The Shocking Covers of Spicy Adventure Stories


Artist Unknown

For nine years, from 1934 to 1943, Spicy Adventure Stories tempted pulp readers with adventure stories that featured a lot more sex and violence than even the usual pulp magazine.  The covers of Spicy Adventure were shocking and frequently sordid and they left no doubt as to what readers would find within the magazine.

They also worried a lot of the moral guardians of the time and, finding itself under attack as a bad influence, Spicy Adventure Stories ceased publication into 1943 and was instead reborn as the more socially acceptable “Speed Adventures.”  The magazine still featured stories about cults, pirates, and explorers but now, they were a little less explicit and the covers was a little more calmer.

Below are some of the controversial covers of Spicy Adventure Stories!  As always, the artist has been credited when known:

by Delos Palmer

by Harry Lemon Parkhurst

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by William Soare

by William Soare

 

The Controversial Covers of Spicy Mystery Stories


by Delos Palmer

Spicy Mystery Stories was published from 1934 to 1943 and was one of the many “Spicy” magazines of the pulp era.  The Spicy line featured the same stories as the other pulps, just with a lot more sex and violence.  It was a popular magazine but it was also so controversial with the moral guardians of the era that it was eventually forced to tone things down and change its name to Speed Mystery.

Below are some of the controversial covers of Spicy Mystery Stories!  As always, the artist has been credited when known:

by Allen Gustav Anderson

by Allen Gustav Anderson

Artist Unknown

by Harry Lemon Parkhurst

by Harry Lemon Parkhurst

by Harry Lemon Parkhurst

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

The Many Adventures of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective!


Hollywood could be a dangerous place and no one understood that better than Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective!  Turner was a hardboiled detective who made his first appearance in a 1934 issue of Spicy Detective.  Turner proved to be so popular that he not only continued to appear in Spicy Detective but he also got his own magazine.  Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective ran from 1942 to 1950 and featured Turner solving cases involving directors, producers, stuntmen, and starlets.  In fact, the stories often featured details about the infamous “Hollywood casting couch,” which made Turner’s adventures both popular and controversial in the 40s.

Here are a few of the covers of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective!  Where known, the artist has been credited:

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Joe Szokoli

The Shocking Covers of Super-Detective


by Hugh Joseph Ward

From 1940 to 1943, Super-Detective Magazine kept the world up-to-date on the adventures of Jim Anthony.  Anthony was a crime fighter, described as being “half-Irish, half-Indian, and all-American.”  Much like contemporary pulp heroes like Doc Savage, Phantom Detective, and the Shadow, Jim Anthony fought gangsters, saved damsels in distress, and even thwarted a few spies.

As you might be able to guess by looking at the covers below, the adventures of Super-Detective were, for the time, considered to be very racy.  There was a greater emphasis on both sex and violence.  As opposed to chaste and stoic heroes like Doc Savage, Jim Anthony was frequently very emotional and very flirtatious with his clients.  Still, Jim Anthony did what had to be done to fight crime and keep America safe.

Here are a few of the covers of Super-Detective!  Where known, the artist has been credited.

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

by Harry Lemon Parkhurst

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Robert Maguire

The Covers of Private Detective Stories


by Harry Lemon Parkhurst

Private Detective Stories ran from 1937 to 1950 and, over the course of 134 issues, it shared stories of betrayal, murder, and detectives.  The content was no different than what could be found in countless other pulp magazines of the era but, as you can tell by looking below, the covers were surprisingly violent even by the standards of the pulps.

Here’s just a covers from Private Detective Stories.  As always, the artist has been credited when known.

by Allen Gustav Anderson

by Allen Gustav Anderson

by Harry Lemon Parkhurst

by Harry Lemon Parkhurst

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

Unknown Artist

The Fast Covers of Speed Mystery


Speed Mystery was one of the many magazines of the pulp era that specialized in violence, sex, and crime.  It was originally called Spicy Mystery Stories and was first published in 1934.  It was popular at the time but, after nine years of being known as Spicy, the title was changed in 1944 to Speed Mystery.  The new, more sedate title was probably meant to placate the moral guardians of the time but the magazine’s content remained the same.  Under the title Speed Mystery, the magazine ran another 2 years, publishing its final issue in 1946.

Here are a few of the covers of Speed Mystery.  When known, the artist has been credited.

by Allen Gustav Anderson

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

by Hugh Joseph Ward

The artist or artists responsible for the rest of these covers is unknown.  If I had to guess, I’d say the majority of them were done by Hugh Joseph Ward, as well.  However, I can’t say for sure: