Academic journal article Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)

Pulp Art: Original Cover Paintings for the Great American Pulp Magazines

Academic journal article Journal of American Culture (Malden, MA)

Pulp Art: Original Cover Paintings for the Great American Pulp Magazines

Article excerpt

Pulp Art: Original Cover Paintings for the Great American Pulp Magazines. Robert Lesser. New York: Grammercy Books, 1997.

Finally, fans of pulp magazines have another attractive collection of cover images to drool over. Unlike The Pulps, edited by Tony Goodstone in 1970, and Danger Is My Business by Lee Server from 1993, Robert Lesser's book is neither an anthology of stories or a general history. Instead, he emphasized reproduction of paintings photographed for the pulp covers, after which many were discarded. Fortunately, some paintings survive in collections today. Lesser wrote the main text describing and interpreting the cover art, and he invited some collectors, artists' relatives, and other pulp specialists to contribute short essays. Unfortunately, he did not include pictures of pulps mentioned in the essays, leaving the various descriptions disconnected from images. If the cover of All Detective January 1935 had been shown along with James Van Hise's essay, readers would see that Van Hise misinterpreted his own example by calling the hybrid monster threatening the girl hawk-like instead of cobra-like. (The cover painting illustrated a story titled "The Sign of the Serpent".) The colorful painting reproductions are generally stunning, with many at full page size, representing genres such as science fiction, fantasy, detective, hero, aviation, western, weird menace, and "spicy," or "women in peril." Lesser also added a bibliography of books and magazines, readers' letters to pulp editors, some artist biographies, and a guide to collecting pulp cover art. …

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