The Art of Book Design: Spicy Stories

 Spicy Stories, Sept. 1936.

I can deal with the skimpy outfit for grass cutting, but the heels are a bit much. Also, why must the woman look so happy when she is obviously about to have an accident with that mower. Nonetheless, this was an early men’s magazine, and it isn’t just the stories that are “spicy,” there are also titillating drawings and a few nude photos. Mild by today’s standard, but pretty saucy for the 1930’s. If you check out the magazine at the link below, be advised that it’s NSFW. Also, take a moment or two to read the ads at the back of the issue. They’re a hoot.


via: The Internet Archive

The Art of Book Design: Weird Tales

Weird Tales, November 1938.

Weird Tales was begun in 1922 by J.C. Henneberger and J. M. Lansinger under Baird Publishers, but it floundered. In 1924, Henneberger moved the concept to Wright Publishers and it prospered there for the next 15 years. It became a popular and well-known place for many famous science fiction writers, including H.P. Lovecraft whose Cthulhu stories first appeared in the magazine. The magazine continued until 1954 when it folded, but it has been relaunched a few times (first in 1973), most successfully in 1988 where the magazine continued under several different publishers for the next 20 years or so. The title was changed in the mid 90’s to Worlds of Fantasy & Horror because of licensing issues, but it retook its original name in 1998.


via: The Internet Archive


The Art of Book Design: True Detective Mysteries

McFadden Publishing. True Detective Mysteries, June 1928.

There were many imitators over the years, but True Detectives Mysteries (later known simply as ‘True Detective’) is the original true crime magazine, and ran from 1924 until 1971, under McFadden Publishers and from 1971 – 1995 under several other publishers.

The Art of Book Design: True Confessions

Fawcett Publications. True Confessions, August 1922.

The originator of yesterday’s pulp magazine, Wilber Hamilton Fawcett, went on to establish this well-known pulp magazine in 1922. It became wildly popular and survived well into modern times. It folded sometime in 2018, but specific information is difficult to find.

via: The Internet Archive

The Art of Book Design: Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang

Wilber Hamilton Fawcett. Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang, January 1922.

Welcome to pulp week at The Art of Book Design. Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang was first published in October of 1919, and became incredibly popular during the 1920s, despite outcries that the magazine was immoral and corrupt. At one point, the magazine was selling up to 425,000 copies per month, but with the onset of the depression, people had less discretionary money, the light-hearted humour of the magazine went out of fashion, and the magazine folded in 1934.

via: The Pulp Magazine Archive, at the Internet Archive


The Art of Book Design: Pussy-cat Town


Marion Ames Taggert. Pussy-cat Town. Illustrated by Rebecca Chase. Boston, L.C. Page & Company, 1906.

I was a cat person long before I became a dog person, and I still have a soft spot in my heart for felines, so when I saw this book I knew I had to feature it. The book is full of sweet drawings and there are many more than I’m sharing here. I’ve included all of the full-page illustrations, but there are multiple smaller black and white drawings on many of the pages. I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. [Read more…]

The Art of Book Design: The Rabbit Witch

Katherine Pyle. The Rabbit Witch and Other Stories. Illustrated by the author. New York, E.P. Dutton and Company, 1895.

I found this book while I was looking for something else, and it charmed me, so I decided to feature it on a Fairy Tale Saturday. It’s a small book of children’s rhymes, each with its own title page plus a separate page with a simple drawing related to the story. The verses are told in panels, two to a page, and I think the layout almost has a comic book feel to it. The drawings are in simple black and red, and they include a kitten, a dog, a stork and a rabbit in a polka-dotted kerchief. I’ve included my favourite illustrations below the fold, but if you’d like to see more, the entire book is available at The Library of Congress. [Read more…]