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The Art of Pulp Horror: An Illustrated History

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So often associated with cheapness and low quality, pulp fiction and filmmaking have influenced the way we live for more than a century. Many respected authors and artists worked for the pulp and paperback markets, while films made for the low budget or youth markets are now rightly regarded as classics as they continue to inspire the movies and television we watch today. So often associated with cheapness and low quality, pulp fiction and filmmaking have influenced the way we live for more than a century. Many respected authors and artists worked for the pulp and paperback markets, while films made for the low budget or youth markets are now rightly regarded as classics as they continue to inspire the movies and television we watch today. Profusely illustrated with more than 800 rare and unique images from around the world--including book and magazine covers, interior illustrations, movie posters, comic books, promotional items, tie-ins, and previously unpublished artwork commissioned especially for this book--this handsome volume charts the history of escapist horror and the individuals who created it. Compiled by multiple award-winning writer and editor Stephen Jones, and with a foreword by prolific and acclaimed author Robert Silverberg, this visual history brings together insightful and revelatory commentary from some of the genre's most highly esteemed experts. The Art of Pulp Horror is a stunning and informative guide to how, for over 100 years, we have enthusiastically embraced and exploited the gratuitous and the gory into our popular culture.


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So often associated with cheapness and low quality, pulp fiction and filmmaking have influenced the way we live for more than a century. Many respected authors and artists worked for the pulp and paperback markets, while films made for the low budget or youth markets are now rightly regarded as classics as they continue to inspire the movies and television we watch today. So often associated with cheapness and low quality, pulp fiction and filmmaking have influenced the way we live for more than a century. Many respected authors and artists worked for the pulp and paperback markets, while films made for the low budget or youth markets are now rightly regarded as classics as they continue to inspire the movies and television we watch today. Profusely illustrated with more than 800 rare and unique images from around the world--including book and magazine covers, interior illustrations, movie posters, comic books, promotional items, tie-ins, and previously unpublished artwork commissioned especially for this book--this handsome volume charts the history of escapist horror and the individuals who created it. Compiled by multiple award-winning writer and editor Stephen Jones, and with a foreword by prolific and acclaimed author Robert Silverberg, this visual history brings together insightful and revelatory commentary from some of the genre's most highly esteemed experts. The Art of Pulp Horror is a stunning and informative guide to how, for over 100 years, we have enthusiastically embraced and exploited the gratuitous and the gory into our popular culture.

49 review for The Art of Pulp Horror: An Illustrated History

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael || TheNeverendingTBR

    This remarkable companion to the award winning The Art of Horror and The Art of Horror Movies, from the same creative team behind those acclaimed illustrated volumes, looks at the sexy, sleazy and sensational subject matter in books, magazines, comics and movies, that has helped to shape modern horror. • • This book is brilliant, I could look at it all day, I just love this artwork so much and this book is full of it, along with loads of information on vintage horror movies - some of which I never This remarkable companion to the award winning The Art of Horror and The Art of Horror Movies, from the same creative team behind those acclaimed illustrated volumes, looks at the sexy, sleazy and sensational subject matter in books, magazines, comics and movies, that has helped to shape modern horror. • • This book is brilliant, I could look at it all day, I just love this artwork so much and this book is full of it, along with loads of information on vintage horror movies - some of which I never knew existed until now and now I want to watch all of them, even though 50% probably suck..but still!! 😂......rawr!!! 🧟‍♂️

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    An excellent collection of art (mainly covers and posters) from a wide swathe of pulp publications and movies - but wait, there's more! The reproductions are categorised in chapters, that each begin with a well written essay describing the category, or a specific proponent of that category. To give you an idea of those categories: the book starts with the art found in penny dreadfuls, moves on to the true horror of the restrictive Hays Code, to the emergence of so called "Poverty Row" horror films An excellent collection of art (mainly covers and posters) from a wide swathe of pulp publications and movies - but wait, there's more! The reproductions are categorised in chapters, that each begin with a well written essay describing the category, or a specific proponent of that category. To give you an idea of those categories: the book starts with the art found in penny dreadfuls, moves on to the true horror of the restrictive Hays Code, to the emergence of so called "Poverty Row" horror films, then sliding into drive-in chillers, only to stumble over actual pulp paperbacks, ending up in exploitation films and splatterpunk. There are seperate essays on people like Robert Florey, Margaret Brundage, William "One Shot" Beaudine and William Castle. But we're here for the art, and the selection is varied and beautifully reproduced, each reproduction properly annotated. Also included is recent art by modern artists, generally made on commission. I tend to take a couple of screenshots for a book's review, but in the case of this book I almost could not stop. (Kindly received an ARC from Applause through Edelweiss) A full list of the artists featured in the book:

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    This is a gorgeous book, jam packed with art. However, either my understanding of the word "pulp" is wrong or the title is misleading. Along with book and magazine covers, there are tons of movie posters in this, probably enough to outnumber the books and magazines. This is a gorgeous book, jam packed with art. However, either my understanding of the word "pulp" is wrong or the title is misleading. Along with book and magazine covers, there are tons of movie posters in this, probably enough to outnumber the books and magazines.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jesus Flores

    Art of Pulp Horror Un disfrute ver este libro, y también leer. Toda la explicación que acompaña cada capítulo sobre las distintas épocas de la industria editorial y cinematográfica en cuanto al genero de Horror, fue muy interesante, y los perfiles que acompañaban también. Sin duda he sacado una larga lista de libros, películas y si existen revistas y comics de terror para la lista infinita. Y las portadas, los posters, todo la grafico fue fascinante,, un placer verlo. Y si hay algunas imágenes que Art of Pulp Horror Un disfrute ver este libro, y también leer. Toda la explicación que acompaña cada capítulo sobre las distintas épocas de la industria editorial y cinematográfica en cuanto al genero de Horror, fue muy interesante, y los perfiles que acompañaban también. Sin duda he sacado una larga lista de libros, películas y si existen revistas y comics de terror para la lista infinita. Y las portadas, los posters, todo la grafico fue fascinante,, un placer verlo. Y si hay algunas imágenes que hoy serian controversiales, algunas con justa razón , otras realmente no, pero aun así, te dejan ver las distintas formas de ver el genero y de plasmarlo a través de los medios gráficos. Desafortunadamente al terminar el libro solo queda llorar, y mantener la esperanza de que quizá algún día el horror vuelva a tener un arte digno, algo que diga sin lugar a dudas, esto es horror. 5 stars Reto Sugar 2021 - 38. Un libro sobre arte o un artista.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeff McIntosh

    A companion volume to "The Art of Horror" and "The Art of Horror Movies", Stephen Jones again displays his erudite knowledge of the field, selecting authors for individual chapters including "Penny Dreadfuls", "Pre-Code Horrors", "The Shudder Pulps", and "Pulp Fiction"...... As previous reviewers have remarked, each chapter is full of gorgeous full color scans of movie posters, comic books covers, and paintings.... Overall, a nice addition to the field. Recommended. Jeff Mc A companion volume to "The Art of Horror" and "The Art of Horror Movies", Stephen Jones again displays his erudite knowledge of the field, selecting authors for individual chapters including "Penny Dreadfuls", "Pre-Code Horrors", "The Shudder Pulps", and "Pulp Fiction"...... As previous reviewers have remarked, each chapter is full of gorgeous full color scans of movie posters, comic books covers, and paintings.... Overall, a nice addition to the field. Recommended. Jeff Mc

  6. 4 out of 5

    TKBoss

    THE ART OF PULP HORROR: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY edited by Stephen Jones. Review by Trevor Kennedy. “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.” (Ray Bradbury, quote featured in The Art of Pulp Horror: An Illustrated History) “AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY”. Pay particular close attention to the subtitle of this book as this highly impressive hardback from Stephen Jones and Applause Books is so much more than a collection of artworks - not that THE ART OF PULP HORROR: AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY edited by Stephen Jones. Review by Trevor Kennedy. “There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.” (Ray Bradbury, quote featured in The Art of Pulp Horror: An Illustrated History) “AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY”. Pay particular close attention to the subtitle of this book as this highly impressive hardback from Stephen Jones and Applause Books is so much more than a collection of artworks - not that there’s anything wrong with that, and trust me, the artworks here are legion and indeed stunning - but the devil really is in the detail, with the fascinating written contributions by a classy line up including Jones himself, esteemed science fiction author Robert Silverberg (who provides the Foreword), Sarah Cleary, Richard Harland Smith, Mike Ashley, Gregory William Mank, Barry Forshaw, Lisa Morton, Justin Marriott, Christopher Fowler and Stefan Dziemianowicz, serving as an extremely entertaining history lesson of not just pulp artwork, but the genre (literature, film and that hot potato of censorship) as a whole. Both the words and the accompanying artworks complement each other greatly. I must admit to being a little late to the party with this book series, having not yet read the two previous entries (The Art of Horror and The Art of Horror Movies) but going by the standard of this volume I am sure they are of a similarly high quality and titles now on my “to read” list. To review a book like this and do it full justice is actually somewhat of a tricky task, it being very important not to miss anything out in my overall summing up, so I’ll do my best. First up are, of course, the artworks themselves. As you would expect from a book of this title and Jones’ reputation as an editor, it is chock full of a sublime collection of material from artists past and present and features over 800 paintings, movie posters, magazine covers, horror comic covers, illustrations, digital renderings and other rarities from such names as Les Edwards, Virgil Finlay, Dave McKean, Norman Saunders, Randy Broecker, Graham Humphreys, Mike Mignola, Margaret Brundage, Ed (“Emsh”) Emshwiller, Frank Frazetta and many more. I absolutely love (and always have loved) the explicit, sexually-charged, over-the-top paintings from the golden pulp eras of the last century. They’ve always felt rather naughty and forbidden. They have had their critics, of course, over the years and in the present day, the images often accused of depicting things like exploitation, sadism and misogyny, along with being tasteless and “corrupting the youth”, but they are what they are and certainly cannot, and must not, be ignored (they’re pretty hard to ignore anyway - that was sort of the point!), a massive part of the history of genre fiction. From a technical point of view they are visually breathtaking. I particularly like the practically soft porn work of Margaret Brundage, a young artist and mother who worked for the iconic Weird Tales and who illustrated work for stories by well-known names like Robert E. Howard. The cover artwork by Hy Fleishman for John Christopher’s paperback The Little People never fails to make me smile due to its sheer over-the-top-ness, depicting S&M-loving Nazi leprechauns who reside within an Irish castle! Aside from the wondrous pulp covers for publications such as Weird Tales, Strange Tales, Doc Savage etc, and the EC horror comics and related titles, there is also an abundance of sensationalist (I use that word in the most affectionate and complimentary manner, by the way) Victorian “Penny Dreadful” material, paperback covers (the Pan and Fontana anthologies, for example) and film posters, quite a few of which I’d never even heard of before (The Hot Rod Gang meets the Ghost of Dragstrip Hallow and The Beach Girls and the Monster, anyone?). I also realised while reading The Art of Pulp Horror that I’ve never fully appreciated the sheer vividness of many of the 1970s and ’80s horror paperback covers (many of which are included as well), I think mainly because I was just so used to seeing and reading them growing up in that era. Bring back those spectacular covers, I say! As I stated at the top of this piece, the written material is indeed the icing on a thoroughly enjoyable, and deeply interesting, slice of pulp-flavoured cake, detailing the history of horror from right back to the eighteenth century and the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, through the nineteenth century “Penny Dreadful” era, and into each decade of the twentieth century, penned by a group of professionals who really do know their stuff. Each chapter contains a section dedicated to a specific figure of note from the period from which it addresses too, including the aforementioned Margaret Brundage and king of low budget horror films and gimmicks, William Castle. I must also add that what intrigued me greatly in addition were the details concerning censorship over the years, a topic which has always interested me since childhood, a horror-loving kid growing up during the time of “Video Nasties” and moral busybody Mary Whitehouse. Reading in even more depth about the history of the censorship of art (don’t you just love that word “lurid”?), especially throughout the periods from before I was born, about Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, The Motion Picture Production Code and other incidents of moral panic and hysteria was a joy to behold. In his Introduction, Editor Stephen Jones relays the real-life story from the 1950s where literally hundreds of children gathered in the inner city region of Hutchesontown in Glasgow, Scotland, armed to the teeth with penknives and wooden stakes to hunt down and slay a seven-foot-tall vampire creature, possibly related to a local urban legend, which they believed was responsible for some murders in the area! They really don’t mess around when it comes to the supernatural in Glasgae! The ensuing madness resulted in groups of teachers, religious types and communists (who to me were arguably even more hysterical than the kids and should have known better!) laying the blame squarely at the feet of American horror comics, in particular a story featured in an edition of the publication Dark Mysteries titled “The Vampire with the Iron Teeth”. The “Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act” was then passed in 1955 because of this! Personally speaking, I consider this to be one of the greatest real-life stories I’ve ever heard, and this book is full of facts and information like this, on top of everything else. All in all, The Art of Pulp Horror is indeed well worth purchasing, especially for those of us with even the slightest interest in the genre, art and censorship, for the two main reasons which I have stated already - the artwork contained (naturally) and the written content. So what are you waiting for? Go buy a copy and be corrupted! The Art of Pulp Horror: An Illustrated History is published by Applause Books in hardback and is available to purchase from Amazon and many other outlets.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bill Wallace

    An absolute visual feast of a book, with attention to beautiful, bizarre obscurities in the graphic chronicle of horror as a genre. I can't help feeling that the volume, produced in the UK, is a good deal more cosmopolitan than it would have been as a US publication, which is, to me, one of its great strengths. The wide selection of horror posters from non-English-speaking countries makes the material seem exotic, even when the topics are familiar. Likewise, the wide variety of publication cover An absolute visual feast of a book, with attention to beautiful, bizarre obscurities in the graphic chronicle of horror as a genre. I can't help feeling that the volume, produced in the UK, is a good deal more cosmopolitan than it would have been as a US publication, which is, to me, one of its great strengths. The wide selection of horror posters from non-English-speaking countries makes the material seem exotic, even when the topics are familiar. Likewise, the wide variety of publication covers that are completely new to my eyes makes the book a gateway to wonders previously unseen. I collect older horror paperbacks and the examples from Australia and other countries have given me a bunch of new quest objects to pursue. Apart from the splendid selection of images, the accompanying essays are well written and informative and the captions succinctly explain each image. Absolutely essential for anyone with an interest in the iconography of dark, supernatural media and pretty much guaranteed not to duplicate any collection you may have seen before. Full disclosure: I provided a few images (mostly dinosaurs) for the book and received a contributor's copy but I happily would have bought it on publication.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    Thanks to Edelweiss and Applause Books for the digital review copy of this one. Look. I love weird art. Tattoo inspired art, macabre art, pulp art, it’s all super cool to me. So when I saw this one on Edelweiss, I hit the request button SO fast, and I was not disappointed. I’m not going to lie. I flipped through the entire thing to look at all the art before I read any of the supplementary information, but once I got around to that part, I learned a lot. This book comes from the creators of and is Thanks to Edelweiss and Applause Books for the digital review copy of this one. Look. I love weird art. Tattoo inspired art, macabre art, pulp art, it’s all super cool to me. So when I saw this one on Edelweiss, I hit the request button SO fast, and I was not disappointed. I’m not going to lie. I flipped through the entire thing to look at all the art before I read any of the supplementary information, but once I got around to that part, I learned a lot. This book comes from the creators of and is the companion to The Art of Horror and The Art of Horror Movies, both of which I will be checking out soon. I love how all of these things that were once seen as sleazy, low-budget, and of little worth have found a cult following, and we are now studying them as legit art forms (whether it be the books or movies). The book includes more than 800 rare and unique images from different mediums from all over the world. Can you blame me for looking at them in all their glory first? I’ve always been fascinated by horror, and I’m super glad to learn more about it as a genre and art form. This one came out in August, so if you’re looking for more creepy media to add to your Halloween season, grab this beautiful and weird volume.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Martin Lukanov

    Very highly recommended history of pulpy fiction, both written and visual, and the artwork that is associated with it. Reading this beautifully designed tome with all of the beautiful posters of creature feature flicks and old horror novels, I cannot but feel sad for the sorry state of the contemporary speculative fiction artwork - stale, boring, and super unimaginative.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    So much to gush about here. Old school monsters, artists, performers. Author who got their start being inspired by horror works. A must purchase for me. Highly recommended.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Margaux Tatin Blanc

    fantastic collection of covers and illustration a treasure of information on artists working in the pulp horror and sometimes forgotten A great coffee table book...

  12. 5 out of 5

    April Gray

    Just a gorgeous book. Not only do we get tons of fabulously lurid pulp magazine and book covers, we get movie posters too, and the occasional modern art piece inspired by pulp art. There's also an informative overview of the history of the horror genre over the last couple of centuries plus. If you are even an in-passing horror fan, you should add this book to your personal library! Just a gorgeous book. Not only do we get tons of fabulously lurid pulp magazine and book covers, we get movie posters too, and the occasional modern art piece inspired by pulp art. There's also an informative overview of the history of the horror genre over the last couple of centuries plus. If you are even an in-passing horror fan, you should add this book to your personal library!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Neal Cooper

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dejan Ognjanović

  16. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  17. 4 out of 5

    Andrew McCormick-Johnson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Lincoln

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rick Stoner

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emma Beckett

  21. 5 out of 5

    Robin Bonne

  22. 5 out of 5

    Angel

  23. 4 out of 5

    Evan

  24. 4 out of 5

    libraryfacts

  25. 4 out of 5

    M.E.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie McGarrah

  27. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  28. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katharine

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kester

  31. 4 out of 5

    Chad Brock

  32. 4 out of 5

    Mila

  33. 5 out of 5

    Viggy Hampton

  34. 4 out of 5

    JL Shioshita

  35. 5 out of 5

    Paul Hasbrouck

  36. 4 out of 5

    PamG

  37. 4 out of 5

    Carlton Duff

  38. 4 out of 5

    Liv

  39. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

  40. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  41. 4 out of 5

    Nick Houhoulis

  42. 4 out of 5

    Travis Stephenson

  43. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

  44. 5 out of 5

    Mark Washbush

  45. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  46. 5 out of 5

    Julia

  47. 5 out of 5

    Jackaltroy

  48. 4 out of 5

    Tim A.

  49. 4 out of 5

    Michael Edmiston

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