Vintage Pulp Dec 15 2022
LES MARSEILLE LAYS
It's time to stand at attention, boys.


The cover art on Le voyage a Marseille by Alex Cadourcy was painted by someone new to our website. He signed his work as Arrigoni, as you see at lower left. Try as we might, we can't come up with more than that single name, though we did find other nice covers he created. Therefore this particular artist will remain a mystery for now. Cadourcy, though, was no mystery—he was aka André Héléna, and he wrote this for Éditions Le Lucane, copyright 1961.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 8 2022
MAN OVERBOARD
You get the feeling he's not her biggest Fanfan.


Above: a well worn cover for André Héléna's Fanfan la douleur, for Éditions le Trotteur's Condor collection, 1953. The art is by Jacques Thibésart, aka Nik, and it caught our eye because it seems to have been inspired by the famous promo image from Gilda of Glenn Ford losing his temper and slapping Rita Hayworth. At least we think so. If that's the case Thibésart wasn't going for an exact duplicate, but it feels about the same. You can check for yourself at our collection of Hollywood stars—including men on men, women on men, and women on women—slapping each other. It's fourth in the set

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Vintage Pulp Jun 22 2020
DEAD DRUNK
Come on, one more won't kill you.


Jean David is one of the great French illustrators of the mid-century era, and this cover for Kathy Woodfield's 1955 novel Massacres à l'anisette shows him at his best. Woodfield, as we recently mentioned, was a pseudonym for André Hélena, and he wrote this for the Parisian publisher Éditions de la Seine for its Collection Rafale. David was based in Marseilles and was active from the 1940s and onward, working often with Le Méridional, and specializing in small drawings for V magazine. In our opinion he truly shone on paperback covers. Take a closer look below at how beautifully rendered his female figure is. He did far too few book covers. In fact we've seen only a handful. But you can bet that each time we run into one we'll share it here. We think he's great. You can see some of his mini art here, and another brilliant paperback cover at the bottom of this post.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 16 2020
FULLY AUTOMATIC
The best hired guns never miss the mark.

Like clockwork, it's time once more for Jef de Wulf, one of the most reliable paperback illustrators of the mid-century era. Every cover he painted, for whatever company employed him, was stylish and unique. He was automatic. Here's an example of him at his best on this 1952 cover for Faudra cracher au bassinet, by André Helena writing as Kathy Woodfield, for Éditions la Dernière Chance's series Le Roman Noir Féminin. We don't know anything else about the novel except that the title translates as “you'll have to spit in the bassinet,” which is French slang meaning to give reluctantly. It only makes sense once you know that “bassinet” doesn't just mean a baby's bed, as it does in English, but also a church collection dish. Eew. We give unreluctantly more de Wulf here, here, and here

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Vintage Pulp Oct 26 2016
DOWN THE UP STAIRCASE
In vintage fiction you really need to watch your step.

The first step is a doozy, as they say, but in vintage fiction so is the last one and all those in between. Above and below are assorted paperback covers featuring characters who've had a bad time navigating stairs, a few due to accidents but most via ill intent from third parties. We also have one hardback dust sleeve we added at the bottom because it was so interesting. Just scroll down, but do it carefully.

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Vintage Pulp Jun 19 2012
DE WULF MAN
He had dogged determination to produce high quality art.

A couple of times we’ve shown you the distinctive work of French illustrator Jef de Wulf, and today we’re back with four more of his pieces in a slightly different vein. Rather than his usual textured backgrounds, here he works with negative white space while producing three covers for Editions de la pensée moderne’s 1950s-era Collection tropique, and one for Editions Armand Fleury’s Collection Le crépuscule. These, we think, showcase de Wulf at his best. We’ll have more later, and you can see those other covers here and here.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
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.
February 25
1947—Prussia Ceases To Exist
The centuries-old state of Prussia, which had been a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great during the 1800s, and a major influence on German culture, ceases to exist when it is dissolved by the post-WWII Allied Control Council comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
1964—Clay Beats Liston
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aged 22, becomes champion of the world after beating Sonny Liston, aka the Dark Destroyer, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It would be the beginning of a storied and controversial career for Clay, who would announce to the world shortly after the fight that he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
February 24
1920—The Nazi Party Is Founded
The small German Workers' Party, or DAP, which was under the direction of Adolf Hitler, changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Though Hitler adopted the socialist label to attract working class Germans, his party in fact embraced mainly anti-socialist ideas. The group became known in English as the Nazi Party, and within the next fifteen years expanded to become the most powerful force in German politics.
1942—Battle of Los Angeles Takes Place
A object flying over wartime Los Angeles triggers a massive anti-aircraft barrage, ultimately killing 3 civilians. Initially the target of the aerial barrage is thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but it is later suggested to be imaginary and a case of "war nerves", a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon, or even an extraterrestrial craft. The true nature of the object or objects remains unknown to this day, but the event is known as the Battle of Los Angeles.
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