Wednesday, 28 November 2007


A book I've had for a while but dug out for another look recently is Pulp: A collector's book of Australian pulp fiction covers, put out by the National Library of Australia in Canberra. It's by Toni Johnson-Woods.

It's a fun little collection, though neither in-depth enough to do more than scrape the surface, nor big enough to give more than a small selection of funky old pulp cover images.

Another missed opportunity is the cover. While it's nice enough, and fits the theme--menacing silhoutted figure in trenchcoat lurks behind femme fatale clutching book in library--it's too obviously a pastiche of the covers within, without looking convincingly like them.

Here are some of the internal spreads to give you an idea of the sorts of images I mean. Again, forgive the photographs, but this is another book I'm not crushing in my scanner.

And yes, that is Bettie Page at the bottom right there--it strikes me as odd that she should show up on the cover of an Australian crime novel, but there she be.

For an example of how an original pulp illustration might have been used on the cover of Pulp instead, here are two examples.

There's a good summary article about Australian pulps by Johnson-Woods here, and more here.

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