Gil Cohen’s illustration for a 1966 Male magazine story, “Detective William Clive--Is He the Real James Bond?” by Roland Empey (aka adventure writer Walter Kaylin).
For most of this past year, a blogger who signs himself Subtropic Bob has been developing the Web site Men’s Pulp Mags. He focuses there on “men’s adventure magazines of the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s--sometimes called men’s pulp magazines, the ‘men’s sweats’ or just ‘the sweats.’” His posts often feature the sort of scantily clad women who were so popular on the pages of vintage American male-oriented periodicals--a fact that has earned Bob’s blog a silly “Content Warning” gate through which readers must now enter (“The blog that you are about to view may contain content only suitable for adults”). But believe me, unless you are the delicate sort who covers his ears whenever the “F word” is uttered and blushes three shades of scarlet while flipping between the scholarly articles in Playboy, there’s nothing in Mens’s Pulp Mags likely to give offense.
(Left: Cohen’s duotone for Stag, November 1971.)
And there’s plenty to relish. For instance, Bob’s recent interview with artist Gil Cohen. Although he’s now familiar to many people solely for his outstanding aviation illustrations, Men’s Pulp Mags points out that “Cohen hasn’t always been known primarily for his aviation art.”
Some people know him more as a vintage pulp paperback cover artist. During the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, Cohen created cover art for many different types of books.Over the course of their discussion, Subtropic Bob asked Cohen about his early work for pulp magazines and paperbacks, his hesitancy about painting figures (“In those days, I couldn’t paint a beautiful, sexy woman to save my life.”), his fondness for duotone paintings, and much more. Part I of their exchange can be found here; Part II is here. Bob promises to post a third installment--as well as more of Cohen’s deliciously provocative artwork--this coming week.
He’s especially well known for the cool covers he did for Don Pendleton’s long-running series of action-adventure novels featuring Mack Bolan, The Executioner.
Other Gil Cohen fans know him primarily as one of the best of many great artists who did cover paintings and interior illustrations for men’s adventure magazines from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. That’s how I first became one of his fans.
UPDATE: The third and final part of that Gil Cohen interview is here.