Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Working the Web

• It’s always great to discover new vintage book and magazine illustrators—and even better to learn that they’re still alive. Such is the case with 94-year-old Gloria Stoll Karn. Born in the Bronx, New York, in 1923, Stoll studied art in high school, but later wound up working as an insurance company secretary. “One fateful day in April of 1941,” recalls David Saunders on his Web site, Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists, “she impulsively threw away all of her student artwork. The janitor rescued her portfolio from the incinerator room and showed it to another tenant in the building, who happened to be the pulp artist Rafael de Soto. De Soto asked to meet the discouraged seventeen-year-old art student, and inspired her to become a commercial illustrator.” According to this article produced by WESA, the National Public Radio station in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Stoll went on “to create more than 100 full-color covers for romance and mystery magazines.” Now, more than three quarters of a century after she commenced painting for the pulps, Stoll’s art is being honored with a solo exhibition at The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. That show will continue through June 10. To view more work by Stoll Karn, who now lives northwest of Pittsburgh, click here.

• BookRiot calls pulpish paperbacksthe clickbait of the ’50s,” explaining: “The standard cover used a realistic illustration and combined a shocking title, a scantily clad woman, and an intriguing front-cover blurb. These covers were the main selling point for a title. … One of the defining features of clickbait is also present in pulp novels: you don’t always get what you were promised.”

• CrimeReads looks back at how, during the mid-20th century, fresh editions of crime/detective novels that actually predated the era’s taste in salacious book fronts were given “ridiculously sexified covers … that were far racier than the actual book.”

• And I wasn’t previously familiar with British journalist, pulp writer, and screenwriter Betty Mabel Lilian Williams (1919-1974), who published most extensively as “Dail Ambler.” But Bear Alley has posted an eye-catching selection of her book covers.

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