Pinup culture is something I’ve been fascinated with since I bought my first vintage “silk stocking” magazines back in the 70s for three bucks apiece from a dusty used bookshop on Eighth Avenue that is now a Japanese noodle joint. Peter Driben was the cover artist for those magazines, like Beauty Parade, Titter, and Wink, and a few years ago I found a little case in an art shop which I thought would be perfect for carrying Altoid mints. It was decorated with a Driben pinup…
Another way I partake of the “pinup lifestyle,” so to speak, is reading paperbacks from the 40s and 50s when pinups were at their peak and “good girl art,” as it’s called by collectors, adorned the covers. There are some reprint editions which have great girl art covers too; this Stark House reprint of two superlative Gil Brewer novels, which I recently read, was done by artist Mel Crair, about whom you can read more here, and it certainly fills the pinup bill!
I spent a lot of time this summer reading some fantastic noir novels, and these Brewer books were among the best. In particular, A Killer is Loose is a chilling study of a how a normal guy deals with a totally out-of-control madman who has completely latched onto him. It was one of the most mesmerizing, suspenseful, yet tragic noir books I’ve ever read.
I hope to give a fuller round-up of all the titles I enjoyed in an upcoming post. Meantime, check out the Gil Brewer novels for yourself over at Amazon here.