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

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

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

They Also Served

The greatest contributions to the private eye genre are, of course, the authors and creators who dared to dream of the men and women who would to go down those mean streets, and put it out there for all the world to see. But the genre wouldn't be what it is without those who toiled … Continue reading They Also Served

The Cheaper the Crook

The Crime Films of Elisha Cook, Jr. "... noir's most valuable supporting player." -- Jake Hinkson in Noir Goon Squad "I played rats, pimps, informers, hopheads and communists... I didn't have the privilege of reading scripts. Guys called me up and said, 'You're going to work tomorrow.' " -- Cook recalls the life of a … Continue reading The Cheaper the Crook

It Wasn’t Easy

Mike Hammer Comes to Television "I said, 'This is ridiculous! I mean, you can't take this shit seriously.'" -- Darren McGavin How do you turn the darkly violent, psychologically bruising revenge fantasies of Mickey Spillane's bestselling Mike Hammer novels into a weekly television show? In the squeaky clean surface puritanism of the 1950s? You can't. … Continue reading It Wasn’t Easy