Meyer East Gallery

Vintage Pulp Art Magazine Covers

Long before paperback novels, comic books and television Americans had the greatest form of a cheap thrill, the pulp magazine. By bland definition, the pulps were rough-hewn all-fiction periodicals costing from five cents to a quarter; the only hint of their actual, extraordinary nature was visible in the dynamic art that was created for the covers on the magazines.

The artists who created the cover images eventually got it down to a simple formula: one or two figures – preferably one – in a bright dress with a damsel in distress. Publishers worked to apply a semi-scientific approach to choosing the cover paintings, determining what were the consistently best selling, eye-catching, color schemes (red, yellow and black for men’s magazines; blue and green for women’s). The cover paintings were the entire advertising campaign and sales pitch. There was tremendous competition and only several seconds to catch the reader’s eye. On publisher eve had magazine racks installed in his office to view the works and study, which covers, were the most “eye-popping.”

Rapheal DeSoto - Black Mask - Painting - available at Meyer East Gallery
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