Perilous days in the pulps

One thing I love about pulp fiction illustration is that most cover illustrations focus on the heat of the battle, the moment of truth or the impending doom.
These are life changing scenes.
These are times that try men’s souls.
Now take a look at the covers of modern fantasy and crime novels. These illustrations are more stagnant. Rather than showing pivotal moments, these new illustrations give us a careful look at one or two of the main characters.
That’s all well and good, but except in rare instances, the “moment of truth” scenes are more powerful. Not only do they show you what the character looks like, but they project an attitude. Many modern cover illustrations fail to do that. They just show you that, just as the text says, our main character does have black hair and carries a sword with fancy engravings.
I can imagine those on my own. I want more.
I want attitude!

This cover illustration is  Nick Carter, Detective Magazine from April 1936. It included stories titled “The War-Makers,” “Death in the Pines,” Pavement Pounder,” “A Star Twinkles” and “The Murder Trap.”


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