Tuesday, 24 November 2009

"Classics"

I'm something of a sucker for series of "classic" books, so it was that word that first caught my eye about the Greenleaf Classics from the 1960s and 1970s. Of course, reading the cover blurbs and titles, it quickly became apparent that the word was used so loosely (as in bowels) as to be utterly meaningless, but for a short while I thought I had at least discovered a forgotten source of intriguing cover illustrations that might not have looked out of place on Penguins of the same era...


 
 

 A very short while, as it turned out, as this is the sort of thing that seems more typical of their output:


 
  

To be fair, those are actually quite witty for a sleaze publisher. More typical of Greenleaf's output are these things:

 

Oh, those sexy saucer people. Sorry, I was confused.


 

Yes. Yes, it does.

Even these are positively artistic masterpieces compared to later Greenleaf books, which tended to be called straightforward things like Horny Aunt, and have a tatty softcore photo on the front.

In tracking down these covers, I also discovered a previously unknown (to me) field of exploitation pulp: the Vietnam War pornographic paperback. In retrospect, I should guessed there'd be such a thing--the whole men-in-uniform/sex/violence/war-crimes/brutality/Asian-women-fetish nexus must have been too big a market to ignore.


 
 



10 comments:

Derek said...

I notice the artsy ones are $1.50 versus only $1.25 or even 95 cents for the more overt sleaze. You pays for quality! But obviously there were some talented people behind this operation. The flying saucer book must have been one of those moonlighting science fiction authors who worked for Greenleaf.

JRSM said...

Now we need to see the Greenleaf take on a "bonnet-ripper".

Bob Fingerman said...

Some of those are great. Actually, they all are. I assume you've seen the book Sin-A-Rama (Feral House), a vividly illustrated history of such books. Highly recommended, if only for Robert Silverberg's essay alone.

James said...

So annoyed I can't find a copy of "Killer Queens" for sale anywhere. And that "palace of sin" is going to come up again somewhere, I just know it...

JRSM said...

So to speak. Maddeningly, I know I've seen it in a now closed second-hand bookshop in Adelaide. God knows where all their stock went.

Bob, I'd never even heard of Sin-A-Rama, but I shall be buying it immediately. It looks like a thing of sleazy beauty.

Deb said...

Oh, the slap-dash sleaziness, it burns, it burns! Rex Parker should display some of these over on "Pop Sensation."

Samuel said...

Another wonderful Feral House title is It's a Man's World: Men’s Adventure Magazines, The Postwar Pulps ( http://feralhouse.com/titles/books/its_a_mans_world.php ).

JRSM said...

They do seem like Rex's cup of lurid tea, Deb.

Samuel, I'd not heard of Feral House until Bob told me about Sin-A-Rama. Obviously they're people to pay attention to.

Bob Fingerman said...

It's a Man's World is a great book, and its equal is Taschen's Men's Adventure. I have both and both are definitely worth having. As for Sin-A-Rama, James, you are in for a real treat. I just paged through it three times looking for one cover in specific and it wasn't in there, so now I have a mystery on my hands. But it's a sci-fi one called The Day the Universe Came and I'd love to read it. The cover is great. It's by a very prolific (and well-represented in the book) guy named Robert Bonfils.

Deb said...

Bob--is the alternate title "The Big-Bang Theory"?