I’ve been the Evil Geeks curator for all things pulp. It’s a genre that I find unwaveringly fascinating. I think what I like the most about it is the adventure element of that era. Jim Steranko’s Raiders Of The Lost Ark concept art sums up visually what it is about it that makes me love it so much. When I first stumbled upon the men’s adventure magazines of the 1950’s and 60’s it was like finding a time capsule full of everything that made the genre great.
The magazine covers are full of absurd art with many reoccurring themes. Rugged men battling animals, scantily clad women captured and ready to be sacrificed deep in the jungle, nazi mad men torturing anyone that can get their hands on, aloof cowboys, war scenes etc. It’s all a bit gonzo in the best possible way. The headlines and the titles of the magazines are another thing you can marvel at. Many of these publications are incredibly sexist and obviously targeted for the men of the era so you certainly have to take it all with a grain of salt.
It has since become a bit of a hobby for me to track down these covers. I just find them endlessly entertaining and the amount that exist is staggering. So strap yourself in and get ready to go back in time as I share some of my favorites with you.
When it was announced that Alex Maleev would be the artist for the new Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. miniseries, I knew Dark Horse had a winning combination. The title is set in the early days of the Bureau and chronicles Hellboy’s first mission with them. A vital portion of his history which had been undocumented until now. Mike Mignola continues to expand and add considerable depth to the Mignolaverse and based on the covers for issue #2 and #5 presented here, Maleev proves that he was the perfect choice as a collaborator.
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I fell in love with this cover the first time I came across it. I had no idea who Valkyrie was or what she was returning from. All I knew was it was gorgeous Jim Steranko painted art chuck full of everything that appeals to me about the pulp genre. Turns out this cover was for a trade collecting the first five issues of the mid 1980’s rebirth of the Golden Age comics character Airboy.
Biff is taking you back in time (as if you would expect anything else?). We’re going to a quieter and more simple time…1990, before things really got out of control. Today, I’m reviewing a classic, Uncanny X-Men #268 by long time X-Men scribe Chris Claremont and rising Marvel star artist, Jim Lee. This was an issue that tends to be singled out often in Claremont’s legendary run that I hadn’t read or at the very least hadn’t read since I was a little kid. So I figured, why the hell not?
Yesterday, in celebration of our nation’s independence from those tea-taxing Brits I reread the very first appearance of Marvel’s star-spangled Avenger. And, since I’m a red-blooded American man, I love me some violence! Now, we’re all familiar with the iconic cover of this issue, upon which Captain America knocks the piss out of Hitler:
A few years ago, Marvel introduced a line of noir stories taking place outside of current Marvel continuity. Most of these were dark gritty 1940’s reimaginings of popular characters like Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Punisher and even the X-Men. Iron Man Noir decided to take a different approach and lean more heavily on pulp aesthetic rather than noir and honestly, it’s a much better book because of it.
Released in 2010 as a 4 issue miniseries it contains some of the first comic book work of famed Batman scribe, Scott Snyder. Tony Stark is transformed into a Doc Savage/Indiana Jones type adventurer searching for mystical artifacts all over the world that could possibly cure his ailing heart condition. Able to finance these quests because of his vast wealth, Tony has them chronicled for a men’s adventure magazine which has made him into an international celebrity.