Monday, December 26, 2011

Floozies, hoydens, & femmes fatales

One of the titles sums it up succinctly: Bad Sue. The denizens of Dames, Dolls and Delinquents: A Collector's Guide to Sexy Pulp Fiction Paperbacks are most decidedly not the kinds of girls you bring home to mama! These babes lurk in alleys, run riot in gangs, cavort in prisons, and are as likely to pull a stiletto on you as to bestow their favors. Hither and yon they linger lasciviously, their scanty clothing straining against their abundant curves, baring the requisite décolletage and ensuring maximum exposure of their "gams." 
There's so much that's fascinating here, from the names of the books (Miss Kinsey's Report; Tall, Blond, and Evil; Everybody Slept Here) to the piquant facts revealed about many of them. The model for the title at left, for example, was none other than the "notorious" Bettie Page. Fantasy author Marion Zimmer Bradley penned Twilight Lovers under a pseudonym (as did many of the pulp paperback writers and illustrators). Even though it was in a sleazy setting, I was intrigued to see cross-racial taboos challenged in Forbidden Fruit and Swingers in Danger. Many of the covers are quite striking and appealing aesthetically (e.g., A Dame Called Murder). There were many fine artists, and some of them were able to move on to more upscale work. The bottom line is transgression though. You wouldn't believe how many times the word "sin" appears in the titles. Or maybe you would!

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