Friday, March 02, 2007

Pulp Fiction

I have succeeded in annoying Ocala's social elite with my determined requests to hand Travolta one of my business cards at tonight's "Wild Hogs" soire. Ha! How ironic that entire statement is. At least I had the moxie to ask. I'd rather meet Travolta (and I will) on businesslike terms where I can conduct myself as a professional instead of as a silly gushing fan.

So, I've been thinking about my favorite Travolta movie, Pulp Fiction, which reminded me of a book about pulp fiction cover illustrations that I purchased at a flea market years ago. Pulp paperbacks and magazines were popular during the depression and war years of the 30's, 40's and 50's. It was so named for the sub-standard wood pulp paper it was printed on. Did you know that the early work of Dashiell Hammet, H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury and Tennessee Williams graced the pulp pages?

The Conde Nast Publication, "The Shadow", with cover art by George Rozen. Some of these artists painted for pennies and some like Rozen went on to be in-demand illustrators.

Don't you love the color and action? This painting is by Norman Saunders for "Ace Detective", 1938. He created one of the most successful nonsports-card sets in history - "Mars Attacks", worth untold thousands in today's market.

Illustration for "Spicy Mystery Stories" by H. J. Ward, 1936. This series combined steamy sex with action and was the brainchild of Culture Productions, started by Harry Donenfeld and Frank Armer who continually dodged the censors who proclaimed violence and mutilation were okay, nipples were not.

One of the best fantasy artists, J. Allen St. John, known as the Edgar Rice Burroughs artist. He illustrated the Tarzan books and he was in great demand. Here is "Golden Blood" for Weird Tales, April 1933.

Dean of the Aviation Pulp Artists: Rudolph Belarski. Here's "Nazi Fury!" for Thrilling Adventures, October, 1940. Over 50,000 pulp illustrations were produced during the period and most tragically ended up in trash bins. Now highly collectible and sought after.

Some well known fine-art painters contributed to the pulps. John Stuart Curry, Rockwell Kent, and this guy, the great N. C. Wyeth. He also created a Tarzan cover or two. In my opinion, N.C. is one of the all time great illustrator/artists. He work is darkly compelling. Above is "Ambushed on the Trail" for All Around Magazine, March, 1916. (poor horse)

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