I love old pulp fiction paperback covers of the fifties and sixties and, apparently, I am not only one because really good ones are getting harder and harder to find. So it gave me a good laugh yesterday when I stumbled upon a short series of parody covers that were created by Heldfond Book Gallery.
My two favorites are shown below:
Are these clever, or what?
You guys know how much I love and enjoy those old paperback covers from the fifties – as I’ve posted in several “Sinful Saturday” topics here on Book Chase.
Well, this one is destined to become one of my all-time favorites as it combines my love of books and libraries with my love of pulp fiction covers:
What a multi-tasker…he’s still holding tight to his favorite book.
I hope all my librarian friends out there have a good sense of humor…if not, let me hear from you anyway.
From what I’ve posted here on the last three Saturdays, I’m sure it’s become obvious that I’m a big fan of pulp fiction cover art. I want to highlight a cover this week that I think will help to explain my infatuation.
First is the actual book cover for a 1953 book by Jane Manning called Reefer Girl:
The book is described as “The frank, biting story of a young girl of the slums, and how she was caught in the toils of evil.” Its cover is based on an “oil on board” painting by Rudy Nappi.
Next, I want you to click on the image shown below to experience a true work of art, Nappi’s original painting:
See why these covers can be so intriguing?
Photographer Thomas Allen does some remarkable things by combining old books, cutouts, a camera, and a whole lot of talent. Allen has such a remarkable eye that his creations are used as dust jackets and covers for new books, completing the cycle.
I don’t begin to understand how all of this is accomplished and Allen’s website doesn’t really make clear how he pulls it all together. But you have to see it, to believe it.
This is my favorite of the images I’ve seen. In fact, I like this original art even better than the book jacket into which it was later transformed.
Click on the image to see a much larger version.
|Photo from Vintagellu’s Photostream on Flickr
Few people probably realize that celebrated science fiction writer Robert Silverberg wrote several novels for publisher Bedside as Mark Ryan. Streets of Sin, the cover art shown here, was published in 1959 for sale in news stands across America. Silverberg was ultimately named a Grandmaster by the Science Fiction Writers of America, so he is rightfully remembered best for his work in that genre. (I don’t think Mark Ryan won any awards – but he put food on Silverberg’s table for a few years.)
Mark Ryan had some help from at least four others in putting a little cash in Mr. Silverberg’s pockets because Silverberg also wrote in this style under the names: Don Elliott, Loren Beauchamp, David Challon, and Gordon Mitchell. The books were published by Bediside, Nightstand, and Bedstand (names so similar that I’m guessing they might really all have been the same company).
I have not attempted to count the books that Silverberg wrote under these names, but there appears to be at least a couple of dozen of them, probably a good many more. By the way, a copy of Streets of Sin in excellent condition could be had five years ago for about $60.
|(Image from the Flickr account: Vintageillu’s Photostream)
The cover art of these old pulp fiction/paperback originals makes the books quite collectible and hard to find these days – especially in anything approaching decent condition. They were never a very high quality product – and that includes both the stories and the paper and cardboard upon which they were printed. But it is great fun to look back on them some sixty or so years later.
The Lustful Ape was written in 1950 by Bruno Fischer (not a bad writer) but here he used the pen name Russell Gray which he had already been using for several years. It is a 65,000 word novel that Mr. Fischer completed in a mere 18 days and, as you can see from the cover, it sold for a whopping 25 cents in 1950. The cover art was produced by Julian Paul. From what I can gather, the “ape” was a menacing musclebound character, probably the villain of the piece. Bruno Fischer is also known as one of the earliest writers to produce work for the “paperback originals” market.