Cyanide and Sin: Visualizing Crime in 50s America

Front Cover
PPP Editions, 2006 - Art - 189 pages
Beginning with a 1941 cover of Headquarters Detective: True Cases from the Police Blotter, which features a beautiful redhead, ravaged and roped, and ending with the April 1976 cover of Front Page Detective, on which a halter-topped and bell-bottomed brunette struggles to escape from a shadowy man with a loaded gun, Cyanide and Sinoffers a broad history of the true-crime magazine in America, with an emphasis on its visual content during the 1950s. Alongside its 196 well-chosen and addictively titillating color illustrations, this volume includes a major essay by Will Straw of McGill University, Montreal, which traces the stylistic and conceptual evolution of the crime magazine genre. Straw catalogues specific photographers and key designers who were regular contributors to the various magazines. Many of the images reproduced both within these magazines and on their covers were set up reenactments of crimes--some fictive, others real. Often, the images are accompanied by campy headlines such as: "Death Crashes a Party," "Love Me or Die!" or "He Was too Hot to Cool Down." There have been numerous publications on the history of Pulp and Crime fiction. This volume, with its special foldout poster cover, is the first to so thoroughly examine the impact of the visuals used to accompany these stories.

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