Pop Sensation


3 of 5 stars
What’s this?

An entertaining blog of vintage paperbacks — of the seedy variety that once allowed commuters and housewives to safely dive into the racier parts of mid-20th century Americana. Adhering to the dictum that one should not judge a book by its cover, blogger Rex Parker provides details on the plot, tone and unintentionally hilarious details of the book — he even posts back covers.

Part of the blog’s purpose seems to be to create a sales catalog for Parker’s collection of these paperbacks, as he lists prices with each post. The net effect, though, is that Pop Sensation is a rich trove of specimens from the tradition of truly commercial art. This is not high-minded design or illustration; this is down and dirty commercial work intended to titillate and rack up sales. Nevertheless, lots of these samples are fantastic works.

Pop Sensation

On a sideways note, the paperback featured here in the upper right is an early edition of what eventually became one of the strangest — and best — film noirs of all time, “Kiss Me Deadly,” which was recently re-released by Criterion. It’s a cynical and surprisingly satirical take on the detective genre, directed by Robert Aldrich and starring a captivatingly vain Ralph Meeker. Its ending, which had been mysteriously hacked by unknown hands, also inadvertently served as a critical bit of inspiration for a very different school of filmmaking. Read more about that here, or peruse the rich Pop Sensation archives here.

  1. Thanks for the write-up. The listed prices are just in case anyone really wants to take them off my hands. I don’t care if I never sell them, but I’m happy to let others buy them if they want. You are right that I’m mainly just trying to preserve and catalog (and share my love for) this particular art form.


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