Lifestyle

Pulp Master Mort Kunstler

While he's best known for his work meticulously depicting Civil War battle scenes — and was even commissioned by the USPS to design stamps — artist Mort Kunstler had a prolific early career painting covers for a grab bag of men's adventure magazines. Working under the pseudonym Martin Kay and Emmett Kaye, he began churning out two to three covers and at least two inside illustrations per month starting in the early 1950s. Each one accompanied over-the-top tales of exotic travels, harrowing escapes, and general badassery. We pulled together a few of our favorites.

Before Deadliest Catch, the newsstand was the only place for dudes to get their true-life at-sea stories. And just like modern day reality shows, there was absolutely no creative embellishment.

His work was so striking he was hired by movie studios to create posters for films like The Poseidon Adventure and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three.

What the covers lacked in racial sensitivity they made up for in titillating bonkersness.

Man-eating tigers, Hemingway, lesbians — they were effective at catering to just about everyone.

Now that's a headline.

The publications insisted he go by the various pen names because they were giving him so much work, they wanted it to appear as though they were hiring more (and different) artists.

WTF is a "love-blast mama"? Weirdest euphemism ever.

Kunstler was known for ensuring his Civil War paintings were meticulously accurate and true to history. Seems as though he was working with a different approach here.

Who knew the Cold War was so hot?

Amazing to think this is the sort of work he's most remembered for. A lot less bare skin in these.


Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor and should probably never be asked to design a stamp.