Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Limb to Limb

After recently beefing up this page’s already large collection of summer-related book fronts, it occurred to me that, over the last few years, I have also been amassing additional covers with a different theme, one I addressed initially back in 2010: women’s legs.

Since so many early paperback publishers sought to win male attention, it is hardly shocking to discover an abundance of their books showcasing—as blatantly as mid-20th-century sensibilities allowed—various women’s body parts. However, that trend didn’t end with the women’s liberation movement of the 1960-1980s. Even in our slightly more “enlightened” era, you still see female limbs decorating book jackets. That’s probably because, if the truth be told, members of both sexes can appreciate a shapely feminine thigh, a sleek calf, and the graceful architecture of a girlish foot.

Illustrating today’s post are 45 book fronts that, in one way or another, display women’s legs. The example at the top comes from the 1962 Bedside Books edition of The Sin Drifter. Its byline reads Alan Marshall, but that was a pseudonym employed by Donald E. Westlake in his early writing days, when he was churning out sleaze novels. I wish I knew who painted Sin Drifter’s cover, because it’s a beaut. But so are some of the other fronts featured below. I can’t find accurate credits for many of the artists (and photographers). However, I can tell you that the façade of Death in the Fifth Position carries a painting by Robert Maguire; that The Case of the Long-Legged Models owes its playful artwork to Robert McGinnis, and that Barye Phillips is represented twice in this set, both by The Tycoon and the Tigress and Double in Trouble.

Between these 45 book covers and my previous collection of 66, I have now built up Killer Covers leggy offerings to a rather remarkable 111. Click on the images below for enlargements.


Mark West said...

Great post - and cover selection. Robert McGinnis seemed very interested in (as you put it so wonderfully) "the graceful architecture of a girlish foot"

Earnest Bunbury said...

There are some really nice covers here.

Muerte en primera clase - I like the way the legs just cut the cover in two, leaving the top free for the text. I also like that they resisted filling that space, in which case the text might have defined it instead of the legs.

The Venus Probe - this also works well, having the text follow the lines of the legs.

In Case of Emergency - This is a stand out for me as the type is set to provide a line to mirror that of the leg.

Night Extra - this really interests me. While the picture might not pop on its own, the framing that the design provides makes it work.