Cover Me – The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965 – h/b

£34.99

Cover Me – The Vintage Art of Pan Books: 1950-1965 – h/b

£34.99

An Appraisal by Colin Larkin

An affectionate and thoroughly-researched celebration of the classic Pan Books paperbacks, beautifully illustrated with sumptuous full-colour reproductions of over 300 of the original cover artworks.

Approx 256pp. Large format 22cm x 28cm hardback. Litho printed. Fully illustrated in full colour throughout.
ISBN: 978-1-84583-988-8
Published November 2020

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In “Cover Me”, renowned author Colin Larkin presents an affectionate and thoroughly-researched celebration of the classic Pan Books paperbacks published between 1950 and 1965, beautifully illustrated with sumptuous full-colour reproductions of over 300 of the original cover artworks.

Pan books represented a cultural beacon as Britain recovered from World War II and slowly moved from the harsh austerity and rationing of the 1950s into the more upbeat 1960s. While in many respects the public of that period had to endure a life in monochrome – black-and-white TV, low-budget B-movies and grainy holiday snaps – Pan books presented escapist images in glorious colour. They perfectly encapsulated the spirit of the era, as people sought out cheap reading material that astutely reflected contemporary tastes: crime novels, westerns, historical fiction, movie tie-ins, true-life war memoirs and early science fiction.

 

“Cover Me” presents the highlights of a unique archive of original Pan cover paintings, many of them iconic images of the era. Larkin has owned this major art collection since 1990, and has lovingly researched the Pan Books history, the many superb artists who worked with the company, and the fascinating production process. His own experience makes him ideally qualified to chronicle a subject that has been a passion of his since childhood.

‘A veritable and invaluable cornucopia of memories reviving the forgotten art of so many leading British illustrators and an excuse for nostalgia galore.’ Maxim Jakobowski, Crime Time

‘Its author says it’s not an art book, but I’d disagree – it’s a celebration of artistic work that has often been overlooked. 9/10’ Paul Simpson, SciFiOnline

‘A must for Pan collectors, this is the kind of book that will hopefully lead the many artists dismissed out of hand as hacks working for the commercial market to be reassessed.’ Steve Holland, Bearalley

Approx 256pp. Large format 22cm x 28cm hardback. Litho printed. Fully illustrated in full colour throughout.
ISBN: 978-1-84583-988-8
Published 2 November 2020

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Colin Larkin originally trained as an apprentice commercial artist studying typography and book design at the former London College of Printing. He progressed through London Art Studios, finding his skills best suited to working in book publishing. After four years at Longmans as a designer/art editor he left to become the art director of the book and exhibition catalogue publishing company for the vast World of Islam Festival in 1976. He then founded Scorpion Publishing, with a specialist list of art, architecture and oriental rugs, together with music biographies and social history.

Having also built a separate career since 1967 as a music writer, in 1990 Larkin formed Square One Books to create his mammoth “Encyclopaedia of Popular Music” project. Initially published by Guinness in 1992, the ongoing series was later picked up by Macmillan, Virgin, OUP and Omnibus Press. The final 10 volume set, together with 56 spin-off books, became a worldwide success, with total sales exceeding 650,000. Larkin is acknowledged as one of the world’s leading experts on the history of popular music. His Wikipedia entry details his achievements. In 1997, he sold Square One to a major USA data company, MUZE Inc., and continued as its full time editor-in-chief until 2008. His unique collection of Pan artwork and Pan books has been lovingly researched over the years since he first acquired it in 1990.

Additional information

Weight 1.2 kg
Dimensions 29 × 22.5 × 3 cm

Reviews

  1. Maxim Jakobowski

    https://www.crimetime.co.uk/to-the-max-maxim-jakubowski-on-new-crime-17/

    ‘The iconography of pulp is part and parcel of the attraction of popular fiction. From Sydney Paget’s illustrations in THE STRAND for the original appearances of Sherlock Holmes to Frank Frazetta’s mighty-thighed barbarians and busty, unclad maidens, not forgetting Ed Emshwiller’s surrealist creations for paperback originals and genre magazines of the 60s and onward, these are the indelible images that marked the youth of many of us. The British publishing industry has proven less gaudy what with the graphic austerity of early Penguin designs creating an altogether quieter template, but artists like Reginald Heade and Hank Janson cover art were much less restrained. It was only when the Pan imprint was launched in the 1950s that joyous illustrations were utilised to perfect the commercial appeal of paperbacks, and their colourful covers are still fondly remembered to this day and now avidly collected. This tasty volume revisiting the vintage art of Pan paperbacks between 1950 and 1965 is a treasure for the enthusiast and the perfect gift, offering us some of the most iconic art, with illustrations that are still now closely associated with Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, WW2 action titles, Leslie Charteris, Edgar Wallace, John Creasey and, uncharacteristically, Patricia Highsmith. A veritable and invaluable cornucopia of memories reviving the forgotten art of so many leading British illustrators and an excuse for nostalgia galore.’

  2. Steve Holland

    https://bearalley.blogspot.com/2020/11/cover-me-vintage-art-of-pan-books-1950.html

    ‘A must for Pan collectors, this is the kind of book that will hopefully lead the many artists dismissed out of hand as hacks working for the commercial market to be reassessed.’

  3. Paul Simpson

    https://scifibulletin.com/books/non-fiction/review-cover-me/

    ‘Its author says it’s not an art book, but I’d disagree – it’s a celebration of artistic work that has often been overlooked. 9/10’

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