They Also Served: Norman Saunders

Artist & Illustrator

One of the most successful pulp artists of the century (and BOY! Could he do babes!), NORMAN SAUNDERS moved effortlessly from the pulps to paperback illustration. He was born in Minnesota, and took a mail-order art course, which eventually landed him a job at Fawcett Publications from 1928 to 1934. But he left there to go study art under Harvet Dunn at the Grand Central School of Art in New York, with dreams of becoming a freelancer. He succeeded. He had a solid rep for being able to do it all, do it all extremely well, and, even more important, doing it on time. He did westerns, mysteries, detective, sports (his baseball covers–full of weird angles and offbeat perspectives– are especially exciting), weird menace and science fiction (under the name of Blaine). During his heyday, he routinely cranked out over a hundred paintings a year, all of great quality. After World War II, Saunders moved to the burgeoning paperback field, doing covers for Ace, Bantam, Dell, Ballantine, Lion and Popular Library.

Later on, Saunders also did bubbledgum cards, including Batman cards in the sixties (had ’em!), the notorious Mars Attacks series, and Wacky Packs, which lasted through most of the seventies and made millions for Topps.


  • Covers for magazines such as Modern Mechanics, Modern Mechanix, Sports Afield, All Detective, Spicy Mystery, Saucy Movie, Star Western, 10-Story Western, Black Book Detective, Ten Detective Aces, Thrilling Detective, Eerie Mysteries, 10-Story Detective, Dime Detective and even did a couple of Black Masks.Ma Brand’s Western, Detectiver Tales, New Detective
    He also did a ton of covers for paperbacks, mostly westerns, but he did do a few mysteries and detective novels, including Hardboiled America(1981) by Geoffrey Brien, the last book cover Saunders ever completed. He also did covers assorted comic books, including The Crime Clinic.


  • Norman
    A website devoted to Norman Saunders, created by his son David. Includes countless covers for pulp detective magazines and currently the most complete checklist and archive of his work.
  • Dare to Judge This Book
    Some Great Pulp & Paperback Cover Artists
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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