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
Don’t cut your hair, don’t grow up, do stay up late and party on with Wing’s Instant Rocker! A huge collection of heavy metal vector icons, banners, illustrations and design elements taking inspiration from the world of tattoos, roller derby, Saturday morning cartoons and most importantly, HEAVY METAL! Featuring a wide variety of classic rock iconography […]
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 […]
A brief glimpse around the Wing’s Art website reveals that i’m more than a little enamoured by Art Deco design. From its architecture, to furniture and jewelry, few other artistic movements have had such a lasting impact on the creative industries and continue to inspire today. Books on the subject are plentiful, and along with some […]
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, […]
While living and working in a remote part of the Somerset countryside has its advantages, suitable venus to acquire that all important art training via life-drawing are few and far between. Rian Hughes rubs this in with his new book, Soho Dives, Soho Divas: Rian Hughes Sketches London’s Burlesque Artistes, a collection of sketches and more […]
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, […]
Towering above all others in the land of the comic book gods stands Frank Frazetta, a powerhouse of science-fiction and fantasy art, sadly no longer with us, but whose work remains as popular and sought-after as ever. The Frazetta Sketchbook is a welcome addition to the collections of available work, offering a previously unseen look at the […]
Taking inspiration from surf culture through the ages comes Surfer Dude! Decals and Stickers. A set of six fully editable logos and badges with pre-set text paths allowing you to create your own cool surf logos – with the added bonus of a specially designed cutter guide for those lucky enough to own vinyl sticker […]
Save $8 on the individual purchase price with the Epic 1950s Retro Bundle! Containing all three 1950s inspired image collections including the best-selling Background and Frames, Seamless Patterns and stylish Badges, you’ll never need for vintage retro style again! Package Includes: 1. 1950s Diner Backgrounds and Frames - Six background designs - Bits and Pieces File […]
Taking inspiration from the retro style of the 1950s storefront comes this set of six, fully editable vector badges and logos. Each is supplied in 3 versions – colour, black and white and minimal, allowing for various uses across all kinds of media. All files are provided with preset text paths in their native Illustrator AI (CC) […]
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 […]
Robert Maguire (Aug 3rd 1921 – Feb 26th 2005) was an American illustrator synonymous with the world of pulp fiction producing over 600 covers for paperbacks and magazines during a prolific career spanning the 1950s – 1980s. Only a few of his contemporaries (artist’s such as Charles Copeland and Rudy Nappi) could match his ability […]
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 […]
Brand new from The Book Palace is the quarterly magazine Illustrators. A first of its kind for the UK in that it focuses purely on the work produced by commercial artists and illustrators of Europe. Following a very similar format to the already well established and popular USA based Illustration Magazine, it offers articles, interviews […]
Coby Whitmore (1913-1988) was an American lifestyle illustrator whose prolific output working at the Charles E. Cooper studio was used in advertising for top brands of the 1940s and 50s and featured in magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, McCalls and Cosmopolitan. He was counted among the top illustrators in this field along with fellow […]
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 […]
Released this month by Abrams ComicArts in conjunction with The Oakland Museum exhibition of the same name is The Art of Daniel Clowes; Modern Cartoonist. A career retrospective on the artist, writer and creator of some of the worlds best-loved comic books including The Death Ray and Ghost World. The latter of which, under the […]
Few other designers permeate the creative world quite like Saul Bass (1920-1996). Ask any Designer/Illustrator to name their influences (especially those among the new wave of minimalist movie posters) and you’ll almost certainly hear his name. So it comes as a surprise that this is the first biography and career retrospective of this most prolific […]
“Advertising has gone from something that reflects popular culture to becoming a part of popular culture, from something that’s influenced by popular entertainment to being popular entertainment.” – Jimmy Siegel. If, like the rest of the television viewing public you’ve been seduced by the sexy and sophisticated world presented in the excellent HBO series Mad […]
Ever wondered what a zombie on a skateboard might look like? Coming soon to a T-Shirt near you is my brand new illustration for Live Over Board, an up-and-coming extreme sports company based in Jacksonville, Florida! I was commissioned to produce this illustration as part of their new range of T-Shirts covering all aspects of […]
I’ve been trying to get my hands on one of IDW’s coveted Artist’s Editions ever since the series started with The Rocketeer by Dave Stevens (one of my all-time favourite comic book artists) and I’m still looking for a copy. But given the highly limited print run of only 300 copies, it demands a hefty […]
There’s a conversation between the characters Cher and Josh in the movie Clueless about how Marky Mark (aka Mark Wahlberg) would like to use his popularity for a good cause. My intention was to use that as the basis for my Illustration Friday sketch this week. It didn’t quite work out so I give you […]
1965 saw the release of Ugly Stickers. A series of grotesque creature creations from Topps, illustrated by the great American Artists Basil Wolverton, Wally Wood and Norman Saunders. Each popular for their work in venues such as Mad Magazine, Marvel Comics, Pulp Paperbacks and the Mars Attacks! series of trading cards. Later came Slob Stickers […]