Modern Pulp Apr 11 2015
MAKING A CASE
El Caso documented the underbelly of Spanish society for thirty-five years.

Our friends in Spain are really getting the hang of this pulp thing. The first item we received from them was a set of photos on Spanish post-pulp artist Vicente B. Ballestar. Next they e-mailed us scans from the Burgos-based fanzine Monografico, which had used a 1960s men’s magazine cover for an art piece. Now we’ve been sent some scans from the Spanish crime tabloid El Caso, which was published out of Madrid by Empresa Eugenio Suarez. For thirty-five years—from 1952 to 1987—El Caso was an important post-Spanish revolution publication, topping 100,000 readers per issue at one point. The copy you see here appeared today in 1981, and it has splatter photos, tales from Spain’s mean streets, and interesting art from A. Arnau. We have four more scans below and if we get lucky maybe we’ll be sent more (hint) later.

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Modern Pulp Mar 29 2015
BEASTLY BEHAVIOR
Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

Tatsumi Kumashiro’s roman porno flick Shoujo shofu: kemonomichi was called Path of the Beast for its Western release, but the literal translation of the Japanese title is something like “Girl Whore Beast Road.” That sounds ridiculous, but it does sum up the plot. Yoshimura Ayako stars as a sex-loving twenty-something who has two horny lovers and thinks of herself as a whore because she can’t say no to either of them. She believes she inherited the trait from her equally sexual mother, and vows not to go down the same road of carnality. You see? Girl Whore Beast Road. Ayako’s assessment of herself may seem a little harsh—after all, if she loves to bone, what’s the problem? Well, reputational issues, obviously, as well as possessiveness issues on the part of her men—and those don't often end happily. But at least Ayako has ample fun in the midst of her anguish. She has sex on the beach, sex on a boat, sex in a shack, sex under the ruined pier, and even sex in a bed. It’s all softcore, of course—if you’ve never seen a roman porno movie, the sex scenes usually look like two people trying hold a water balloon between their torsos, and Shoujo shofu: kemonomichi holds to that tradition with plenty of writhing and wiggling. At some point Ayako learns to accept herself, if not her circumstances, and that’s really what the movie is about. Shoujo shofu: kemonomichi premiered in Japan today in 1980. 

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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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Modern Pulp | Vintage Pulp Mar 20 2015
GETTING HAMMERED
Three Italian covers offer three visions of Mickey Spillane’s hard-boiled Mike Hammer classic.

The top cover for Mickey Spillane’s Ti ucciderò was painted by the excellent Giovanni Benvenuti for Garzanti in 1957. You can see the artist’s signature more or less in the middle of the cover. The title Ti ucciderò means “I will kill you,” which is considerably less evocative than the original title I, the Jury, but maybe that just doesn’t translate well in Italy for some reason. The second cover is also from Garzanti and dates from 1972. The shifty eyes at top were a design element on all the Spillane covers from Garzanti during the period. Last you see a 1990 edition of I, the Jury published by Oscar Mondadori, and though we don’t know the artist, it’s interesting to see a book appear so late with a painted cover. The detective on that one, if you take a close look, is the actor Stacy Keach. He was starring as Mike Hammer on an American television show called The New Mike Hammer, from which you see a still at right, and the Mondadori book was a tie-in for when the show hit Italian television. All three covers are nice, but Benvenuti is tops, as always.

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Modern Pulp Feb 26 2015
THIS LITTLE PIGGY
Think you have trouble getting laid? Try dealing with this guy’s problem.

Above are assorted covers of the Italian fumetto Pig, which first appeared in 1983 from Ediperiodici. Pig was reprinted in both French and Spanish, though the French editions ran into trouble from authorities that saw the content as promoting bestiality. You’d have to be a real prude to see it that way, because this is pretty funny stuff. An experiment gone awry has given the protagonist a pig’s head, and if he doesn’t have sex regularly he’ll transform past the point of no return. Since he has a pig’s head, the sex thing is a bit tricky, but through sheer animal charm he manages. So what’s your excuse for not scoring? We bet you have a human head, so quit your bellyaching. 

As a side note, this comic brings to mind the time we worked for a production company in L.A., which at some point began scouring the country for graphic novels with cinema potential. Once word got out in the comic community we began receiving dozens of submissions a week, all of which had to be evaluated for merit. There was one guy who sent in something called Pork, and the idea was that a pig was elected to the U.S. Senate. We loved that one and gave it highest marks, but others in the company just didn't get it. Disagreement over the concept contributed to us getting fired. Which just goes to show how stupidly literal some people are.
 
Anyway, we have some interior scans from issue number 63 of Pig below. In those pages the hero calls himself Dick Saroyan and seemingly is a writer or journalist. However, we’ve seen online that the pig is actually named Mark, so maybe in this issue he’s involved in some sort of undercover caper. Regardless, he ends up getting laid and that's all that really matters for him, lest he transform into 100% swine. Have a look below. The art, which is by Averardo Ciriello, is pretty graphic, but that's why it's per adulti.

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Modern Pulp Feb 13 2015
FOLLOW THE LIDER
Why thank you. I’ll put this right into my secret account at HSBC.

It’s been a while since we shared any Mexican pulp art, so here’s a nice example—it’s entitled “Líderes aprovechado,” which means “exploited leaders,” and it depicts the buying off of a politician. How unsophisticated—don’t they know if they follow certain procedures this becomes a perfectly legal campaign donation? They need to look north for inspiration. Anyway, this painting and others we’ve shared were made for Mexico’s cheapie paperback market during the seventies and eighties. You can see a few other examples here, here, and here. 

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Modern Pulp Jan 10 2015
BEBA YOU'RE A STAR
Gio and Roberto make a porno.

Above and below, a revisitation of the Italian fumetto Pornostar, with cover art by Roberto Molino and interiors from Giovanni Romanini. A couple of websites say the physical aspects of Beba and Fiona are based on two showgirls from the Italian television program Striscia la notizia, but we checked and it turns out the show debuted three years after the comic. See our other entry on this comic here.

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Modern Pulp Dec 22 2014
NEW YORK VISIONS
Owen Smith’s pulp influenced creations are modern masterpieces.

We don’t spend as much time as we should on what we like to call modern pulp, but we very much like contemporary artist Owen Smith and mentioned how his work fronts two of our favorite crime novels of recent years—Daniel Chavarría’s Adios Muchachos and Tango for a Torturer. Smith also created two brilliant Dashiell Hammett posters that we shared back in 2009. We wanted to get back to him, so above and below are some of his unique, pulp-style covers for The New Yorker magazine. You can see more art on his website.

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Modern Pulp Dec 13 2014
ALPHABETICAL DISORDER
One out of two isn’t bad, when it comes to Cyrillic.

The cover of the above Soviet-issue James Hadley Chase/Victor Canning double novel isn’t particularly wonderful, but the interior illustrations are rather nice. We don’t read Cyrillic, but we painstakingly plugged the cover squiggles into a translator and came up with I’ll Bury My Dead for Chase and something like “communicating on foot” for Canning, a title which resembles those of none of his actual works. So there you go. We were actually pretty confident when we started the process. We once figured out the St. Petersburg subway system during rush hour, so we figured book titles would be a snap. No such luck. These translations appeared in 1991.

Update: The answer comes from John, who wrote in saying: пешка translates as "pawn", so a reasonable guess might be Queen's Pawn, Canning's 1969 book. The other word проходная translates as "communicating", so that is harder to work out a connection.
 
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Modern Pulp Nov 27 2014
TOKYOSCOPE POP
2010 lecture and film series produced uniquely stylish art.

Modern art with a vintage flair always catches our eye. The posters above and below promote a lecture and film series called TokyoScope Talks, which were held in San Francisco during 2010 at the subterranean Viz Cinema in Japantown. The cinema has since closed, and the lecture/film series has concluded, but the art is so interesting we wanted to share it anyway, even fours years late. These events were primarily organized by writer/journalist Patrick Macias, and the posters were put together by the talented Kazumi Nonaka.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
April 19
1927—Mae West Sentenced to Jail
American actress and playwright Mae West is sentenced to ten days in jail for obscenity for the content of her play Sex. The trial occurred even though the play had run for a year and had been seen by 325,000 people. However West's considerable popularity, already based on her risque image, only increased due to the controversy.
1971—Manson Sentenced to Death
In the U.S, cult leader Charles Manson is sentenced to death for inciting the murders of Sharon Tate and several other people. Three accomplices, who had actually done the killing, were also sentenced to death, but the state of California abolished capital punishment in 1972 and neither they nor Manson were ever actually executed.

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