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Steve Strange & Chrissie Hynde offend all of England as punk band The Moors Murderers, 1978

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Before Steve Strange became known as a club host at Blitz and a New Romantic pop star with Visage, he was in a punk band with Chrissie Hynde called The Moors Murderers. It’s fair to say, there was a tacit understanding with some elements of punk that to cause offense was an acceptable way to achieve notoriety. Having a band called The Moors Murderers was certain to bring considerable opprobrium and cause offense to the Great British public as the band’s name referred to the notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley who had raped and murdered five children in Manchester, England, between 1963 and 1965, burying their bodies on Saddleworth Moor. To this day the body of one victim Keith Bennett has never been recovered.

Brady and Hindley were a dark stain on the colorful psychedelia of the swinging sixties. Their evil deeds had a troubling influence on many writers and artists, perhaps most notably Morrissey who used the brutal killings as material for songs and may have even named his band after the Brady/Hindley associates and in-laws David and Maureen Smith—or as they were called by the press at the time, “the Smiths.”
 
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Steve Strange’s involvement with punk came when he saw the Sex Pistols perform at the Castle Cinema in Caerphilly, Wales, in December 1976. The gig changed the teenager’s life and he became friends with the band’s bass player Glen Matlock. Strange was then known by his real name Steven John Harrington, and inspired by the Pistols he started booking punk bands to play gigs at his home town. He then moved to London and became part of the revenue of punks that orbited around Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s shop SEX on the King’s Road. Here he met the iconic Soo Catwoman, who first suggested forming a punk band called The Moors Murderers. As Soo later recalled:

“The Moors Murderers thing was a big joke to be honest. I was joking about getting a band together called the Moors Murderers and doing sleazy love songs, I had no idea he [Steve Strange] would actually go out and do it. …”

Strange certainly ran with the idea and approached Chrissie Hynde telling her about the band and singing her the song “Free Hindley.”

They say it started in 64
Myra Hindley was nothing more
Than a woman who fell for a man
Why shouldn’t she be free
Brady was her lover
Who told her what to do
Psychopathic killer-nothing new
Free Hindley Free

What she did was for love
The torture scenes the boys and girls
Hindley knew but couldn’t say
She was trapped by her love
What mother in her right mind
Would allow a girl at the age of nine
Be out on her own
Don’t blame Hindley
Blame yourselves
Brady was her lover
Who told her what to do
Psychopathic killer-nothing new
Why shouldn’t she be free?
Free Hindley Free

The Moors Murderers came out of the band The Photons, of which Strange was briefly a member. For a short time The Photons and The Moors Murderers coexisted as “essentially the same band.” According author Andrew Gillix:

Strange claimed to be part of a band called the Moors Murderers in order to do a photo shoot for German magazine Bravo. Catwoman says she was also present but left the shoot. Steve Strange may have played a gig with The Photons under the Moors Murderers monicker supporting The Slits at an NSPCC benefit concert at Ari Up’s school in Holland Park circa Christmas 1977.

At The Slits gig was musician and producer Dave Goodman, who had worked with the Pistols and Eater:

There was a support band who I assumed were friends of the Slits. They had this singer dressed in black leather calling himself ‘Steve Strange’. I also remember at least one female musician, who turned out to be Chrissie Hynde. They had a certain ‘first gig’ quality about them, their sound being somewhat chaotic and the lyrics virtually unintelligible.

I couldn’t believe it when they announced themselves as ‘The Moors Murderers’. It really was controversial. I had lived through that gruesome event and the darkness it brought to my childhood still felt gloomy. To protect me, my mum would remove any ‘Moors Murderers’ tabloid sensationalism from the papers, after first reading it herself.

After the show Steve Strange came up to me at the mixing desk and confirmed the band’s name. I’d heard right - it was as I thought. We got talking. It turned out that they had this song called ‘Free Hindley’. They had just performed it, but I hadn’t noticed. He had my interest - what was his motive behind it? Steve explained. He felt that it was hypocritical of the government to automatically consider other child murderers for parole after a certain length of time, while ignoring Hindley. Being a high profile case, I believe he felt they were just pandering to public demand. We also discussed change and to what level people can achieve it.

Strange told Goodman that he wanted to record a single “Free Hindley,” but Goodman suggested “two main things to Steve”:

1. To show he is not condoning murderers he should create a balance. Why not record the Ten Commandments to music for the B-side? You know, get out of it in the studio and really get into it man! He liked the idea.

2. Talk to Lord Longford, he’s been visiting Hindley in prison and is campaigning for her release. He liked that idea as well.

Strange arranged a hasty press shoot where the members of The Moors Murderers kept their anonymity by covering their heads with pillow cases. According to Goodman three of the group in the photo are “Strange, Chrissie Hynde and Nick Holmes (Eater’s roadie who is believed to have played guitar on ‘Free Hindley’).” The fourth maybe Mal Hart, who played bass on the track.
 
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Understandably, a band associating itself with the country’s most reviled child killers soon saw them damned by the press. On January 8th, 1978, the Sunday Mirror published an article on The Moors Murderers asking “Why Must They Be So Cruel?”

As Strange was mainly unknown, The Moors Murderers was labeled as Chrissie Hynde’s band, much to her chagrin, as she became the focus of the media’s ire.

In mid-January Sounds music paper ran an article on The Moors Murderers—now apparently three members, again with their heads covered though this time with black bin bags. The band played the Sounds journalist four of their tracks “Free Hindley,” “Caviar and Chips,” “Mary Bell” (about the child murderess) and “The Streets of the East End.”
 
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According to Andrew Gallix, following the Sounds “showcase”

...the band played the Roxy on 13 January 1978, supporting Open Sore. Steve Strange was on vocals (calling himself Steve Brady) and Hynde was on guitar. Bob Kylie (Open Sore): “They were terrible! Absolutely dreadful!” On 28 January 1978, Strange told Sounds that he had left the band.

Whether “Free Hindley” was ever released as a single is debatable, but it was available on cassette as David Goodman recalls:

I remember hearing an acetate of the two recordings ‘Free Hindley’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’, possibly played to me by Nick Holmes the drummer. Not long after that, I saw an ad in the back of Melody Maker or NME for the sale of some ‘Moors Murderers’ acetates and cassettes @ £10 each I believe. I seem to remember Malcolm McLaren bringing that ad to my attention. Anyway, I didn’t buy one, I’d heard it once and that was enough.

Years later, when entering a record store in San Francisco, I saw a sign offering thousands of dollars for one. That was the only time I wished I’d grabbed one when I had the chance.

Chrissie Hynde went on to form the Pretenders in 1978, while Steve Strange eventually achieved success with electronic band Visage.

Below Chrissie Hynde talks about her involvement with The Moors Murderers.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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‘Death Is Their Destiny’: Home-movies of London punks 1978-81

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London 1977: By day Phil Munnoch was a mild-mannered copywriter working for an ad agency in the heart of the city. He was neat, he was clean, he looked smart in his collar and tie, sharp pressed trousers and bright, shiny shoes. But Phil had a secret that he kept from his colleagues. At the end of each working day, like some postmodern superhero Phil would change out of his work clothes into tight fitting bondage trousers, studded dog collar and badge-covered plastic jacket to become his punk alter ego Captain Zip.

Captain Zip hung out with the other punks who idly wandered up and down the King’s Road every evening. He enjoyed the freedom, the camaraderie, the sense of adventure and the sound of punk music blaring out of shop radios. Zip was older than these young punk rock fans and was wise enough to know he was a part of something very, very important.

Being part of the gang allowed Munnoch access to film his friends and acquaintances and between 1978 and 1981, in the guise of Captain Zip, Munnoch documented the street life of punks on the King’s Road. In the 1980s, Munnoch collected the first eight of these Super-8 home movies together to make the short documentary film Death Is Their Destiny that captured the subculture of punks in London.
 

 
Background on Phil Munnoch and Captain Zip plus interviews, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Wish you were vaporized: Charming postcards from the atomic age


 
One of the strange things about the Cold War, especially the first couple of decades, was the outpourings of public enthusiasm over atomic energy. In the abstract, it might not be so odd to celebrate the awesome power of the atom, discovered by brilliant scientists, with the ability, in theory, to solve the species’ energy problems for ever. But in the event, atomic energy was introduced to the public in the near-annihilation of two Japanese cities, and all of the rhetoric around the technology occurred in the context of a deadly game of global brinksmanship between the United States and the USSR. Add to that the scary disasters at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, disasters that the skeptical had been predicting for decades, and it’s hardly possible for happy-go-lucky celebrations of atomic energy to seem anything other than dopey.

These fascinating postcards from the end of WWII up to the 1970s and beyond constitute an irony-free zone.  They come from the dazzling volume Atomic Postcards by John O’Brian and Jeremy Borsos, published in 2011 by the University of Chicago Press. Perhaps the cards represented a kind of “poker face” in the deadly no-blink game of mutual assured destruction between the two Cold War superpowers but also China, Israel, and Japan—if you can write a cheery postcard about it, clearly you are not worried about the deadly destruction your enemies can muster.

At DM we have looked at this side of the Cold War before, when we looked at “Tic, Tic, Tic,” Doris Day’s jaw-dropping ode to the geiger counter in Michael Curtiz’s 1949 movie My Dream Is Yours, which counts among its fans none other than Martin Scorsese.

As Slate’s Tom Vanderbilt writes, “Taken as a whole, the postcards form a kind of de facto and largely cheery dissemination campaign for the wonder of atomic power (and weapons). And who’s to mind if that sunny tropical beach is flecked with radionuclides?”

These pictures are in approximate chronological order, to reflect the progressive phases of wish-you-were-here atomic propaganda.
 

 

 

The is the reverse side of the image above it.
 

 

 

 

The is the reverse side of the image above it.
 

 

 
More astonishing atomic postcards after the jump…..

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Psychedelic Sex’: The revealing retro coffee table book of trippy titillation
02.16.2015
10:59 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Sex

Tags:
Psychedelic
Sexploitation
Paul Krassner


 
Taschen has released a titillating title called Psychedelic Sex written and compiled by Yippie co-founder and Realist publisher Paul Krassner with self-proclaimed obsessive collector, Eric Gotland. The racy retro collection is edited by Dian Hanson whose job title at Taschen appears actually to be “Sexy Book Editor.” Nice! Hanson produced a ton of men’s magazines from Juggs to Legshow between 1976 and 2001 and is also responsible for other Taschen titles like The Little Book of Big Penis and The Big Butt Book 3D, so obviously you might want to get your hands on Psychadelic Sex. The addition of Paul Krassner’s penchant for countercultural hilarity makes this kind of a must have in my humble opinion.

From Taschen’s website:

In a brief golden span between 1967 and 1972, the sexual revolution collided with recreational drug exploration to create “psychedelic sex.” While the baby boomers blew their minds and danced naked in the streets, men’s magazine publishers attempted to visually recreate the wonders of LSD, project them on a canvas of nubile hippie flesh, and dish it up to men dying for a taste of free love.

Way Out, Groovie, Where It’s At—each magazine title vied to convince the straight audience it offered the most authentic flower power sex trip, complete with mind-bending graphics and all-natural hippie hotties. Along the way hippies joined in the production, since what could be groovier than earning bread in your birthday suit?

At its height, psychedelic sex encompassed posters, tabloids, comics, and newsstand magazines, but the most far-out examples of all were the glossy magazines from California, center of both hippie culture and the budding American porn industry. It’s these sexy, silly reminders of peace, love, and pudenda we celebrate in Psychedelic Sex.

Do I really need to tell you that these images (except maybe the one of the book cover) probably aren’t safe for work?  I’m assuming the little winking smiley faces are added by Taschen for the website and don’t actually show up when you buy the book.
 
Article Cover - Psychedelic Sex
 
Psychedelic Sex1
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and friends.
 
Drugged and Liked It
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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Kanye West gets a Beck beatdown, New York style
02.13.2015
09:10 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Beck
Kanye West


 
I’m a loser baby so why don’t you kill me?
 
Despite being an awards show junkie I make an exception for the Grammy Awards and usually avoid it. But thanks to Kanye West bumrushing Beck on stage it was impossible to avoid that part of the show. It was everywhere. At first I found West’s actions amusing and then not. The amusing part was Kanye seemingly poking fun at himself for his Taylor Swiftboating routine at the VMA Awards in 2009. Unfortunately, the funny part was quickly erased from my brain by West’s backstage comments about Beck being undeserving of the award, not artistic enough or something like that, and that Beyoncé should have won. Unless you’ve been on a media fast the past week, you’ve been exposed to West’s tiresome bullshit which essentially boils down to him disrespecting Beck’s worth as a musician and songwriter. West backed-down a bit when he claimed that “voices in his head” made him do it:

So the voices in my head told me go and then I just walked up like halfway up the stage.

Beck’s win for album of the year was a surprise to most people (they called it an “upset”).  But really it’s one of the rare moments in Grammy history where the voters got it right. Morning Phase is a brilliant work on all levels: performance, production and songwriting. It’s an album every bit as good as another favorite of mine:  My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West. Too bad West couldn’t recognize an artistic peer when he saw one. Beck did. He called West “a genius.” With one classy choice of words, Beck wiped the self-satisfied smirk from West’s ever-present and often intrusive face.

Last night Kanye West played an outdoor concert in the Flatiron district of New York City and was greeted by some Flatiron dwellers with an allegiance to Beck and a sense of humor. Ad agency PNYC and some anonymous neighbors had highly visible messages for Kanye. I’m hoping that West interrupted the voices in his head for a moment and looked skyward and realized that karma is a bitch.
 

 

 
Via The Gothamist.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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‘The Last of the Teddy Girls’: Ken Russell’s nearly lost photographs of London’s teenage girl gangs

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Though Ken Russell wanted to be a ballet dancer, his father wouldn’t hear of it—no son of his would ever be seen in tights—so the young Russell turned his attention to photography, a craft he thought he could make his name with. He attended Walthamstow Technical College in London, where he was taught all about lighting and composition. Russell would later claim that everything he did as a trainee photographer broke the rules—a trend he continued throughout his career as a film director when producing such acclaimed movies as Women in Love, The Music Lovers, The Devils, Tommy, Altered States and Crimes of Passion.

Russell became a photographer for Picture Post and the Illustrated Magazine, and during his time with these publications took some of the most evocative photos of post-war London during the 1950s. He spent his days photographing street scenes and his nights printing his pictures on the kitchen table of his rented one-bed apartment in Notting Hill.
 
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For fifty years, it was believed Russell’s photos had been lost, but in 2005 a box marked “Ken Russell” was discovered in the archives of a photo library. Inside was over 3,000 of Ken’s negatives.

Among his most famous work from this period is “The Last of the Teddy Girls”—a series of photos documenting London’s girl gang subculture and their male counterparts. Russell was attracted to these young women for their sense of independence and style—dressing in suits, land army clothes—while rejecting society’s expectations of more traditional, feminine roles. (Teddy kids of either sex were known for fights breaking out wherever they congregated.) The images show Russell’s innate talent for composition and offer a fascinating look into a rarely documented female subculture.
 
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More of Unkle Ken’s beautiful photos, after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The Ministry of Silly Clocks, fun timepieces based on the classic Monty Python sketch
02.13.2015
06:48 am

Topics:
Pop Culture
Television

Tags:
John Cleese
Monty Python
clocks


 
Oh, the Internet, you and all your inspired goofy crap that I want… Today’s coveted objects are these marvelous timepieces, based on the classic Monty Python sketch “Ministry of Silly Walks,” using John Cleese’s legs and umbrella as the clocks’ hands.
 

Ministry of Silly Walks ‘pocket watch’ wall/desk mount clock
 

Ministry of Silly Walks wristwatch
 


Ministry of Silly Walks world clock

If you’re of a crafty bent, you might make your way to sillywalkclock.blogspot.com, where a Blogger user named Suzanne has published detailed and generously illustrated instructions for making your own Ministry of Silly Walks clock out of materials cheaply and readily available at any craft store.
 

 
If you don’t know the sketch, oh dear GOD, let’s get you up to speed, shall we? It was originally aired in the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ second season, and it features a lanky and limber Cleese executing some of the most uproarious physical comedy ever committed to film, all while maintaining a completely serious deadpan expression. At one point, the sheer volume of the studio audience’s laughter is sufficient to render Cleese’s lines completely inaudible. In his The First 20 Years of Monty Python (later revised as The First 28 Years of Monty Python), prolific Python chronicler Kim “Howard” Johnson relates Graham Chapman’s tale of the sketch’s origin:

John Cleese and I were writing together one day, and John had been thinking of doing something about anger. He’s very good at it, and he likes that emotion very much indeed. I’d been noticing that there were all sorts of ministries for strange things that were likely to distract people from the main issues of the day, and make it look like the government was doing something. A lot of attention would either go to a drought or a flood that probably didn’t exist anyway, and there seemed to be lots of useless ministries. I thought, why not a Ministry of Anger?

It’s difficult to remember whether it was John’s or my idea, but I do know that the next stage was Silly Walks, which was more ludicrous and petty than an emotion like anger. My house was on a very steep hill, and we saw a man walk past, uphill, stooped very sharply backward, defying the laws of gravity! Well, we thought Silly Walks was a good idea, but we couldn’t quite think how to develop it.

As usual, we were supposed to be writing something else when this idea occurred—anything to prevent us from getting to that work! But we thought we’d better get on to writing what we were supposed to be writing. So we rang up Mike (Palin) and Terry (Jones)—to interrupt them from whatever they were supposed to be doing—and made them write the sketch.

 

 
Previously on Dangerous Minds
Monty Python: the true story behind the ‘Dead Parrot Sketch’
Cleese Crossing

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
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Don’t mess with these hot mamas: Vintage photos of badass Roller Derby Girls
02.12.2015
01:25 pm

Topics:
Feminism
History
Pop Culture
Sports

Tags:
roller derby


1950
 
Here are some vintage photos ranging from the early 1940s to 1970s of women’s roller derby competitions. As you can see by the images, these women ain’t takin’ no shit while they’re on their skates. It’s hardcore stuff.

I tried to add captions to photos I could find information on. I also included a movie trailer at the bottom of this post for the 1972 film Kansas City Bomber starring Raquel Welch. Because RAQUEL WELCH ON ROLLER SKATES! Honestly, what more could you want?
 

 

Chicago, IL. 1948
 

 

Midge Brasuhn of the Brooklynites
 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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These paintings evoke the 1980s in all its plastic neon-pastel cocaine glory
02.09.2015
01:25 pm

Topics:
Art
Pop Culture

Tags:
Yoko Honda


 
Yoko Honda was a teenager in the 1980s, a fact that is evident everywhere in her work. Her images unstintingly evoke Los Angeles and Miami of the coked-up Miami Vice years when Michael Jackson and Madonna dominated the pop landscape, when Corey Hart wore his sunglasses at night and Frankie Goes to Hollywood urged listeners to “Relax.” Patrick Nagel‘s sleek women adorned the cover of Duran Duran’s Rio as well as the living rooms of many a day trader.

As Rachel Shearer writes,
 

This particular series of 80s inspired images are testament to her artistic knowledge and interpretive skills. Having grown up as a teen in this era, she was immersed in the art, movies, commercials and TV series that formed the distinctly recognizable flavor, color and style. Listening to the musical strains of a range of classics, the 80s moods return to mind and allow her to transfer these images from memory to print.

A painter at heart, Honda also uses Photoshop to amplify her prints with a strong, modern punch that simultaneously exaggerates the old-school vibes and catapults the designs into the 21st Century. Hoping to inspire feelings of nostalgia and love in her audience, Honda pulls on the heart strings of those who long for the lost era with gentle nods to pop cult trends of motels, Michael Jackson (circa “Thriller”) and playful tacky shades of Boogie Nights that make us yearn for a disco pool-party where it was completely acceptable to wear feather boas, sequins and heels.

 
Her work reminds me an unholy combination of David Hockney and Wayne Thiebaud with a soupçon of the interiors of Bojack Horseman, perhaps.

Her book Summertime Love will be available in June, but you can preorder it now.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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‘Amazing Stories’: The bizarre-o pulp science fiction artwork of Frank R. Paul
02.06.2015
09:24 am

Topics:
Art
Pop Culture
Science/Tech

Tags:
Frank R. Paul

Frank R. Paul Covers
 
The hardest part about this post has been deciding which of Frank R. Paul’s mind-bending works of satisfyingly strange science fiction art NOT to feature here on Dangerous Minds. Virtually everything the man touched was oddly compelling. The creative genius behind some of the most delightful pulp magazine cover art in history and widely recognized as the “Father of Science Fiction Illustration,” Paul crafted hundreds of vibrant and wonderfully weird compositions to be used as illustrations for several pioneering science fiction periodicals including Fantastic Adventures, Wonder Stories, Science Fiction and Amazing Stories among many others. 

Some of Paul’s work was collected in a 2013 book called Frank R. Paul: The Dean of Science Fiction Illustration from IDW Publishing. In the portion of the book on trailblazing science fiction publication, Amazing Stories, the chapter’s author, Frank Hill documents Paul’s storied working relationship with influential science fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback. According to Hill, Gersback began publishing Amazing Stories in 1926 after the success of his Science and Invention magazine at a time when there were only two other science fiction magazines available: Argosy and Weird Tales

It’s pretty incredible what you could by for a quarter in those days. Here’s Hill’s description of the first issue of Amazing Stories:

Naturally, the cover and interior illustrations for this issue were supplied by Frank R. Paul, who had been in Gernsback’s employment since around 1914. The new magazine had a distinct look about it, containing ninety-six pages and printed on heavy paper with even heavier cover stock. The whole magazine weighed in at half a pound, measured over a half-inch thick, and contained stories by Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, among others.

   
With Frank R. Paul working as illustrator, Amazing Stories quickly became very successful according to Hill, reaching a distribution of 100,000 readers. Ray Bradbury once said: “Paul’s fantastic covers for Amazing Stories changed my life forever.” 

Frank R. Paul was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009.

I did the absolute best I could in matching the images below with the publications in which they originally appeared, and I hope that I wasn’t too egregiously off on any of these.
 
Tetrahedra of Space
“Tetrahedra of Space,” November, 1931 Wonder Stories Cover
 
Air Wonder Stories Frank R. Paul
Air Wonder Stories Front Cover August, 1929
 
Wonder Stories Cover, February, 1933 Frank R. Paul
Wonder Stories Cover, February, 1933
 
Much more after the jump…

Posted by Jason Schafer | Discussion
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