Spicy Dames and Tales of Mystery


Pulp fiction magazines published between 1938 and 1968 are known for their alluring covers of dangerous femme fatales, but the stories found beneath the cheap pulp paper pages usually had little relation to their alluring covers. Often, well-known authors wrote stories for these disposable magazines under a pen-name to make a quick buck, saving their real names for their “literary” work.

Dime store magazines were targeted at male readers but the cover art offers a fascinating glimpse into the role of women. Some of the scheming dames worked their deadly charms on unsuspecting men, while others played the role of damsel in distress, waiting for their hero to save them. Coincidently, the women on the covers were reduced to captives and victims of violence while in the real world they were looking for equal rights.  These seductive characters attached to the lack-luster stories remind us to never judge a book by its cover.