Super cool illustrator L. B. Cole proves once again the best sleaze came from comic book illustrators. Cole had a doctorate degree in anatomy and used it to good advantage by rendering hot bad women and the occasional throbbing rocket ship.
Love Above All (which unlike nearly every book posted on the site I have actually almost read) is FILTHY.
In the steamy novel, Les Carver returns from war to the "simple, little plump girl" he once promised to marry. Her weight is discussed frequently in the book. His eyes wander. Les is "irresistibly drawn into a whirlpool of drink, debauchery, wild sex orgies…" and more. HOT. Author Eliot Brewster is due a revival, and also wrote the spicy little numbers below.
But who cares. Guys are visual, the cover sells the book, and it's all about the artist, not the author. On Love Above All the author's name doesn't even appear, but Cole's certainly does. He places his signature so prominently on the filthy ashtray it can't be rubbed out. Remember being told not to judge a book by the cover? Go ahead. You can't read drunk anyway. Buy the artist.
Leonard Brandt Cole was one of the best.
Like Bilbrew ten years later, Cole's men have greasy, troubled hair falling perfectly down their troubled foreheads. Smoke initially rises towards the wedding, but swirls over to the dame…the same hot dame nearly impaled on a bottle of whiskey. What man returning from the war wouldn't drift like smoke to the dark side?
After the unspeakable horror of war, many men had a choice. Do what is "right" or pound it away, literally, against a loose bed board in squalor. Is there a cheap motel shown on this cover? Does there need to be? Look into his eyes.
Not all Cole's digest covers required a bad woman and a troubled man, so Cole would add some dripping blood.
Cole is responsible for some of the most striking comic book covers you will ever see. An outstanding sample is HERE on the Monster Brains website. Lean back before you click. But Cole was at his best when things in the head were at their worst.
Love Above All by Eliot Brewster (cover by L. B. Cole) 1945 Palace Promotions (Phoenix Press) New York Collection Jim Linderman
Jim Linderman books and ebooks are HERE