Saturday, September 30, 2017

Noirsville Pulp Art - Paperbacks - Magazines

The Hard Boiled Pulps both the magazines and later the paperbacks and their associated artworks played a major part in Film Noir and Neo Noir. Like two mirrors placed facing each other the multiple reflections produced in each format infinitely influenced the other in a creative symbiotic relationship.

Roughly WWII to the end of the 1960s marked the heyday of the era of Pulp Magazines and Paperbacks. The most significant improvement was the publication of Pocketbook's The Good Earth in 1938, the first paperback with cover art. The art was designed to be an attractive, eye catching lure to the novel within. It wasn't long before publishers discovered that the hardboiled school of writing was the most popular genre. Taking a cue from pulp magazines Black Mask, Argosy, Amazing Stories, Dime Detective, Horror Stories, Spicy Detective, etc., etc., publishers soon discovered that the more dark, salacious, sleazy and suggestive the cover the bigger the sales.

Pulp Magazines

In the 1950s and 60s paperbacks expanded their market into Beat (beatnik), JD (juvenile delinquent), Drug, Slut, and Hard & Softcore Porn (including all its deviations).

Paperback Cover Art

The decline came when the publishers towards the end of the 60s either didn't want to pay cover artists anylonger or tried for a more modern look to compete with popular men's and women's magazines using photographic images. These new covers were stripped for the most part (by comparatively unimaginative photographers) of the dark atmospherics associated in the trashy, lurid, suggestive images of old.

The continued cost cutting by publishers resulted in the uninteresting, snooze inducing covers of just plain glossy titles with relatively minimalist artwork that predominated the 70s and 80s, examples below.