Pulp Fiction exhibition


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Welcome to The Pulp Fiction Collection

She was curled up on the divan in my apartment…and she wasn’t my aunt, grandmother, or a visiting fireman. She was Lulu, the cutest, hottest belly-dancer this side of Farouk…’.

So begins Marc Brody’s The Bride Wore Black, one of the 900 or so Australian pulp fiction publications that were purchased in 2005 and form the Pulp Fiction Collection in Special Collections, Central University Library.

Argosy All-Story Weekly.

Marco Page [Harry Kurnitz], Fast Company.

Everett and Olga Webber, Bound Girl.

Rog Phillips, World of If.

The Return of Dr Fu-Manchu.

The Shadow.


Two Western Books.

Detective Story.

Crack Detective.

Dime Detective Magazine.

Spicy Detective.

Thrilling Detective.

Detective Fiction Weekly.

Weird Tales.

Eerie Stories.

Adam: the New Man’s Magazine.

Attila Zohar, Kings Cross Black Magic.

The Pyjama Girl and Other Bizarre Australian Crimes.

Pulp: A Collector’s Book of Australian Pulp Fiction Covers.

Alan Hopgood, Alvin Purple.

Re-configured Alan Hopgood, Alvin Purple.

Death Comes Incognito.

The Mediterranean Murder.

Black Hand Vengeance.

Dick Wordley, Jig for the Hangman.

J. M. Flynn, The Girl from Las Vegas.

The Spider Came Back.

Maurice Francis, First Light Fraser.

B. E. Lovell, And Incidentally, Murder!

Peter Bishop, The Final Count.

Rex Gold, Battery Bargain.

Rex Gold, Battery Bargain.

Ray Slattery, Wild Water.

Donald Hann, The Love Game.

Donald Hann, Michiko.

Torture of the Swastika.

Torture of the Swastika.

Fall of the Roman Empire.

Look Back in Anger.

Cleopatra of Egypt.

Island of Flames.

The Innocent Savage.

Jungle Gold.

Heroes, Rogues and Jezebels.

Alarm in the Night.

Dead Weight.

High Stakes.

Somewhere Out There.

T as in Trapped.

Tokio Jungle.

Decoy Doll.

Murder Seeks an Agent.

Case of the Vanishing Beauty.

Libel was a Blonde.

Killers Don't Cry.

Baby Your Racket's Busted.

Black Wings Has My Angel.

Murderer's Holiday.

Terror in the Sun.

A Corpse for Christmas.

Why Bother, Beautiful?

Bush Nurse.

Bush Nurse. 2nd ed.

Forever Forbidden.

Deep Sea Nurse.

The Doctor's Crisis.

Nurse in a Cage.

The Doctor’s Affair.

Sea Surgeon.

The Love Game.

A Man's Woman.

No Farewell to Love.

I Belong to Two Men.

Girl without Money.

To Hell with Love.

Love Me Sailor.

True Love Confessions.

Strange Love.

Errant Heart.

Manuka Fire.

Unkissed Bride.

My Heart's Desire.

Innocent Sinners.

The Drongoes Who Dared.

Full Ahead.

PT Attack.

White Slaves of the Swastika.

White Slaves of the Swastika.

Death's Paradise.

Death's Paradise.

Death's Paradise.

Escape from the Hell Camp.

The Captain from Goondiwindi.

Escape to Hell.

The Weak Link.

Men with a Mission.

Operation MissSat.

Operation MissSat.

The Lights of Skaro.

Operation MissSat.

Jungle Red.

Expedition Void in Popular Science Fiction.

Expedition Void in Popular Science Fiction.

Prisoners in Serpent Land.

The Thing from Another World.

The Mars Monopoly.

The World of Theda.

Time Trap.

Jetbees of Planet J.

Master-mind Menace.

The Metal Monster.


ld Spacemen Never Die.

Dead Weight.

The Healer.

Science Fiction Monthly.

Jack the Ripper.

Jack the Ripper.


Villa of Shadows.

Web of Horror.

Come and Go Mad.

Nightmare Stories.

Spine-tingling Tales.

Tales of Horror.

Hellcat You're a Honey.

Hangtree Justice.

Next Stop Boothill.

The Avenger.

Colt Conversation.

The Cross T Range.

Heritage of Hate.

Dark Outlaw.

Six-gun Saloon-keeper.

The Gun Trail Back.

The Badlands.

Sweeping Leather.

Triple Bar Trouble.

The Sunset Kid.

Gunflame Feud.

Murder on the Mesa.

Trigger Slick.

Murder is Never Pretty Even When the Corpse is a Blonde.

Murder is Never Pretty Even When the Corpse is a Blonde.

Murder is Never Pretty Even When the Corpse is a Blonde.

Photograph stills of a model in various poses (c.1960).

Lake's Three for the Money.

Lake's Three for the Money.

Robert Maguire.

One of Robert Maguire's models.

Sucker Bait models posing.

Sucker Bait.

Death before Bedtime posing.

Death before Bedtime.

Joy Ride model posing.

One of Robert Maguire's models.

Robert Maguire's sketch for 'Hot Lead'.

Joy Ride.

Larry Kent series for Cleveland.

Pulp & Vintage Paperback Resources.

Pulp & Vintage Paperback Resources.

Carter Brown.

Thanks to: Tina Broderick, Merrin Brewster, Pam Treanor, Bob Sheppard, Graeme Flanagan, Toni Johnson-Woods, Ian Morrison, and Iain Sharp. Every effort has been made to contact copyright holders. Special thanks to Cleveland Publishing Pty Ltd, Australia (all rights reserved Cleveland Publications), to Horwitz Publications Pty, Sydney, Australia (all rights reserved Horwitz Publications), and to Lynn Maguire for the Robert Maguire Estate for permission to host images.

Pulp was of course the opposite of literary fiction; most of the stories were poorly edited and grammatically questionable. The dialogue is often awkward, the plots relatively simple, where bodies pile up, broken hearts mend quickly, and improbable coincidences abound. And despite its reputation, pulp fiction is conservative. There are a host of stereotypical males and females. Good guys verses Bad. Gender roles are unchallenged: men affirm their masculinity in war battles, gunfights, boxing matches and sexual promiscuity. They are the public face: they clean up mean streets, conquer new planets, right wrongs. Women act as guides, helpmates or love interests, but do not participate (in general) in the action.

The covers are memorable. They are remembered for their feverish depictions of ‘high-octane’ moments. They are famous for their half-dressed damsels in distress, the scantily clad dame. It didn’t matter that the crime series were about male detectives, the covers lovingly depicted sexually idealized women who posed, pouted and promised more than the stories ever delivered. There were also the guys, with their smoking guns, the fedoras, and the inevitable cigarette. Importantly, the covers communicated the type of book it was. At one glance, the buyer (reader) could easily recognize what he or she was getting: a sci-fi book, a crime story, romance, horror, etc. And if the lurid covers didn’t grab your attention, then the titles would. Who could resist Nude in a Boat, The Curse of Blood, Designed to Deceive, Blind Date with Death, or Nemesis for a Nude?

This exhibition offers a small selection of the Australian pulp fiction, published by firms such as Action Comics, Calvert Publishing, Cleveland Publishing, Currawong, Invincible Press, and Horwitz Books during the 1940s to late 1970s. Detective fiction, westerns, science fiction, sports, war tales, and romance feature. Importantly, many of the titles were distributed to New Zealand and were eagerly devoured by local readers. The authors (mostly fictional) include Marc Brody, Larry Kent, Carter Brown, and J. E. Macdonnell. The stories are formulaic and somewhat repetitive. Indeed, one writer (Audrey Armitage – co-author of the K.T. McCall books) said: ‘We’d be given a picture of the cover and were given the title, along with a few words. From that you prepared the plot and wrote the story. One of the rules of the game was that you started off with a body - either two in bed or somebody dead.’ And to contextualize these Australian Pulps, a select number of early American magazines such as Weird Tales, Dime Detective, The Shadow, and Spicy Detective are on display as well as items that highlight the current status of Pulps in Australasia. Please enjoy.


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Download the ‘Pulp Fiction’ hand-list
(in PDF format) for full call references.


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