In many parts of the country, this week and next will be “back to school week,” so to help everyone get prepared for another academic year, here are some classic paperback covers from the past.
James Bond wasn’t the only secret agent saving the world in the 60s! There was also Trevor Anderson, a.k.a. Agent 0008. Anderson worked for SADISTO and, from 1965 to 1968, his adventures were recorded by Clyde Anderson. There were 20 paperbacks about Agent 0008 and, as you can tell from the covers below, his missions were often on the racy side. Agent 0008 didn’t just save the world. He also had a good time doing it. Though the Agent 0008 novels were only published for three years, they are now eagerly sought by collectors. On Amazon, some of them are being sold for as much as $500.
Unless otherwise noted, the covers below are credited to Robert Bonfils:
G-8 was a heroic aviator and spy during World War I. For 11 years, from 1933 to 1944, G-8 starred in his pulp magazine, G-8 And His Battle Aces. Because G-8 was an aviator, he had several adventures like this:
However, the majority of G-8’s adventures were more like this one:
G-8’s adventures were outlandish even by the standards of the pulp era. Below are the covers for some of his most spectacular adventures. Though I’m not a 100% sure, I think all of these covers can be credited to Frederick Blakeslee.
With Independence Day approaching, it’s time to honor Jimmy Christopher. Jimmy was an agent for United States Intelligence, cod-named Operator #5. From 1934 to 1939, Jimmy kept America safe from its enemies as the star of the 10-cent pulp magazine, Secret Service Operator #5. Today, Secret Service Operator #5 is best-remembered for two things: a 13 issue arc in which Jimmy became a freedom fighter after America was conquered by the Purple Empire (a thinly-veiled stand-in for Nazi Germany) and a series of exciting, patriotic covers.
Unless otherwise noted, the covers below are all credited to John Newton Howitt:
Johnny Dekker was a private investigator who starred in 13 pulp paperbacks in the late 40s. Though the paperbacks were published in Britain, they were written in the “American style” and one thing that is obvious from looking at the covers is that Johnny was good with a gun and always had a femme fatale nearby.
Though he wasn’t credited on the covers, the Johnny Dekker novels were written by British comic book artist, Mick Anglo. Anglo was unique in that he not only wrote the paperbacks but he also drew the covers as well. Here, courtesy of the imagination of Mick Anglo, are some of the many adventures of Johnny Dekker. My personal favorite is Nuts To Nylon:
Running from 1939 to 1953, Two Complete Detective Books promised its readers a “$4.00 value for 25 cents!” Each issue would feature two complete novels and each issue would also have two cover illustrations, the better to entice readers who wanted to read the best pulp fiction without having to pay full price.
There were 76 issues of Two Complete Detective Books. The covers below were all done by George Gross:
The covers below have not been officially credited to George Gross but they all look like his work to me. Officially, these covers were done by an “unknown artist” but I’m about 99% sure that they were probably done by Gross as well:
North-West Romances was a pulp magazine that was published, by Fiction House, from 1938 to 1953. Like many pulp magazines, North-West Romances featured stories that combined adventure with romance. Much like Ranch Romances, the majority of the stories in North-West Romances could be classified as westerns except, instead of taking place in the Wild West, they took place in the Northland, the famous Yukon area of Canada. Instead of walking along dusty trails, the heroes in North-West Romances trudged across frozen tundra. Instead of being ranchers, they were often gold prospectors. Often times, the only thing standing in the way on the path to true love was a grizzly bear.
The covers for North-West Romances all featured typical western situations, reinterpreted for the Yukon. Among the those who provided covers for the magazine during its run were notable pulp artists like George Gross, Norman Saunders, and Allen Gustav Anderson. Below are just a few example of their work: