I stumbled upon these fantastic covers of “gay pulp” paperbacks from the 1970s the other day and immediately became entranced with them. I saw a few of them at the blog Knee-Deep in the Flooded Victory and immediately knew I had to find out more. It turns out that these covers date from 1974 and 1975; they are from the “RAM-10” series from Hamilton House, a company about which I have no information.
It may not be apparent how unusually striking these covers are—for a nice gallery of more standard-issue gay paperback covers, you could do a lot worse than this post I did for DM a couple of years ago. You’ll see that the more usual style of gay pulp covers relies on well-nigh abstract juxtapositions of male silhouettes and that male/Mars symbol in garish colors. Not so for the RAM-10 series, which uses documentary-style photographic portraits of males dressed up as gay archetypes in front of a field of light blue or blood red, while a vertical line pierces the book’s title and author in a stately serif font. Actually, the covers remind me a bit of Gay Semiotics, the brilliantly deadpan monograph that photographer Hal Fischer published in 1977—high praise indeed.
All of these covers were a bit small in the formats I found them—it’d be great to get better scans of these titles. Who was the designer of these covers? Who was the photographer? I was able to get all of the covers except one—the missing volume is #102, which is E-Mission, by Chad Stuart, and that’s a shame, because according to Drewey Wayne Gunn in The Gay Male Sleuth in Print and Film: A History and Annotated Bibliography, that was a good one: “I particularly recommend E-Mission (1974) by Chad Stuart (William Maltese).”
One can safely assume that the names of the authors are psuedonyms, as Gunn’s quote above suggests. William Maltese, who wrote a few of these volumes, was formidable enough an author of gay pulp fiction that there is a bibliography dedicated to his work.
101. Tall Timber, by Wolfe Bronson
103. Saddle Buddy, by Tex Shulanski
104. Hunk, by Dick Baldwin
Many more 1970s gay pulp covers after the jump…