Category Archives: Pulp paperback cover art

Pulp Friday: The Man With the Brown Paper Face

Welcome to my first Pulp Friday offering for 2018. Today’s book, The Man With the Brown Paper Face, published by Panther in 1969, showcases one of my favourite forms of paperback cover design, photographic cover art from the late 1960s/early 1970s.

I know the purists among you dig the painted pulp covers from the 1940s and 1950s, and I love them, too. But there is something wonderfully sensational and lurid about photographic cover design from the period I mentioned earlier and, in my opinion, the Brits were the masters of it.

Photographs began to replace artwork on paperback books from the mid-1960s on. Partly this was part of an effort by publishers to be seen to be moving with the times and look more modern. Partly it was a cost cutting measure, as photographic covers were cheaper than painted ones. But despite their cheapness, arguably because of it, many of these covers manage to evoke a dynamic, visceral, fly on the wall atmosphere that could often be quite stunning.

The Man With the Brown Paper Face is a good example. The cover utilises a man with a stocking over his head, posing on top of a scrapyard car, brandishing a star picket, which the photographer probably found nearby. Its nasty and direct and – I don’t know about you – but it instantly made me want to pick up the book.… Read more

My top 10 crime reads of 2017

Late last year the German culture website, CulturMag, asked me to nominate my top 10 reads for 2017. My list is now live (and in English), along with contributions from a number of other individuals and can be seen in full here.

As usual, it is a mix of old and new fiction, as well as some of the non-fiction books I enjoyed. What were your top crime reads of 2017?

Pulp Friday: Teenage jungles – expose pulp about youth subcultures

The new book I have co-edited, Girl Gangs, Biker Boys and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950-1980 is about many things.

It depicts the insatiable energy of post war youth and their desire to find expression through style, fashion, music and language. It is also about the just as insatiable appetite of pulp paperback publishers to hype and exploit youth culture for cheap thrills and cheap paperback sales.

One of the decisions that my co-editor, Iain McIntyre and I faced early on in putting the book together was whether or not to include the large body of nonfiction expose pulp about youth culture. For reasons of space, in the end, we decided against including these books. But they remain one of my favourite strands of pulp fiction.

These books, which were a major sub-genre of pulp from the 1950s to the early 1970s, were marketed as timely, hard hitting, insider accounts or journalistic exposes of various social issues and trends. They were factual only in the most generous sense of the word, usually taking as their starting point the latest public sensation or tabloid headline. And, more often than not, their target was the so called goings on of out of the control young people. In colourful language and with lurid, highly sexualised covers, these books capitalised on mainstream fears, concerns and, as was often the case, fascinations with young people and their activities.Read more

The power of pulp fiction: Girl gangs, biker boys & more

It takes scholarly love and a fan’s enthusiasm to devote oneself to putting together a 300-plus page book dissecting obscure pulp fiction. But that is exactly what Australian writers Andrew Nette and Ian McIntyre have done with Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980.

The respected site, Literary Hub, has a terrific piece by New York crime writer, Scott Adlerberg, talking about pulp fiction and the new book on youth subculture and pulp fiction that Iain McIntyre and I have edited. You can check it out in full on their site here.

Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction and Youth Culture, 1950 to 1980 is out now through PM Press.

Launch of Girl Gangs, Biker Biker Boys & Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction & Youth Culture, 1950-1980

Thanks to all those who came out on Monday for the launch of Girl Gangs, Biker Biker Boys & Real Cool Cats: Pulp Fiction & Youth Culture, at Grub Street Bookshop in Fitzroy. A fine time was had by all ushering the book into the world.

The book is the first comprehensive account of how the rise of postwar youth culture was depicted in mass-market pulp fiction. It is the perfect Christmas present for that hard to buy for family member or friend.

Melbourne folk can buy copies of Girl Gangs, Biker Boys, and Real Cool Cats at Grub Street Bookshop, Brunswick Bound bookshop and Sun Books in Yarraville, with other locations to follow soon.

You can order the book online from the following places:

From the publisher, PM Press, here

From Amazon

From Book Depository.

From Booktopia

From Angus and Robertson Online

From Waterstones

Folks in the US who have pre-ordered have started receiving the book. Those in the UK will have to wait a little longer, probably until later in December, early January, to receive their copy.

Those of you who have the book and like it, please don’t forget to spread the word, including rating it on Goodreads and Amazon. If you work in a library, it would be great if you could order the book in.… Read more