They Also Served: Norman Saunders

Artist & Illustrator(1907-89)   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 … Continue reading They Also Served: Norman Saunders

Last Night I Shot a Private Eye in My Pajamas…

Groucho Marx, P.I.? Created by Mr. and Mrs. Marx Okay, I'll confess. I'm a big Marx Brothers fan. I remember stumbling into class Monday mornings in high school, all bleary eyed, for what seemed like an entire semester, because CBC-Montreal insisted on running Marx Brothers flicks on the late show every Sunday night. And to … Continue reading Last Night I Shot a Private Eye in My Pajamas…

They Also Served: Richard Lillis

Artist & Illustrator (1899-94)   One of the earlier pulp artists (he was young enough to serve in the first World War), RICHARD LILLIS was born in 1899 in Oxford, New York, the son of dairy farmers who ran a small grocery store on their property. He managed to attend an upstate New York college for … Continue reading They Also Served: Richard Lillis

They Also Served: H.J. Ward

Artist & Illustrator (1909-45)    Despite his short life (he died of lung cancer at the age of 35), HUGH JOSEPH WARD cut a wide swath, responsible for some off the most sensational and iconic pulp mag covers of all time, working for Munsey, Dell and Popular, but mostly for Culture Publication's notorious Spicy line--which … Continue reading They Also Served: H.J. Ward

Dare to Judge This Book

Some Great Pulp & Paperback Cover Artists "... the covers were sometimes printed in advance, before there was a story. So what the editor did was show me the cover or a drawing - it was usually a picture of a half-naked woman and someone stripping the rest of her clothes off her. And on … Continue reading Dare to Judge This Book

Mitchell Hooks

Illustrator (1923-2013)      One of my favorite artists, MITCHELL HOOKS' covers for Bantam's late-seventies reissues of Ross Macdonald's Lew Archer novels acted as the visual counterpoint to my descent into this literary obsession of mine. Imagine my glee to discover that, years later, Hooks illustrated (in a completely different style) another of my favorite … Continue reading Mitchell Hooks

They Also Served: Owen Smith

Artist & Illustrator   Who says they don't do 'em like they used to? Long before Hard Case Crime made it safe for pulp cover art again, San Francisco fine artist OWEN SMITH was keeping the flame alive, through his paintings, illustrations and sculpture. I've been a fan of Smith ever since 1996 or so, … Continue reading They Also Served: Owen Smith

They Also Served: William Gargan

ACTOR, and TELEVISION'S FIRST PRIVATE EYE If WILLIAM GARGAN (1905-79) brought a certain air of authenticity--if not grit--to his numerous roles as a detective, there was a good reason--he'd actually worked as a one at one point in his life. In fact, much of his pre-acting life may have been a contributing factor to whatever verisimilitude … Continue reading They Also Served: William Gargan

Gone Too Soon

They Coulda Been Contenders The hard-boiled highway's jammed with broken heroes who never got a chance. Here are three of the forgotten who could have been contenders... Robert Reeves (1912-45) Creator of private eye Cellini Smith and hard-boiled trucker and "highway detective" Bookie Barnes, this young New Yorker showed promise as a pulp writer, with … Continue reading Gone Too Soon

Urich for Hire

The Private Eye Shows of Robert Urich First of all, let me set the record straight: I don't hate Robert Urich. I am not "spitting on his grave," "disrespecting the man" or being a "jerk wad." But over the years, my general disappointment with the Spenser for Hire TV series--and the casting of actor Robert Urich … Continue reading Urich for Hire