Monday, January 24, 2011

Fascinating . . .

STRANGE SISTERS is a curious site, owned by Ryan Richardson, devoted to the artwork found on the covers of "Lesbian" paperbacks published in the 50s and 60s. A marvelously tacky collection. Like ol' H.L. Mencken observed, nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.

With very few exceptions, the criteria for my collection are: two women on the cover, painted covers (as opposed to photo covers - there are hundreds), and nothing past 1969. There are some paperbacks on this site that very well may not contain a single lesbian in the text, but as long as the cover artwork SUGGESTS lesbians, they're in.

I feel no need to assign some larger historical importance or deeper social relevance to these books. I can think of no other body of visual art so varied, humorous, outrageous, sexy. That this art was the by-product of an industry pandering to our seemingly insatiable appetite for trashiness makes it all the greater in my eyes.


Brian Busby said...

I join you in singing the praises of Strange Sisters. Long a favourite of mine, it's one of the few places at which one might catch a glimpse of Sexpo '69. A "Lesbian" novel set at Expo '67, I've been on the hunt for a copy for years.

Well, it was the Summer of Love.

Cliff said...

The all time greatest cover and title.