The Artists Who Made Crime Pay
Joe Public’s appetite for low-brow sleaze has long been a safe bet for publishers, and while tales of crime and grizzly murders might now feel more at home in a sophisticated prime-time TV series, it was once the mass market crime magazines that ruled the darker recesses of our imaginations.
Spanning 1924-1969, True Crime Detective Magazines by Eric Godtland and Dian Hanson successfully captures the essence of this golden-age in pulp magazines when their pages were gloriously illustrated by artists such as Al Brule and Robert McGinnis, and boasted the exploits of criminal royalty such as John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde.
The majority of it’s 450 covers (mainly made up of scans from the original covers) betray the genres preference for either femme fatales or femmes in peril, and are a joy for fans of this particular strand of vintage commercial illustration. Like the pin-up magazines of my previous book review, they too seem to lose all charm towards the end of their heyday when photography takes hold, becoming more like the sensationalist and throwaway celebrity dirt magazines we’re all painfully used to today.
That the publishers have collected so many fine examples of cover art (not to mention plenty of interior spreads too) for posterity is a commendable achievement and Godtland and Hanson’s commentary sets the tone and tells their story perfectly. The aptly titled chapter ‘The Artists Who Made Crime Pay’ conveniently lists of the artists involved in their production along with a short bio for those eager to learn more about these outstanding figures of magazine illustration. Recommended.
True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969 by Eric Godtland and Dian Hanson
Paperback 336 pages
27 x 23.3 x 3.1 cm
As 2013 comes to a close and we all look forward to a well-earned break (and time spent with a good book) i’ve taken a look back at this year’s book reviews and compiled the Wing’s Art Top 10 Books of 2013 - a list made up of classic animation, vintage travel labels, comic book […]
Along with Walt Disney, Tex Avery and Chuck Jones, Maurice Noble stands among a group of men who changed the business of animation forever. But unlike Disney’s traditional approach to animation with realistic characters and highly detailed backgrounds, Maurice Noble applied his own sense of modern graphic design (often with creative partner Chuck Jones) to […]
I count myself among a strange breed of pale thirtysomethings – over exposed to TV, horror films, video games and all those other bad things supposed to rot our brains – but specifically amazing film poster art. Born of the home video generation, with daily life coloured by films such as Blade Runner, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, […]
Through his many examples of beautiful vintage movie posters, film historian and collector Ira M. Resnick reveals the history of Hollywood and the leading men and screen goddesses of cinema’s golden-age. From the biographies of silent-era stars such as Louise Brooks and Gloria Swanson, to the personal travel tales as a poster collector, his affection […]
As a life-long animation fan, I fear that the Disney studio is currently stuck in some kind of creative lull. With each new feature I find myself less and less engaged, and have come to the conclusion that it’s all the fault of the homogenizing effect of CGI. While films like Brave and Wreck It […]
When it comes to memorable characters in horror films, few are as heavily referenced and as recognisable as The Bride of Frankenstein. Victim (like the original monster himself) in James Wale’s classic Universal horror, her mixture of hollywood starlet looks, lightning streaked hair and macabre medical bandages make for one of the strongest images in cinema, […]
The award-winning director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, Captain America) introduces Star Wars Art: Concept with an affectionate look back at his early career working as a storyboard artist on the original trilogy. An experimental time where Star Wars wasn’t yet the cultural phenomenon we all now know and a fitting introduction to this new book […]
Star Wars Storyboards prove the prequel trilogy wasn’t all bad. In fact they contained some great ideas and no matter what your opinion might be regarding the Star Wars prequel trilogy, (and i’ve recently re-watched The Phantom Menace and it’s even worse than I thought) this new book by J.W. Rinzler containing the complete storyboards is a fascinating look […]
There are several books written on the subject of fashion illustration with many unfortunately proving to be little more than filler or catalogues of aspiring artists, but there are two in particular that stand out for me as recommended titles. The first being David Downton’s Masters of Fashion Illustration and the second, Cally Blackman’s 100 Years of […]
In a departure from my usual illustration style i’ve recently developed these 12 portraits celebrating some of history’s classic female icons. Ranging from the television comedian Lucille Ball (I Love Lucy) to Hollywood Goddesses such as Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo, these fashion illustrations represent some of the most beautiful and best known […]
With Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer Artist’s Edition, IDW introduced it’s range of high-end books for the comic collector, featuring reproductions of raw artwork from some of the worlds most renowned comic book artists. So acclaimed (and limited) was this first edition of Stevens’ beloved creation that it sold-out within days, leaving die-hard fans (like myself) […]
Robert McGinnis (1926) is an American illustrator best known for his paperback book covers for crime and romance stories written by authors such as Donald Westlake (aka Richard Stark of the excellent Parker books) and the Carter Brown Series. He’s estimated to have illustrated over an amazing 1200 covers and is still working today on […]
Creating the Filmation Generation tells the story of the famous animation studio that coloured the airwaves of the 1980s with its classic Saturday morning cartoons such as Batman, Star Trek, Archie, Flash Gordon and my personal childhood favourite He-Man and the Masters of the Universe! Told by its co-creator Lou Scheimer, the book covers in detail the […]
The 1980s was a fertile time for fantasy movies, delivering classics such as The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, Willow and Ridley Scott’s excellent Legend in 1985. A film with a much darker edge than your average family fare thanks to Ridley Scott‘s gothic fairy-tale visuals, superb character design (and performance from Tim Curry as The Lord […]
The Art of Wreck-It Ralph is the next in Chronicle Book’s excellent behind the scenes series, this time taking a look at Disney’s latest video game inspired feature. Maggie Malone and Jennifer Lee Monn introduce us to Wreck-It Ralph, a Donkey Kong like figure and baddy of the 8-bit era, on a journey to prove himself through all […]
Illustration Friday’s theme of Whiskers led me down the path of Catwoman, and specifically Michelle Pfeiffer’s version of Catwoman from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns. After all the different Batman movies including Christopher Nolan’s excellent trilogy, Batman Returns remains my favourite (I could even say that Michael Keaton is my prefered Batman) with its festively dark atmosphere, […]
A little Thanksgiving special this week with another John Hughes classic, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Probably my favourite of the Hughes movies and a masterpiece of mixed emotions; what an ending! I can’t imagine anyone who could pull of the role off Del as well as John Candy. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving. I’m now taking […]
For the demographic of those around the age of 30, the mention of Jim Henson provokes a warm glow with memories good times spent with The Muppets, The Muppet Babies, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and The Storyteller. I’m still a little astonished to find anyone who doesn’t love (or dare I it say hasn’t seen) […]
A large range of design, illustration and art prints are now available from my online store over at Society 6. Decorate that special space above your desk or bookshelf with posters, framed prints, canvases and cards. You’ll also find iphone skins, tote bags and even t-shirts available in all shapes and sizes featuring my illustration work, […]
Richard Amsel (Dec 1947 – Nov 1985) was an American illustrator and designer particularly well-known for his work during the 1970s and 80s including the first 2 Indiana Jones films, The Dark Crystal and Chinatown. He can easily be counted among the great poster artists such as Drew Struzan and Bob Peak, and his work […]
Illustration Friday’s theme of ‘Tree‘ offered the perfect reason to use John McTiernan’s classic Predator as the next Comic Book Movie. If there’s one film that features a lot of trees this is it! Still up there as one of the most enjoyable and quotable action movies ever made. I’m now taking requests for upcoming […]
Classic Disney fans should feel grateful toward film historian J. B. Kaufman who brings us not one, but two beautiful books on Disney’s groundbreaking animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The first, The Fairest of them All: The Making of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is a large format coffee […]
How can you do a Halloween special without talking about John Carpenter’s brilliant Halloween. A classic that spawned several sequels of mixed quality and a terrible re-make, the original remains one of my all-time favourites and is the last of my Halloween flavoured Comic Book Movies. Happy Halloween everyone! For more Comic Book Movies visit […]
In the second of my Comic Book Movie Halloween specials, I bring you another favourite The Monster Squad. A light-hearted homage to the classic Universal Monsters, Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein and Creature from the Black Lagoon mixed with the teenage adventures of the Goonies. Another absolute classic and perfect Halloween viewing. Enjoy and come back tomorrow […]
The countdown to Halloween starts here with my first of three horror favourites leading up to the fright filled day. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is a classic example of sophisticated horror that manages to get under your skin by the use of clever visual design, music, and ideas; never having to resort to cheap gore or […]
It’s been a busy past few weeks here in the Wing’s Art office. I’ve just put the finishing touches to my first commercial comic book which i will reveal very soon, but i have managed (if not a little last minute) this quick sketch for Illustration Friday’s theme of Book. I offer you one of […]
After what feels like a painfully long wait for a definitive career retrospective on one of America’s best known illustrators, The Art of Bob Peak is finally here and this heavy-weight coffee table book packs it’s near 400 pages full of everything us devoted fans could possibly ask for. Bob Peak is recognised first and foremost […]
Eyvind Earle (April 1916 – July 2000) was an artist and designer whose work at the Disney Studios during the 1950s contributed to some their best-loved features including two of my favourites, Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp. His unmistakable style is particularly evident in Sleeping Beauty with his beautifully designed backgrounds, characters and colour […]
The dust has settled on the release of The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan’s final part of his Batman trilogy and I think it’s safe to say that we all thought it was great; possibly one of the finest movie trilogies of all-time. So a definitive ‘making of’ book would be a welcome read and […]
In a brilliantly overacted performance by Bruce Campbell in a scene from Army of Darkness, Ash spawns a twin! This week’s Comic Book Movie working to the theme of ‘identical’ as set by Illustration Friday, is a more developed drawing than my usual sketches, but i’m pretty pleased with how this one turned out and was […]
Dolph Lundgren’s character in Rocky 4 is more than just tall. Up against little Sly Stallone he looks like a giant! Rocky 4 is this week’s Illustration Friday submission, on the theme of ‘tall’.
Reynold Brown (1917-1991) was a commercial artist best known for his prolific output for movie posters during the 40s, 50′s and 60′s with a portfolio thought to be approaching nearly 300 posters. Although he also worked extensively for magazine and advertising clients, it’s his iconic work for movies such as This Island Earth, Attack of […]
John Hughes 80′s classic The Breakfast Club took a while to grow on me, but is now one of those films that seems to get funnier every time I watch it. There are great one-liners from the character Principle Vernon, played in a brilliant hard-ass fashion by Paul Gleason, who seemed to have reprised this […]
Thinking up something for this week’s Illustration Friday theme of Bounce was surprisingly tough. In my usual style I wanted to link it to one of my favourite movies and my first thought was White Men Can’t Jump. That proved harder to realise than I thought, but the basketball theme lead me rather bizarrely to […]
Friday nights as a youngster for me was all about classic horror. The BBC, for a short but memorable period used to show a brilliant selection of Hammer Horror and Roger Corman movies every Friday night at 10pm and I absolutely lapped it up. Many evenings were spent in company of Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing […]
One of my all-time favorite movies of the 80s The Lost Boys is my Comic Book Movie this week and works to the theme of lost as set by Illustration Friday.
My Comic Book Movie posts each week are made up of a quick brush, pen and ink sketch working to a theme set by the collaborative illustration website, Illustration Friday. Each drawing takes on average 1-2 hours to complete and serve as a great warm-up to get me started for the week, and also serve […]
A Naked Gun Poster illustration from the files of Police Squad! Leslie Nielsen was surely one of the funniest men to have ever lived, and the Frank Drebin character from The Naked Gun movies was a perfect example of his brilliantly deadpan brand of humor. An absolute classic of the Zucker/Abrahams 80′s comedies and an easy […]
John Huston’s Key Largo is one of my favorite of the Bogart and Bacall movies. With our protagonists trapped inside a hotel with a bunch of gangsters and a tropical storm raging outside, it’s a film full of atmosphere and one of the classic noir movies. I wanted to try my hand at a noir […]