Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Face to Fall For

This cover of Angel Face (Macfadden, 1970) makes no visual sense. In the upper left-hand corner, we have the giant noggin of ubiquitous paperback model Steve Holland. In the middle appears a shapely blonde wearing either a blouse or a short, see-through negligee, and high heels on her feet, but evidently nothing in between. Finally, there’s a dark-haired, dark-suited gent falling to his death from the heights of a brick building--he’s the only one, it seems, who is unable to defy gravity in this illustration. I can only surmise by the cover line (“Her profession was love, but all she knew was hate”) that the blonde had some complicity in that man’s tumble.

I don’t know who was responsible for this peculiar artwork, but the author of Angel Face was Fan Nichols (married name Frances Nichols Hanna), who concocted romance and crime novels during the mid-20th century. Among Nichols’ other books were Be Silent, Love, One by One, and The Loner.


michael said...

Could it be a cut and paste job with the half naked girl taken from some other art and added to the cover?

J. Kingston Pierce said...

That could be the case, though I don't know on what cover this oddly floating female might have originally found her home.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is really strange, and really ugly! I too suspected a paste-up job ("We need a babe on this cover!"), so I went to and surveyed the earlier MacFadden covers, looking for the babe. No hit, but there are a lot of missing numbers, so no evidence either way. The exercise did convince me that MacFadden is in the running for the Worst Art Direction Ever prize. There is no discernible house style, just a parade of jumbled design and bad art. Early in the run they hired some top talent (Maguire, Meese, Philips, Abbett), but even when they had good art, they generally ruined it with ugly typography, blurb clutter and muddy background color choices. Paging through the covers is guaranteed to produce disorientation and nausea. Surprisingly, one cover that stands out as a design winner (and it's mostly typography) is the semi-legendary pricey collectible, Take a Lesbian To Lunch by Ann Aldrich.
Art Scott