If you happen to follow my Facebook page you will already know that i’m slightly obsessed with vintage pulp paperback covers. An obsession that’s shared by Gary Lovisi, author of Bad Girls Need Love Too. A collection of 100 examples of the brilliantly illustrated covers that graced lowbrow paperbacks of the 1950s and 60s.
If you were to judge a book by its cover, then you are left with no illusion of the trashy tales of crime, sultry temptresses and sordid plots held within; a sample of which is given along with selected covers. But what’s most important here is the illustration, with each cover nicely reproduced from scans of the original books along with an artist, author and publisher credit. It’s interesting to see that of the few covers that opted for a photographic approach, none of them compare to their illustrated counterparts and fail to offer anywhere near the same appeal or sense of noir allure.
Overall it’s a short and inexpensive introduction to a sexy world of pulp fiction that’s been heavily referenced by so many other books, films, TV shows and comics since. It could have had the welcome addition of some background on the creation of its covers, or maybe even a note on how the publishers thought up some of the plots and wacky titles (Invasion of the Nymphomaniacs or Satan Was My Pimp anyone?), but considering that all of these books are now long out of print and hard to find for anyone except the most devoted collector, it’s good that a book like this exists to ensure the work is still available for those of us that just want to enjoy those great covers.