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The Art of Pulp Fiction: An Illustrated History of Vintage Paperbacks chronicles the history of pocket-sized paperbound books designed for mass-market consumption, specifically concentrating on the period from 1940 to 1970. These three decades saw paperbacks eclipse cheap pulp magazines and expensive clothbound books as the most popular delivery vehicle for escapist fiction. To catch the eyes of potential buyers they were adorned with covers that were invariably vibrant, frequently garish, and occasionally lurid. Today the early paperbacks--like the earlier pulps, inexpensively produced and considered disposable by casual readers--are treasured collector's items.
Award-winning editor Ed Hulse (The Art of the Pulps and The Blood 'n' Thunder Guide to Pulp Fiction) comprehensively covers the pulp-fiction paperback's heyday. Hulse writes the individual chapter introductions and the captions, while a team of genre specialists and art aficionados contribute the special features included in each chapter. These focus on particularly important authors, artists, publishers, and sub-genres.
Illustrated with more than 500 memorable covers and original cover paintings. Hulse's extensive captions, meanwhile, offer a running commentary on this significant genre, and also contain many obscure but entertaining factoids. Images used in The Art of Pulp Fiction have been sourced from the largest American paperback collections in private hands, and have been curated with rarity in mind, as well as graphic appeal. Consequently, many covers are reproduced here for the first time since the books were first issued.
With an overall Introduction by Richard A. Lupoff, novelist, essayist, pop-culture historian, and author of The Great American Paperback (2001).
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