|Vintage Pulp||Jan 12 2016|
From its founding in 1924 as True Detective Mysteries, through its second iteration and renaming in 1939, True Detective featured painted covers by top artists in the pulp/post-pulp field. The magazine experimented with photographed covers in 1962, releasing two issues of that style. The next year saw photographed covers become the norm and, sadly, another great forum for fine art disappeared forever. That said, some of the new photocovers were good, such as this one from January 1964 showing a kidnap victim fleeing her captor. As you can see, it sought to replicate the style of the painters by using careful staging, and in this case was particularly successful. But soon enough the covers turned into this—i.e., little more than snapshots.
|The Naked City||Oct 7 2009|
We had to smile at this True Detective from October 1975 featuring a man armed with what looks like a rolled up magazine chasing a terrified woman. Perhaps his behavior seems harsh, but hey, you’d be mad too if someone went potty on your new carpet. Despite the silly cover, True Detective was actually a venerable publication that launched back in 1924 as True Detective Mysteries. But after decades of success its audience shrank throughout the ’50s and ’60s as paperbacks and television grew in popularity. This caused both a decline in budget (bye-bye handpainted cover art) and an increase in gimmickry (hello sexualized cover photos). Once True Detective made this shift to photographs, its aesthetics became seriously hit-and-miss. The above cover is a whiff, but you can see an example of a home run here. True Detective finally ceased operations in 1995, by which time it was a shell of its former self. But even at its nadir, it’s worth examining if only for the laugh factor, which means we’ll be sharing more of these ridiculous ’70s covers in the future.