By Don Man­gus, Her­itage Auctions

The Alluring Art of Margaret BrundageIn 1932, Chica­go art stu­dent Mar­garet Hed­da John­son hooked up with the polit­i­cal­ly rad­i­cal one-time hobo Myron “Slim” Brundage in the bohemi­an Dil Pick­le Club of Chica­go, and roman­tic sparks flew. It was the fiery igni­tion of the trail­blaz­ing career and fire­brand activism of an artis­tic and social iconoclast.

This superb mono­graph, The Allur­ing Art of Mar­garet Brundage: Queen of Pulp Pin-Up Art by Stephen D. Kor­shak, J. David Spur­lock, et al, is pack­aged as two-books-in-one. The first sec­tion of the book is about Brundage’s art and the Weird Tales saga. The sec­ond sec­tion details her col­or­ful per­son­al life and is chock-full of sel­dom-seen facts, doc­u­ments, and photos.

Brundage for­ev­er changed the look of Fan­ta­sy and Hor­ror gen­res with her sen­su­al­ly taboo, haunt­ing, and show-stop­ping pas­tels for the cel­e­brat­ed pulp mag­a­zine Weird Tales. An instant mega-hit with read­ers, for the ear­ly years fans were unaware that “M. Brundage” was actu­al­ly a woman. After the truth was revealed, Brundage was anoint­ed the first female super­star artist of the Pulp Era.

Decades before the con­tem­po­rary goth-fetish sub­cul­ture became all the rage, Brundage’s tit­il­lat­ing tableaux show­cased erot­i­cal­ly charged, semi-nude and leather-clad women bran­dish­ing whips and run­ning hog-wild. Her out­ré images became many a fan’s secret source of seduc­tion and thus a lat­er tar­get of New York May­or Fiorel­la La Guardia’s news­stand “decen­cy campaign.”

With­out a doubt, Weird Tales’ suc­cess was due as much to Brundage’s eye-pop­ping pin-up-qual­i­ty cov­ers as to the Fan­ta­sy yarns with­in — spine-tin­gling clas­sics by such lit­er­ary giants as H. P. Love­craft, Clark Ash­ton Smith, Robert Bloch, and Conan’s leg­endary cre­ator — Robert E. Howard. WT writ­ers, such as Seabury Quinn often includ­ed scenes in their sto­ries that they hoped would appear as fan­tas­tic Brundage covers.

As part of her lega­cy, MB can lay claim to cre­at­ing the first icon­ic cov­er spot­light­ing Conan.

This “must-have” book fea­tures an all-star line-up of essays writ­ten by famed Fan­ta­sy artist Rowe­na (A. Mor­rill), Weird Tales his­to­ri­an Robert Wein­berg, “First-Fan­dom” mem­ber and Shas­ta pub­lish­er Melvin Kor­shak, and Men’s Adven­ture Mag­a­zines In Post­war Amer­i­ca’s George Hagenauer.

This time­less trea­sure trove presents not only all of Mar­garet Brundage’s Weird Tales and Conan cov­ers — but also her oth­er pulp mag­a­zine cov­ers — includ­ing Ori­en­tal Sto­ries, The Mag­ic Car­pet, and Gold­en Fleece.

Each MB mas­ter­work is show­cased to full effect as a lav­ish­ly repro­duced 9″ x 12″ full-col­or page. It’s also worth not­ing that nine of the Weird Tales and one of the Ori­en­tal Sto­ries pas­tels were repro­duced direct­ly from sur­viv­ing orig­i­nal art.

This superb book is sure to be a prized addi­tion to any fan­ta­sy art fan’s library.