Vintage Men's Mags #9: More Inside Art

I remember watching a documentary on the so-called "low brow" art movement, and what stuck out to me was that the low brow artists were the ones who really mastered their craft; whereas, the mainstream art crowd really didn't have the basic skills (paint technique, human anatomy, etc.).  In other words, guys that could paint compelling, realistic, dynamic and skillful pieces of art were (and may still be) regarded as "low brow". Whereas, the true "arteests" were taking dumps on carpet squares and calling it high art.

This would seem to apply to the pulp artists of mid century who rarely even got credited for their work.  Let's face it, the illustrations were what got people to buy the rags, not the articles.  They were titilating and violent, but at the same time skillfully crafted.  There's no denying the covers were brilliant.... if they werent, books and blogs wouldn't still be talking about them sixty years later.  But, what often gets overlooked are the black and white art between the covers.

With a limited color palette and cheap paper (i.e. pulp) to work with, the artists were seriously limited from the outset.  Add to that, the need to incorporate text and a need to live up to the outlandish titles (no room for subtlety here), and you've got yourself a difficult piece of art to create.... on a very unforgiving deadline!  But what really has hurt the ongoing respect for the interior art is THE STAPLES!

Nine times out of ten, the interior artworks were spread across two pages, resulting in a crease, staple, and off-alignment in the center.  Sounds minor, but it's a bitch to scan (especially considering the original artwork is generally long gone).  Thus, the inerior art is not only less eye-catching, but also with noticeable defects.

Anyway, I've rambled on enough about this.  Time to spread some lovin' for the art between the covers.  Enjoy!

click on images to enlarge

private eye 1959


  1. I love the graphics from back then. The old True Life, (I think that was the name) mags and the other "scandal" mags had similar drawings. Guess I'm giving away my age! Zootsuitmama

  2. Just a little sub-comment on your comment above concerning true "arteests" creating high art by crapping on carpet; A post I found at another site concerning Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec...


  3. Thanks for these scans!
    Great work inside... and wonderful titles overall!