Oh Badger Books...your cheesy qualities and sci-fi camp make you so much fun. Just what I need to wake up with a smile on a Saturday morning. I don't have a lot of commentary to offer on this Badger Book, "Dark Millennium." It doesn't offer anything much beyond an attacking, giant monster and some screaming victims. I will say this nuclear war/scary monster pb is a great lead-in for a post I'm going to do in the next few days on non-fiction nuclear war hardbacks. Now, if I could just get my scanner going....
Quick Readers were a short-lived miniature paperback book series. They were put out in the 1940's and only about 49 books were printed in the series. Each Quick Reader measures approximately 4.5" x 3.25" and contains illustrations plus abridged text. These tiny little books were perfect for the war-time 1940's in which paper had to be conserved. These books are so tiny, they look small even in the hands of a child, and that just adds to their charm. Here are four "Quick Readers" from our collection. Note the "Japanese menace" element on "Bushido."
Most of our vintage movie posters are sexploitation and juvenile delinquent. We have a few horror, though, and "Return of Dracula" just may be the cornerstone of our horror poster collection. What more could you ask for...blood sucking vampire (check)...swimsuit clad victim (check)....scary, red eyes (check)....creepy horror font (priceless).
This is another one of the erotic adult comics we've picked up over the years. I absolutely love the title of this one. It's so over-the-top and ridiculous-- it's like a modern day version of a sexploitation paperback or movie. What were the writers trying to achieve with the title? Were they trying to demonstrate that Martians include a diverse cross-section of our population? And if so, one mystery remains-- why are the lesbians bitches, but the rednecks aren't dumbasses and the yuppies aren't greedy assholes? If they're going to play-up gross stereotypes, I'm just saying. Note: Comic written by Kyle Goulet and Rob Kalmbach.
I just have to share another amazing Badger Books sci-fi pulp. My fiancee and I are very excited, because yesterday we were able to acquire two new sci-fi paperbacks for our collection that have been long-time wants (i.e. Rodent Mutation and Tharkol: Lord of the Unknown). In the meantime, enjoy this shocking tale. If it happened in real life, I'm sure it would have been called "the robot menace!"
The woman in this tintype is posed unusually. The typical pose was usually much more formal--perhaps standing with your arms rigid to your side or sitting with your hands placed in your lap. This woman, on the other hand, is posed in much the same fashion as modern day bikini models sans the bikini. When I pick up odd photos such as this, I often wonder what the context was?
Badger Books was a late 50's, early 60's British publisher of mostly forgettable science fiction. In fact it was so terrible at times, that a book was a published a few years ago called "Down the Badger Hole," which highlighted the terrible writing. A fellow named Lionel Fanthorpe wrote many of the books, including the one I am highlighting in this blog. I will continue to highlight more Badger Books in future editions. What they lack in writing, they make up for in wonderfully sensational cover illustrations. I just love "Fiends"... giant ants attacking people reminds me of the lovably terrible movie "Empire of the Ants." There's so much cheese here, all I need is some bread to make a sandwich.
My father found this tintype of a merchant in an antique store in Grand Forks, ND. At the time, my fiancee and I (who are both photography collectors) lived there and never found a single thing at the one antique store in town. Generously, my father decided to give us this photograph as a gift, having seen us admire it over and over again. It really is a nice piece. It isn't often that you see tintypes with themes such as this. I love the clarity of the image and the props the man is posed with.
Eros Comix is a company that produces adult oriented comic books. I've picked up a few issues here and there whenever they've struck me. I've picked them up for the over-the-top covers with their colorfully lewd art. I can't say I've read any of these, but I've flipped through them and found the interior art to lack eroticism. I can't say I found the cover-art very erotic either. To each her own I suppose. I can't imagine a day in which I'd ever find pen and ink drawings of extreme facials erotic. Anyway, here are a smattering of 90's era Eros Comix for your pleasure... or perhaps displeasure. The use of the word "whores" is a bit annoying, if these are not stories of ladies of the evening. I did not check, but I doubt they are.
I've never been into romance in any genre whether it be books, movies, or comics. The art on romance comics does intrigue me, though. There is typically a major melodrama playing out on the cover, truly the stuff of soap opera, complete with back-stabbing, cheating, and big comic book tears that look like they are out of a Roy Lichtenstein painting. What intrigued me about the set of 1960's comics I'm featuring is the 60's aesthetic. The bouffant hairdos; the neon, mod colors and clothes; and even a few hippies thrown in to really typify the era. The Woodstock comic is a great little historical piece. So, enjoy this handful of late 60's/early 70's romance comics.
Pop surrealism, also known as "lowbrow" art, is a modern art movement. I'm not going to try to define it. Since so many artists have been placed under its umbrella, the styles and elements used are just too diverse to pin down. What I like about the movement, however, is the fact that the art usually tells a story that is relatable. The artists don't typically make abstract art and then put a pretentious "meaning" upon it after the fact that you supposedly can only understand if you are "smart enough." In fact, pop surrealist Travis Louie gave a good example of this at a recent Dragon-Con panel. He gave an example of an artist who called a pile of broken glass a work of art. He joked about the piece and wondered how you could ever dust it or clean it.
The pieces made by pop surrealists do have meaning, just not inauthentic meaning conjured up by some elitist art snob. Rather, the meaning is usually revealed by the stories the pieces tell and the symbols used. The meaning can be found by viewers willing to examine the piece and find it.
The original painting I am featuring today is by Canadian pop surrealist Kelly Haigh. It is one of my original paintings (24x30) from our pop surrealist art collection and was painted by Kelly for an animal rights charity auction. I love how she has taken the real life and beliefs of the pop culture personality shown and subverted it to tell a story. More of Kelly's work can be found on her website Doll in the Family. On a side note, Kelly has an interesting fringe collecting interest herself. She collects Victorian taxidermy and the most striking pieces she has are of beloved, dead pets.
Because I don't want there to be any confusion regarding how I feel about racist ephemera, I'm going to repost one of my earlier posts to accompany this post. The book shown above is from the turn-of-the-century. It was published by American Book & Bible House and is a religious tract justifying racism. What you find on the inside of the book is just as horrifying as the outside of the book. It is rife with illustrations that argue that African Americans are not human beings. I will later amend this post to include examples of those illustrations. Below is my previous discussion of racist memorabilia:
A lot of people want to pretend things like this were never published, that racist ephemera was never made, that the Klu Klux Klan doesn't exist. eBay, in fact, forbids the listing of most historical items related to the KKK and other racist ephemera.
In 2000, eBay was told by victims' rights groups that these items should not be allowed, because they carry violent and painful memories. I can understand why they take this position. The atrocities committed were horrible, and those items do carry violent and painful memories. However, I think it's important that these pieces of history be preserved. They are a reminder of the atrocities that occurred not too far in the distant past. They remind us of how people that are decent in most aspects of their lives, can be so monstrous to fellow human beings. We shouldn't forget this. We need to remember.
I've never been able to visit it but in Big Rapids, MI, at Ferris State University, there is a museum that preserves these types of artifacts. It is called the "Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia." On its website, the curator Dr. David Pilgrim provides another reason why preservation of these objects is important-- it opens discussion and allows us to deconstruct the taboo. To speak about the unspeakable. We can ask questions and understand racism and everything associated with it. We can understand its history and confront it. Forgetting about it and pushing it into the past will not make it go away.
Of course, people could potentially collect this material, because they are hateful. However, I think those people would be intolerant and hateful, regardless of whether they could purchase racist, or otherwise prejudiced, historical material.
So, I post this piece for the reasons above. I will post similar pieces in the future. It's more comfortable not to talk about these pieces or display them. But, comfort doesn't beget progress.
NOTE: As of 09/14/09, I have added an interior illustration pic and a scanned page from the actual text of this book. These pieces demonstrate the alleged Biblical arguments for the publisher's and author's racist beliefs.
We collect vintage paperbacks for their great pulpish titles, kitschy cover blurbs, and popping illustration art covers. With the sexy digest-sized paperbacks produced in the late 1940's and early 1950's, there's a little something extra to appreciate. It's minor, but it's a cool thing to look at when you're collecting and that's the amazing fashions the artists painted on femme fatales, gun molls, and hillbilly hussies. Every vintage paperback line occasionally featured covers with beautiful women in amazing fashions. Sexy digests in their prime did this as a matter of course, as did their counterparts, sexy detective magazines. Incidentally, much of the cover art on sexy digests was also used on sexy detective magazines and vice versa. The kinds of fashions I'm talking about include waist-cinching belts, wiggle dresses, pencil skirts, super high heels, berets, and more. So enjoy this little mish-mash of sexy digests and note the hyper femininity of the fashions of the era. I wouldn't want to have been a woman in the 1950's except for the fashion. "Room and Dame" features cover art by George Gross. "Man Crazy" and "Emotions of Fire" cover art by Rudy Nappi. "Cutie" also probably a Nappi, but I'm not sure. "Sleepy Time Honey" looks like a Howell Dodd, but I'm also not sure.
This weekend at DragonCon in Atlanta, we attended a lecture on the historic roots of the science fiction genre. Dr. Richard "Scott" Nokes gave a presentation for the lecture. One of the things he discussed were narratives in which young people struggle with becoming "animal" in their teenage years (i.e. usually teenage boys becoming wolves or in the case of "Ginger Snaps" young girls becoming wolves). He argued that these struggles are allegories for the process of becoming an adult. When you become an animal you transform by growing hair in new places, developing a deep growl, etc. I could certainly see how this mirrors the changes that occur in puberty. So, in honor of that lecture, I present you with a classic example, "Teenage Monster."
Haven't been buying hardly a thing in this bad economy, but couldn't resist purchasing this turn-of-the-century South Dakotan woman, post-mortem in coffin. I liked this piece because of the clarity of the photography (i.e. great contrast) and also because the full coffin is shown. As I've collected post-mortem photography, I've been most drawn to pieces that are very clearly post-mortem. It's less enjoyable to collect pieces when you have to "guess" whether the person was just photographed stiffly or whether the person is truly post-mortem. It was difficult, but I just resisted making a terribly corny joke right there.
I'm at DragonCon here in Atlanta this weekend, hence my lack of posts. I don't want to leave FringePop hanging all weekend, though, so I'll present a little Saturday morning sexploitation. Here's "Teenage Tramp" presented in glorious sexploitation technology.
I'm not into S&M, so these 60's fetish photo books just look silly to me. I guess, though, one person's silliness is another person's turn-on. John Waters conveyed that quite nicely with his broad array of fetishes in "A Dirty Shame." I think the main message of the film was that sex shouldn't be taken so seriously, and that safe, consenting adults should do whatever they please, even if it does involve getting dressed up as teddy bears or rolling around in cake, or what have you. Get over it people! Anyway, here's some 60's fetish ephemera for you. They don't do anything for me, but maybe someone out there finds them to be more than just kitschy silliness!
In the vintage paperback hobby, collectors get a sense of how valued a particular publisher or imprint is on the basis of how much money it sells for on eBay, ABE, and the like. Having collected them for years, I've consistently watched "Croydon Books" sell for much lower prices than sexy digest publishers such as "Quarter Books," "Exotic Novels," Rainbow Books," Falcon Books," and "Venus Books" (just to name a handful, there are more). I wanted to showcase some "Croydon Books," because I think they are an under-appreciated line. There's no denying that George Gross was the master of the sexy digest, and these do not feature George Gross art. However, they do feature nicely rendered illustrations from artists such as Bernard Safran and Lou Marchetti. They also have titles that are often campier and kitschier than those featured on other lines. My favorite of this group is "Confessions of a Wild Co-Ed." I can't resist a good title with "Confessions" in it! It makes the book all the more charming to me. Cover art by Lou Marchetti on "Army Mistress" and "Intimate Affairs of a French Nurse." Cover art by Bernard Safran on "Confessions of a Wild Co-Ed" and "Love-Crazy Millionaire."
FringePop is a showcase for uncommon and esoteric cultural artifacts. The focus is on unusual items from both popular and fringe culture, with an emphasis on subversive pieces. The items shown are from the author's personal collection, unless otherwise noted.
I am a pop culture buff and collector, who focuses on the odd, subversive, and fringe elements of Western culture. In 2005, I edited a book for Feral House called "Sin-A-Rama: Sleaze Sex Paperbacks of the Sixties." The vintage oddities in my collection include victoriana, sideshow, medical, and kitsch. I am also an amateur sewer, making clothing from vintage mod patterns.