e. undressable—pin-ups in 1950, whereas the American undressables we’ve found date from no earlier than 1953. Though Statesiders may have been latecomers to the party, once they got the technique down they churned overlay pin-ups out by the hundreds. You can see three here, here, and here, and we’ll share more later.

The artist responsible for painting the centerfold in this issue of Paris-Hollywood was Roger Brard, and he was the brush for most of those the magazine featured, but at least one other artist was involved too. Elsewhere in the issue you get showgirls, showgirls, and more showgirls, including a three page spread on la vagabonde Cirque Z dancer and world traveler Katrina, a Venice carnival-inspired set involving a model wearing a lace mask (she also gets the back cover), and a weird photo essay with knives and six-shooters. All of this is from 1952. We have twenty scans below, and you can see many more issues of Paris-Hollywood by clicking its keywords at the bottom of this post.

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Vintage Pulp Mar 3 2015
SWAMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE
Sometimes your neighbors can be a real drag.

Today we have another issue of Australia’s Adam magazine, this time from March 1964. While the cover is similar to those of later editions, the contents are more focused on literature and less on scantily clad models. The art illustrates Jack Blake’s “Crosses of Blood,” the tale of a young couple named Hank and Gina living in the wild swamps of northern Australia who are beset by an escaped mental patient. The story is less adventure than pure horror, with the lunatic determined to see his parents—who happened to both be dead and buried nearby. He forces the couple to help him dig up the corpses, and the story ends, surprisingly, with Gina being dragged through the swamp bleeding and covered with leeches, before finally being shotgunned in the face. Pretty downbeat stuff, but decently written and convincingly frightening. We have thirteen scans below and thirty-nine other issues of Adam you can see by clicking here.

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Vintage Pulp Feb 28 2015
HONG KONG TROUBLE
Be careful about looking for cheap thrills—you might just find them.

This issue of Adam magazine with its nice cover art illustrating Arthur J Bryant’s story “Hey-Day in Hong Kong” appeared this month in 1971. Bryant’s story, which has a convincing sense of firsthand realism, is about an Aussie traveler searching Hong Kong’s red light district for a “yum-yum girl” but ends up attacked by three thugs. Turns out the hooker employs the toughs because she wants any man who purchases her services to prove he’s deserving of her gifts by fighting for her. You haven’t really had sex unless you’ve done it after being punched in the ribs and eye. Try it sometime. 

Elsewhere inside you get more fiction, a bit of fact, plus the usual assortment of humor and models, including, notably, nudist icon Diane Webber, aka Marguerite Empey. The cover art for Adam was painted by Jack Waugh and Phil Belbin. The pieces are always unsigned, but we’re thinking this is Belbin’s work because he was the go-to guy during Adam’s later years. Don’t quote us on it, though. Both Belbin and Waugh have departed this world, and we doubt there’s an Adam archive somewhere definitively crediting the covers. Anyway, we have thirty-four scans below and so many other issues of this magazine tucked away in the website it’s silly. If you want to see them just click here.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 26 2015
FAR AND WIDE
British adventure magazine takes readers to the ends of the Earth.

The British men’s adventure magazine The Wide World debuted in 1898 and lasted all the way until 1965. That’s not quite National Police Gazette or Argosy longevity, but it’s still very good. During that entire time, a span encompassing two global conflagrations and various economic fluctuations, it failed to print only four issues—including once when a German aerial bomb flattened its pre-press facility. 

The magazine’s founder was George Newnes, who also published The Strand Magazine, Tit-Bits and other titles. With The Wide World he hit upon an audacious marketing gimmick—he assured readers that every word in the magazine was true, and made “Truth Is Stranger than Fiction” the publication’s slogan. This claim was hot air, of course, but that idea—and the conceit that adventurers were a sort of global club that owed allegiance to one another—helped make the magazine a success among readers who considered themselves men of the world, or longed to be.
 
A strong focus on exotic lands and inscrutable dark-skinned inhabitants resistant to the white man’s ordained incursions likewise played well with readers, as Britain’s colonial era evolved into a post-colonial one. That makes The Wide World a repository of some ugly attitudes, however the magazine also managed such feats as being the first publication to report the death of Butch Cassidy in Bolivia, and publishing stories by many literary notables. Above and below you see a collection of covers, nicely rendered in pulp style by various artists.

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Vintage Pulp Jan 2 2015
WAR PROFITEERS
The Male capacity for violence.


Above is a Mort Kunstler cover for Male painted for the January 1965 issue. Kunstler was famed for his war panoramas, as we’ve discussed before, and if you click his keywords below you’ll see several more martial covers from him that we’ve shared. Inside Male you also get art from Charles Copeland, Samson Pollen, and Gil Cohen. The model feature is Susan Radford, who is described as a starlet but who we’d never heard of. Turns out it wasn’t just us. We checked the usual databases and found no mention of Radford anywhere, so it seems Male editors were premature in dubbing her a major riser.

Male focused on all kinds of violent adventures, but especially those dealing with warfare. This issue has four war stories dealing with the Soviet Union, China, and the Nazis, but the most notable entry is South African author Anthony Trew’s gripping Two Hours to Darkness, published here as booklength fiction. The tale is described in the contents as “the nightmarish spine-tingler that will be the movie blockbuster of 1965,” but it looks like Male was wide of the mark again, because no film based on the book was ever released. So Trew had to settle for selling a measly 3.5 million copies of the novel in sixteen languages, the hack. We have a dozen scans below.

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Vintage Pulp Dec 31 2014
LAW OF THE JUNGLE
Survival of the fittest—or just the person with the gun.

This issue of Australia’s Adam published in December 1971 has a rather nice cover illustrating a story by Adam Greenhill entitled “Nightmare in Timor.” We see the moonlit moment when the villains try to kill the hero, but need to make it look as if he’s been hacked to death by Timorese tribesmen. The girl, named Violet in the tale, plans to shoot the protagonist only in the unlikely event he survives the fight. 

One thing about these 1970s Aussie writers is that they use the nearby lands of Timor, Malaysia, the Philippines, et al. to good effect, setting many stories in the jungles of those countries. The best writers do more than simply depend on exotic locales. They manage to slip in details that bring the settings to life, such as quirks of language, protocols of interpersonal interaction, or the fare in local markets and restuarants.
 
American writers from the same period didn’t seem as interested in their own exotic neighbors such as Guatemala, Belize, etc., although Mexico figures somewhat prominently in U.S. pulp, as well as in film noir. In any case, Adam remains our favorite men’s magazine, and the many stories set in mysterious Asian lands are a major reason. We have twenty-nine scans below to bring your 2014 to a pleasant end.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
May 28
1937—Chamberlain Becomes Prime Minister
Arthur Neville Chamberlain, who is known today mainly for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938 which conceded the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany and was supposed to appease Adolf Hitler's imperial ambitions, becomes prime minister of Great Britain. At the time Chamberlain is the second oldest man, at age sixty-eight, to ascend to the office. Three years later he would give way to Winston Churchill.
May 27
1930—Chrysler Building Opens
In New York City, after a mere eighteen months of construction, the Chrysler Building opens to the public. At 1,046 feet, 319 meters, it is the tallest building in the world at the time, but more significantly, William Van Alen's design is a landmark in art deco that is celebrated to this day as an example of skyscraper architecture at its most elegant.
1969—Jeffrey Hunter Dies
American actor Jeffrey Hunter dies of a cerebral hemorrhage after falling down a flight of stairs and sustaining a skull fracture, a mishap precipitated by his suffering a stroke seconds earlier. Hunter played many roles, including Jesus in the 1961 film King of Kings, but is perhaps best known for portraying Captain Christopher Pike in the original Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage".

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