Monday, May 18, 2009

Leslie’s Weekly, 1917-07-12

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Up tonight, an issue of Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, a magazine I really don’t know too much about beyond the fact the magazine carried a number of famous patriotic covers by James Montgomery Flagg during WWI. Here’s the wiki for Leslie's.

When the original Frank Leslie died in 1880, his wife took over until she sold the magazine to the Judge publishing company in 1889. Michael Ward has some nice Leslie's covers up at his awesome site, which you can see HERE. Even if you like what I’m doing with my scans but don’t see yourself taking the time to scan entire magazines, you can send this site your covers. A single gathering place for cover art offers great possibilities for preserving American art and illustration.

But back to our cover artist, James Montgomery Flagg, no doubt most well known for his Uncle Sam - I WANT YOU!. I have to admit I don’t really care for the stern nature of his Uncle Sam, but there is no debating the power or weight in his eyes and features. At his peak, Flagg was supposedly the highest paid illustrator in America and his career spanned decades and all manner of publications. Bud Plant has a nice page featuring a good bio and some of his more playful work on his superb illustration site here.

Flagg gets a whole page devoted to his art in this issue of Leslie's. He was selling a lot of posters for Judge and helping the war movement at the same time.

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This mag is almost all WWI material, and no wonder, this is the height of America’s mobilization to war. After pussyfooting around for long enough, Americans are finally setting foot in Europe. Having witnessed the US in my lifetime jump into one country after another, I’ve always wondered at how hesitant we were to get involved in the world wars, but hopefully I’ll never have to know the anxiety of watching the big boys start lining up against one another

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After looking at many photos of young men about to be sent into bloody battle and reading of news from the trenches, it was nice to instead ponder a miracle food, the banana. Self-packaged, cheap, and yummy, truly a wonder…

Anywho, enjoy the scan which you can find Here. I’m not 100% happy with my work on this issue because I think I weakened the font in making this dirty old mag presentable. Yet, scanning old paper is a balancing act, and you just can’t trust a scanner that thinks they get it right every time. There’s only another some 3500 issues of this mag on which to further experiment, heh heh. Cheers!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

TV People, December 1955

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Something a little different for me today, here’s an issue of a TV personality publication from the stable of Martin Goodman from December of 1955. Not my usual cup of tea, but a pal was kind enough to raw this mag for me, and it’s really a pretty fun peek at the early days of television celebrity. The nostalgia factor is a big part of the scanning phenomenon and I would guess that this magazine will bring back lots of memories for some peeps a bit older than I.

You can get the full scan here along with more issues courtesy of McCoy, as this is one of his pet titles.

I’ve got no particular insights on this magazine except to note that this was a period in which tabloid/scandal mags were very popular and in which mags like Confidential were under fire for going too far with their exposes. Jerry Lewis in this issue talks about how gossip has adversely affected his marriage. This mag seems fairly innocuous in content and not that sensational.


Samples. Liberace seems to make for good print in this era, as he is all over the entertainment mags. I just have to put up a picture of him with gun and goofy hat

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Clubbin with Ronnie! I’ve heard so many crazy rumours about Reagan’s party days with absolutely no idea if they are true or not. I’d say Ronnie might have eked in just before the media went all no holds barred…

Lou at the track

Cheers and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Love Story, March 10 1934

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Here’s an older scan and post, but I’ll take a chance to rehash it because yardwork and the end of the school year are eating my typing time, heaven forbid. For this scan, I decided to take a look at a genre of pulp that is the cheapest of the cheap, the lowest of the low – the romance pulps. Romances seem to be even less desirable than Westerns in terms of collectability, but I have to say this issue of Love Story Magazine was a fun read.

It starts with a stunning cover by Modest Stein. I love this scene – it's a natural moment between a young man and a woman caught off guard in a gust of wind. Definitely romantic. Stein's covers really appeal to me, and I think he's a master of the form. With just a single frame, he sets up a whole inviting world. Some of his covers are just so full of detail that he is able to establish intricate scenes in a mere nanosecond. The expressions on the player's faces, the mood, the little objects, and the atmosphere all combine to suggest an entire story. I've gotten a few of these Love Stories with Stein covers and will provide some more examples of his work when I'm in the mood for love.

I guess interest in the pulps is just an area dominated by men these days. A lot of the most valuable pulps (and this is absolutely not meant to be offensive to any of you collectors out there) seem to be the pulps that sport covers that are sensational, "spicy", and perhaps a bit exploitative. There is the notion that the pulps are solely men's magazines, but I don't think that is necessarily the case. The pulps certainly must have appealed to women, too, as the number and scope of romance pulps produced is staggering (and this is not to say that there isn't plenty in SF and Western and other pulps that would have appealed to women as well). Unless I'm mistaken, Love Story Magazine was the most popular pulp of all time in terms of numbers sold.

So what's in these romances? When I think of the modern romance novel, I think of one of those cheap paperbacks at the grocery store with some Fabio-looking dude ripping his shirt off on the cover. The other thing I think of when hearing the term "romance" would be something like the romantic comedies that Hollywood is so fond of making (not my favorite genre but certainly comedy works very well with romance and a good romantic comedy, though seemingly rare, can be quite the find). The stories in this pulp aren't really like either of those, as the content isn't too racy (as far as sex goes), and the stories certainly aren't meant to be comedy per se. Most of these stories seem to involve a young maiden having to choose between a pair of men and maneuver about the social customs of society and courtship. Often, the woman makes some sort of discovery that the seemingly more desirable guy (the stable, rich one most often) is in fact the lesser man than the poor guy that's been vying for her attention all along. There's certainly some taboo topics just in the background of many of these stories – rape, suicide, loose morals, and love of married men to name a handful, and the stories certainly contain a fair amount of insight into apparently antiquated systems of romance.

The one story I liked above the others would be "Going Primitive" which despite its turn-on-a-dime type ending (which these stories seem to do quite often), has a pretty neat plot that makes for good drama. I also enjoyed the first story, "Extra Sheer," for its bizarre usage of a wax museum and the surprise turn at the end of "The Love Pawn". "Two in Love" made me chuckle a bit as well with some metaphorical language that seems to veer in to the hot-and-heavy territory. Most of these stories end with a kiss and there are some all-too-sudden realizations of eternal love, but overall I admit I enjoyed this pulp despite it's not-so-manly nature.


Scan of this issue of Love Story



And in case I'm getting too mushy, this weeks uber-gross study in c2c:

P.S. I scanned this a good while ago and it remains the only romance pulp scan I've seen. I've got more romances in my scan pile, but I'd be thrilled if some of the scanners out there would throw a little mercy in the direction of these love pulps. They are wholly deserving of some modern attention, and the reprint houses certainly can't be counted on to reproduce this type of pulp...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Frontier, May 1926

An old scan but one of my favorite mags I've had the fortune to scan thus far, an absolutely fantastic cover from William Reusswig adorns the cover of this charming pulp title.

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I love the colors here and the iconic image of the lone paddler, I think it's very meditative.

At this time the pulp was a nice big, bedsheet-size and full of stories of cowboys with three columns and profuse illustration. It ran as a bedsheet for nine issues between November 1925 until the August issue of 1926 when it would return to a smaller format and become Frontier Stories which Fiction House would publish for many years. When I look for this pulp, it seems like the earlier issues aren’t that common but that the 40s issues with a girl in distress in the GGA style of the day are around in greater numbers.


I really enjoyed the first story in this issue, a tale of pirates and treasure, loyalty and deception, and attacks and counterattacks. This lively tale is enriched by all of the illustrations. I love the little illustration for the beginning letters of some of the paragraphs. They are something of a snapshot of what is happening in the story and add to the atmosphere. Or the inclusion of the island’s map is a great touch. It's a shame that illustration has dropped out of so much of today's fiction and the trend is likely to get worse with some of the text only e-formats in heavy use. Samples. The splash for for the first story, “The Devil’s Cauldron”

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The scan is Here. Enjoy!