notorious-pleasure-palace

notorious-pleasure-palace

club-med

club-med

confessions-of-flame-queen-torture master

confessions-of-flame-queen-torture master

hovercraft-heist-dock casino!

hovercraft-heist-dock casino!

land-crab-commandos

land-crab-commandos

more-nazi-frat-parties

more-nazi-frat-parties

1970 - lost count again

1970 - lost count again

1968 - henchmen don't disco

1968 - henchmen don't disco

1960 - party crashers

1960 - party crashers

1956 - what would Mike Nelson do

1956 - what would Mike Nelson do

In Praise of Pulp

The Art of Mort Kunstler

The magazine rack at the local drugstore. Memories from my childhood in the late 50′s and early 60′s. Illustrated covers on the lower shelves. Screaming titles in bold, bawdy, blazing headlines. MALE… MAN’S LIFE… SAGA!!!

Were these a kind of grown-up comic book? But this was much better! Silly, costumed caricatures talking in word balloons was little kid stuff. This was about real life. These covers were Art. Actual paintings of epic poportion and theme. Dizzying amounts of detail sucking me into a world of  terrible, bullet whizzing, danger and heroism.

Was this the truth about the world out there? Somewhere, during my lunch of grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, Nazis were torturing scantilly clad girls in dungeons? While I played kickball at recess, burly secret agents fought their way across raging rivers filled with hordes of carnivorous turtles?

Artist and illustrator Mort Kunstler did hundreds of covers and inside illustrations for these early ‘Men’s Mags’. Today, Kunstler is famous for his Civil War paintings. But for me his work lives forever in the fevered imagination of that little boy; forever hunched over the bottom shelves of the magazine rack at the back of the local drugstore.

Take your flashlight and laptop under the covers to see much more of Mort Kunstler and other pulp artists at my Flickr gallery: ‘Best Of Pulp’

About the author

James Vaughan was born in 1955, resides in Ohio and has taught at Kent State University. Photographs conceptual and editorial style studio photography. Read more articles by me

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