Cover Me.

Well, it won’t be out till November 10th (and who knows if it’ll really be available immediately). But I’ll definitely be pre-ordering Colin Larkin’s Cover Me: The Art Of Pan Books 1950 – 1965. Sure, $45 is steep, but well worth it for a 256 page book with over 300 cover illustrations (bet there’ll be a lot of Sam Peffer examples). I’ll always admit to favoring U.S. postwar pb cover illustration work over the UK, continental Europe and other markets. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them all! Looking forward to this one.

Steffi (and Anita).

Who was Eunice Gray, author of the spicy 1959 ‘romance’ Steffi

Don’t ask me. You can find several Eunice Grays, one an author but surely not of a novel like Steffi. Another was a scientist, another the proprietor of a turn of the century (19th to 20th, that is) bordello, of all things. 

There are more, but I’m not convinced any are the Eunice Gray (if that’s not a pen name) who lucked out with this saucy Clement Micarelli cover art. I’m supposing Micarelli referred to the frequently seen publicity photo of Swedish actress Anita Ekberg (1931 – 2015) in lieu of a model for Steffi’s gouache illustration, but if not, it’s uncanny how similar the poses are. 

Denis McLoughlin.

Several consecutive posts in early August talked about Henry Kane’s late 1950’s ‘stiletto gumshoe’, Marla Trent, the “Private Eyeful” (link below). The paperbacks were graced by cover art from postwar illustration greats like Robert Maguire and Mort Engle, but I did once have a hardcover with much simpler (and a little less leering) art by Denis McLoughlin, which in its way was all the more striking.

British artist Denis McLoughlin (1918 – 2002) was as much a graphic designer as an illustrator, doing spot illustrations for a mail order catalog firm when WWII broke out and he became a gunner at a suburban London Royal Artillery Depot. There he was also ‘drafted’ to do officers’ portraits and produce murals around the base. After the war, McLoughlin began a long association with UK publisher T.V. Boardman, Ltd., his book cover work what he’s best known for, though he also did many magazine illustrations and even worked in comics. Fascinated by the swiftly evolving photo-mechanical color separations processes, McLoughlin was known for eking out striking results with limited colors, something pretty foreign to contemporary designers and illustrators working in a CMYK digital environment. 

Like many of the unsung heroes of the postwar commercial art world, Denis McLoughlin was all too often underpaid for his efforts. In his case it meant being forced to work way past retirement age. Tragically, his eyesight faded in his 80’s, Soon, he began to lose dexterity in his right arm. Fearing he’d be unable to draw and paint, Denis McLoughlin committed suicide using a studio prop pistol that only had one bullet in it. 

https://thestilettogumshoe.com/2020/08/01/no-really-where-did-marla-go/

A Blonde For Benny.

From Australia’s loooong running Larry Kent: I Hate Crime pulp series, this one’s for Blonde For Benny, the cover art presumably by series illustrators Stan Pitt or Walter Stackpool, though I see no signature or credits anywhere.

I bought several Larry Kent reprints not long ago, with two novelettes to each trade paperback. Can’t say I plan to swap them for a long list of more favored U.S. pulps and postwar PBO’s, but it’s always interesting to read UK and Australian takes on American slang, settings and hard-boiled storytelling.

Chinatown.

Barrios Chinos by Raoul Artz 1972

I know absolutely nothing about writer Raoul Artz, and am only guessing that he penned seventies sleaze books, at least based on titles like Las Obsesiones Sexuales, El Amor En Sueca and (as translated online) Sexual Women and Sexual Dating: The Call Girls, all from 1976. (That last one’s still knocking around inside my head. “Dating” equals “Call Girls”?)

Vintage sleaze or not, I adore the cover art for Artz’ Barrios Chinos from 1972, though I’m frustrated as hell that the artist is uncredited. The book’s back cover text reads (as run through an online translator): “The legend of Chinatown laid bare. Truths and tragedies in neighborhoods that come to light in a stark, realistic and sobering way. All the big cities have a quiet neighborhood. A forbidden neighborhood, a Chinatown. This work offers a panoramic view of what the Chinese quarters of the world’s main cities really are.”  Based on the cover art, I’m supposing the ‘panoramic view’ focuses on more of that ‘dating’ and those ‘call girls’.

One hell of an illustration, though…

Mario De Berardinis.

Mario De Berardinis 1

Espionage, horror and Euro-sleaze film poster illustrations (and layouts) by Italian illustrator Mario De Berardinis (1931 – 1977).

The De Berardinis surname just seems to go along with artists for some reason, with the 1950’s – 1970’s era Italian poster, digest and paperback cover illustrator on one hand, but also Rosetta De Berardinis, a Washington D.C. abstract painter, and of course Olivia De Berardinis, the popular glamour and erotic art illustrator, though none are related in any way to my knowledge.

Mario De Berardinis 2Mario De Berardinis 3Mario De Berardinis 4Mario De Berardinis 6Mario De Berardinis 7

A Cigarette Break.

bedtime standin 1965 robert bonfils

Time for a smoke while the boys conduct business?

Curt Aldrich was a pseudonymous house name used by Nightstand, Leisure and other paperback publishers for sleaze titles, and credited as the author of 1965’s Bedtime Standin, for which the unusually dark-hued Robert Bonfils cover art is shown here (Bonfils typically a fan of the brightest hues on his palette).

Just Pocket That Advance.

The Deer Park 1967 Cover Art

Cover art for a UK Corgi paperback edition of Norman Mailer’s 1955 The Deer Park, the writer’s infamous expose of Hollywood decadence set in mythical Desert D’Or (Palm Springs). A good novel or a dreadful one, I couldn’t say, but it was notorious in its day, the manuscript rejected by the publisher for obscenity even though it was already typeset and ready to go to press. Unprecedented at that time, Mailer kept his advance and took the book to another publisher.

Word to the wise: Cash the check, then talk.

 

A Bullet For Cinderella.

On the Make, 1960 - illus Mitchell Hooks.2 copy

I prefer A Bullet For Cinderella, John D. MacDonald’s original title for his 1955 novel retitled On The Make, the 1960 Dell paperback edition that got this gorgeous Mitchell Hooks cover illustration, a particular Hooks’ fave of mine.

The Case Of The Singing Skirt.

1963 the case of the singing skirt

If we can trust online translations (which we probably can’t), this 1963 Dutch edition of Erle Stanley Gardner’s 1961 Perry Mason novel The Case Of The Singing Skirt reads “The Girl’s Secret In Leotard”.  Well, that’s what I got, anyway. Which might make sense since the model in Dutch photographer Philip Mechanicus’ cover photo doesn’t appear to be wearing a skirt at all. To be fair, many U.S. paperback editions of Gardner’s Perry Mason novels showcased peculiarly steamy covers for their wildly successful mysery/courtroom potboilers. This one? A low-rent California gambling den’s cigarette girl and aspiring songstress who witnesses a gambling debt payoff winds up pinned with a murder rap…Perry Mason to the rescue.

Singing Skirt Group

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