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.
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:
Who was the Spider?
In the 1930s and the 1940s, The Spider was toughest and most ruthless pulp action hero around. His real name was Richard Wentworth and he was a millionaire who, having served in World War I, was determined to wage war on crime back home. What distinguished the Spider from the other pulp heroes of the day was his brand of justice. He was just as willing to kill as his opponents and a typical issue of The Spider featured thousands of casualties. Though each story may have been different, all ended with Wentworth killing the villain and stamping the body with his “spider mark.”
Published on a monthly basis by Popular Press, The Spider ran for 10 years, from 1933 to 1943. If not for World War II and the resulting paper shortage, his adventures probably could have run for another decade.
The majority of The Spider‘s covers were done by either John Newton Howitt or Rafael DeSoto and they were often as violent as the stories found within. This first group of covers were done by John Newton Howitt:
This next batch of covers were all done by Rafael DeSoto, who brought his own unique style to the Shadow’s violent adventures:
The covers below have never officially been credited to either Howitt or DeSoto. They look like they were done by DeSoto to me but I don’t know for sure:
In the 1970s, Pocket Books reprinted four of The Spider’s adventures. The covers of those paperbacks were done by Robert Maguire and, as you can tell by looking below, they attempted to bring The Spider into the “modern” age. Steve Holland served as the model for Maguire’s version of The Spider:
New Spider novels are still being written to do this day and publishers continue to still occasionally reprint The Spider’s adventures. Meanwhile, original issues are widely-sought after by collectors. The Spider lives on!
Two-Fisted Detective Stories was a “true crime” magazine that was published for only two years, from 1959 to 1960. There were a total of ten issues, which all featured the usual violent and sex-filled material that these magazines were famous for. Though Two-Fisted Detective may not have lasted long, it is still remembered for its memorably lurid covers. As you can see below, almost all of these covers had a few elements — cleavage, betrayal, money, and weapons — in common. Unfortunately, I have not been able to discover any of the artists who did these covers. Maybe someone who can answer that question will come across this post.
Here are eight covers from Two-Fisted Detective Stories:
My personal favorites are the girl power covers of July 1959, June 1960, September 1960, and November 1960.
It’s a dangerous world out there and here to prove it is Dime Detective Magazine! Dime Detective was one of the most popular of the classic pulp magazines, running for 274 issues between 1931 and 1953. Dime Detective was known for its outrageous covers. Here’s just a few of them: