This is a review of a pulp cover site run by Alex Scrivener, and while we usually look at comic book covers, there is something special about the 1940’s, 1950’s style of cover art that is reflected both in comic books and in pulp mass market paperbacks of the era. This was an era when “men were men and women were seductive temptresses out to kill us all”, or damsels in distress that only a real man could brave the elements to protect. You saw this style in a lot of the older Doc Savage, Tarzan, and Sheena comic books, so it should be no surprise that pulp books followed in the same path with lurid covers and promises of what would be inside those books.
While the story lines probably left much to be desired, or the covers were much more tantalizing that the hack writer had skills to produce, the covers themselves are worthy of note. Painted, drawn or actual pictures, the competition on the news stand or in the comic book section meant that both comics and pulp had to compete side by side with each other for consumer interest. As pulp covers and comic book covers got more lurid over time, comics ended up with the comics code, while pulp slowly died away in the era of “what about the children” who would be exposed to this in the local news stand or other shop that carried them.
It is sad that pulp simply vanished under the onslaught of distraught parents who were worried that their precious snowflake would be exposed to all sorts of nastiness, not realizing that they were getting the same education in the schoolyard. At least the books and some times in the comics the bully or cause of suffering and pain in the end got their comeuppance.
Alex has hundreds of pulp covers that are worth looking at and enjoying because these really were a unique time in history. One that came and went long before many of us knew that they would be worth reviving memories, or curating for future internet historians to learn about the motivations and passions of a bygone age.
Much like comic books, there was a golden age, of savage men, women, and the society in which this meant something. Today we have hipsters, but back then, they had beatniks. We have our own set of retro covers for Sheena, Tarzan, and Doc Savage, but sadly, the pulps never seemed to recover, and it is good to see this near comic book style format being curated and preserved on the internet. This is one of those sites that is well worth paying attention to and enjoying. If you are a fan of comic book covers, then you will really dig this site a lot.
- Shane Black talks DOC SAVAGE adaptation (geektyrant.com)
- Comic Book Legends Revealed #339 (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com)
- Yesterdays Rant about Independent Comics Being Doomed (comicsforge.com)
- The Scariest Comic Books of All Time! – Jenifer (goodcomics.comicbookresources.com)
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