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Posted by on 17 Jun, 2023 in Australian Pulp, Men's Adventure, Pulp, trashy covers, Trashy Tuesday, Westerns | 0 comments



Pickings have been a little slim lately, but thanks to friends I have acquired some nice pulpy Australian titles from the 1950s through to the early 1970s and a couple from the 1980s.

The Doctor’s Challenge by J. E. Macdonnell (Horwitz, MS4, 1961)

I have been doing an article on the Australian Outback Medical books published by Horwitz in the 1960s, and came across this terrific cover by Theo Batten for J. E. Macdonnell’s The Doctor’s Challenge (Horwitz, MS4, 1961). Although better known for his war stories, Macdonnell also did a medical series in the early 1960s, which was a mixture of adventure and straight hospital stories. The Doctor’s Challenge was the fourth book in the series, and was set in outback Australia.

The cover by Theo Batten is attractive, but odd and full of inaccuracies. The long legged, neatly attired nurse looks like she is attending a suburban pool party and seems out of place for an outback emergency. In the book, the patient is a young indigenous woman, not a white man with blood soaked wounds. And despite the blurb on the front, it is
Dr. Alan Fraser, not Dr. Ralph Berlace, who is pitting his “skill against primitive violence in the Australian outback.” Nevertheless, I am very happy to have it in my collection.

Doctor On Approval by J. E. Macdonnell (Horwitz, MS6, 1962)

Doctor On Approval, (Horwitz, MS6, 1962), was the sixth book in the series and was more of a hospital romance book. It also featured a nice Theo Batten cover (I think), with a chesty blonde patient and a serious looking doctor with the de rigueur stethoscope in the pocket.

Thanks to James Doig for a lend of the book.

Here is a link to one of the earlier articles I did on Horwitz medical novels:

Gun Double by Cass Durand (Cleveland, Coronado, No. 963, ND)

I quite like the covers on the early Cleveland westerns and this uncredited one, although probably Stan Pitt, for Gun Double by Cass Durand (really Ru Pullan) has a nice late fifties feel to it. Like all Cleveland westerns the publication date is not recorded, but I suspect late 1958 or 1959.

Here is some more detail on Cleveland westerns:

One More Bank Job by Jack Masterton (Cleveland, #2699)

One More Bank Job by Jack Masterton (Cleveland, #2699) is a much later Cleveland western, probably 1980s, and features a cover by Spanish artist Prieto Muriana.

By the late 1960s the Spanish syndicated art agency Nova Bossa started to provide a lot of covers for Cleveland, mainly the Larry Kent books, but also some of their westerns. Using Spanish artists such as Rafael Cortiella and Enrich Torres, Nova Bossa provided covers which were usually more violent and sexualised in their approach. 

Muriana’s work can be found on a number of Cleveland westerns from the 1980s. His covers tended to feature lots of gunfire and tense expressions, and usually eschewed the sexual overtones of the covers that Cortiella and others did.

A Dame Can’t Cry Forever (Larry Kent #789, Cleveland, 1974?)

Nova Bossa also did a lot of covers for Cleveland’s Larry Kent series, mainly drawing on the generic artwork originally commissioned for overseas books, especially the German Kommissar X series. These were usually generalised action covers, which could be were used on any crime thriller of the period. Covers by well respected Spanish illustrators and comic book artists, including Rafael Cortiella, Josep Maria Miralles and Enrich Torres, can be found on many of the Larry Kent books and can often be recognised by their more violent and sexualised imagery. They also frequently used tropes and images from popular movies and television shows. 

Due to their generic design, the covers rarely have anything to do with stories they are plastered on front of. This is particularly true for A Dame Can’t Cry Forever, (Larry Kent #789, Cleveland, 1974?), which seems more suited to some ‘buddy’ crime thriller, rather than the traditional old fashioned PI action of the Larry Kent books. The artist is not credited on the cover, but is quite good, and you have to like the wide-eyed look of the girl!

It also has a title more suited to a 1940s or 50s hardboiled novel than a 1970s book: A Dame Can’t Cry Forever!

Here is one of the other articles I have done on the Larry Kent books:

The Bamboo Bomb by J. E. Macdonnell (Horwitz, 1965)

When he wasn’t writing his popular tales of naval warfare or medical romances, James Edmond Macdonnell
(J. E. Macdonnell) tried his hand at spy novels, which were all the rage in the 1960s.

Between 1965 and 1970 he wrote 13 novels in his series about agent Mark Hood from the international intelligence agency Intertrust. The books were published in America under the nom de plume of James Dark, and enjoyed some moderate success, but in Australia appeared as a J. E. Macdonnell novel.

The novels have all the typical ingredients of a 1960s spy series, including a highly capable “super spy”, sexy enemy female agents, lots of action, exotic locations, larger than life villains and a pretty Miss Moneypenny-like character who Hood is always trying to date.

The Bamboo Bomb (Horwitz, 1965) is the second in the series and finds Hood in trouble in Asia: “Intertrust Agent, Mark Hood, was on a dramatic mission where intrigue and erotic Oriental beauties drag him into a seething vortex of violence.”

I am not sure who the cover artist is, but it is quite restrained compared to some of the Hood covers.

The Invisibles by J. E. Macdonnell (Horwitz, 1988)

There is nothing restrained about this 1988 reprint of Macdonnell’s The Invisibles, which originally appeared in 1970.

Like the 1987 edition of Operation MissSat below, it is an incredibly cheesy over the top cover. The bright comic book tones give the cover a real trashy seventies or eighties feel and I like how the artist manages to cram in all the vital exotic spy elements of the time: breasts, a poorly drawn gun, polo neck shirt and drums! It is so poorly drawn that it is good.

Thanks to James Doig for the above two Mark Hood books.

Operation Miss Sat by J. E. Macdonnell (Horwitz, 1987)

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