On this week’s show we interview Penerotic, a traditional illustrator who creates comics, pinups and other forms of art. One might say he marries the great women-in-peril pulp art tradition with the whimsy of Hannah-Barbera. More importantly, Penerotic stands out by standing up for the value of free artistic expression.
For all of you around the world who are today sheltering and distancing, a tasty pulpy treat, a faithful (down to the yellowing of the paper on which it was printed!) recreation by the artist Penerotic of an interior illustration that appeared in the Winter 1944 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. You can learn more about the issue and its contents in this post. You can follow Penerotic on Twitter at @penerotic, on Instagram at @penerotica and if you like his art like me, you can also support him on Patreon.
Please do not alter or reproduce the recreation above without consent of the creators. Thank you and stay well!
Planet Stories, which had a run from 1939 to 1955 usually didn’t skimp on the sexy for its covers either, and this one painted by pulp great Frank Kelly Freas (1922-2005) is no exception, what with its flaming redhead in her skin-tight cleavage-revealing armor being menaced by…something.
A piece of interior artwork, illustrating Gordon R. Dickson’s story “The Man the Worlds Rejected,” neatly seems to marry the space babe with the hot librarian.
Print that out on cardstock and you’d have a very nifty bookmark. The illustration is, sadly, uncredited.
The fantasy and sci-fi magazine Imaginative Tales had a run from 1954 to 1958, and while it was often fairly cheesecakey (“Devastating H-Bomb redhead ‘Toffee'” was an imagined character living inside the head of a fictional protagonist) it would go on to feature original fiction by Robert Bloch, Philip K. Dick, Robert Silverberg and Harlan Ellison. Not too shabby, if you ask me. Toffee was illustrated by pulp great Harold McCauley, who also drew some racy sketches for the back pages:
We’ve done a lot of liquid girls here at Erotic Mad Science, so why not some liquid man? Especially if there’s some imperiled dame tied up in the background? This cover of the September 1941 issue is by Robert Fuqua. Interior art could be a bit thin in some issues of Fantastic Adventures, but this illustration to John Broome’s story “The Pulsating Planet” is pretty dynamic:
This is work (probably) by Albert Magarian (unk.-1991), the husband of the unfortunate Florence Magarian whom we met a few posts back. My “probably” in attribution is because husband and wife were very close collaborators, so this work might reflect contributions by Florence as well. (And I must reflect that Albert lived on for 31 years after Florence died in a mental institution. I…)
Florence Lillian See graduated Polytechnic High School in Los Angeles and attended the Otis Art Institute, where she met and married Albert Ararat Magarian on May 25, 1937, in Los Angeles. During the 1940s the Magarians worked as interior artists for magazines published by Ziff-Davis Productions in Chicago. Constant fear of losing her husband to service in World War II and the demanding workload of their career caused Florence to suffer a nervous breakdown. She spent the rest of her life in and out of the mental institution at Alton, Illinois, where she passed away in 1960.
Many artists have sad life stories, but this one struck me as unusually poignant.
Comet was another short-lived magazine (five issues in 1940 and 1941) that, unlike A. Merritt’s did not tend to attract top-of-the-line talent. Nonetheless this March 1941 cover by Leo Morey hints at the tube girl meme, and interior art by the very obscure Michael Mirando hints at…tentacles?
A. Merritt’s Fantasy Magazine was a very short-lived venture in speculative fiction publishing — the ISFDB discloses only five issues published in 1949 and 1950, but it sure managed to publish some splendid art. This tube-girl cover painting on the October 1950 cover was done by the great Norman Saunders, and an interior illustration to Elinor Cowan Stone’s story “The Devil-Fish” has an illustration by Virgil Finlay.
Menace was a prominent theme in the April, 1951 issue of Fantastic Adventures, especially on this cover by Harold McCauley. A version with more vivid colors (but smaller) can be found at the issue entry at the Internet Speculative Fiction database:
The menace continues with interior artwork by Henry Sharp (1912-2005), illustrating E.K. Jarvis’s story “A Matter of Principle.”