Vintage Pulp Oct 7 2020
A PERFECT STORM
When it rains it pours talent.


Giovanni Benvenuti was an illustrator of unique skill. We've posted a couple of wonderful collections of his covers (you can see those here and here, and we really recommend them because it's all very striking work), but have neglected him these last several years. That stops today, because he's a top tier artist. Above you see the cover he painted for Dominique Dorn's thriller Véronique et la St. Médard, published by Éditions Ditis for its Collection la Chouette in 1961. There's a lot to like about this piece, but we're most struck by the indistinct lights seen through the veil of rain. They're suggestive but could really be anything.

Dominque Dorn, appropriately, could really be anyone. It was the pen name of Marie-Anne Devillers, who also published as Mario Ropp, Maïa Walbert, Maïa de Villers, and Michèle Vaudois. That's a lot of names, and she used them to write a lot of books. Ropp was by far her most prolific pseudonym. She published more than one hundred novels under that identity. On the whole, Dorn churned out novels at an astounding rate, sometimes publishing six a year. That's a lot of output, so we'll probably run into her again. See another here

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Vintage Pulp Jun 10 2019
CRIME AMERICAN STYLE
Four U.S. authors make their mark on France and on film.


Above, four covers from Éditions Ditis for its La Chouette collection, circa late 1950s. All of these were originally published in the U.S. and translated into French after being adapted into films. The first three were turned into the film noir classics Sudden Fear, A Kiss Before Dying, and Black Angel, while the fourth became the French crime thriller Bonnes à tuer, which is known in English as One Step to Eternity.

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Vintage Pulp Sep 25 2014
BON GIOVANNI
Giovanni Benvenuti raises the bar for French crime covers.


Today we wanted to share a series of truly spectacular French covers from Frédéric Ditis’s eponymous company Ditis, published as part of its popular La Chouette—or Owl—collection. These all date from the mid-1950s to early 1960s, and there’s really nothing to say about them except that they’re by the sublime Giovanni Benvenuti.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
April 16
1943—First LSD Trip Takes Place
Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann, while working at Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, accidentally absorbs lysergic acid diethylamide, better known as LSD, and thus discovers its psychedelic properties. He had first synthesized the substance five years earlier but hadn't been aware of its effects. He goes on to write scores of articles and books about his creation.
April 15
1912—The Titanic Sinks
Two and a half hours after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage, the British passenger liner RMS Titanic sinks, dragging 1,517 people to their deaths. The number of dead amount to more than fifty percent of the passengers, due mainly to the fact the liner was not equipped with enough lifeboats.
1947—Robinson Breaks Color Line
African-American baseball player Jackie Robinson officially breaks Major League Baseball's color line when he debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Several dark skinned men had played professional baseball around the beginning of the twentieth century, but Robinson was the first to overcome the official segregation policy called—ironically, in retrospect—the "gentleman's agreement".
April 14
1935—Dust Storm Strikes U.S.
Exacerbated by a long drought combined with poor soil conservation techniques that caused excessive soil erosion on farmlands, a huge dust storm known as Black Sunday rages across Texas, Oklahoma, and several other states, literally turning day to night and redistributing an estimated 300,000 tons of topsoil.
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