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Exploring the Genesis and Potential of Crime Detective Magazine Covers

By Edited Jul 24, 2016 0 0

detective crime scene

A selection of detective magazine covers tries to cover an array of crime topics on a bad magazines website, and these crime detective magazine covers range from sexual crimes to violent world and outlaw bikers among others. This article will discuss the development of this particular genre.


Though websites that display crime detective magazine covers are not as comprehensive as one would wish they were, they make a commendable attempt to provide readers a more inclusive picture on what has been published over a period of time. There is a book published and devoted to bizarre, peripheral and strange detective magazine covers due to the fact that the publishing side of crime detectives has not been fully explored on print.

Tracing the genesis of detective magazines

Detective magazines

In many cases, there is no information available readily and when it is there, it is only limited to what is available to a particular periodical. The new contribution to the few existing articles and books on crime detective magazine covers is likely to generate more interest in the matter and get more people to contribute in taking the focus higher with the blurry photos that are so far available. Having more of such materials being made available by a wider audience through internet increases the urge to sort out the history of materials sent even more.

The selection of detective magazines comprises a compilation of various crime titles, each with little capsules here and there that have been scrutinised over time. Several of those magazines were bought as soon as they were available on newsstands while others were purchased out of curiosity and as collection items from online stores such as eBay. Among others, the detective magazine covers have a focus on sleazy, violent, sensational as well as amusing strangeness of stories in the crime world as they find their way to adult and peripheral magazines with occasional tour to main stream and the tabloid press.

An assortment of information, photos and art

Detective magazine art

Crime detective magazine covers present a fairly wide range of photos, art and adverts gotten from the rack slideshows magazines for adults in the second half of the twentieth century. With a lot having been documented about equivalents of films of these magazines, it is probably time to look closely at the other side, the print side hence the attempts to add and make another facet of information available.

Looking through detective magazines and reading materials that is relates to them from the book, you notice that there are several themes that congruently run together on subjects of Ed Wood, adult magazines, countercultural general soup boiling in Los Angeles and its environs, outlaw bikers and hippies and more particularly, the Valley of San Fernando between late 50’s and early 70’s.  Most of these magazines were created and came out in the same setting.

Entry modern day sexual revolution

sexual revolution

Modern day sexual revolution can be traced back to the landmark publication of the initial issue of Playboy in the early 50’s. Most crime detective magazine covers included capture the scope of the revolution on open sexual expression. The magazines capture sexual revolution from its days of infancy in the fifties to its development in the seventies while focusing mostly on its untamed adolescence in the last half of the sixties and early seventies because this is when it was most interesting. 

Further, this revolution got to its puberty stage with the bringing in of pubic hair into magazines that are most nude eventually paving way for the now conventional girlie magazines in early seventies by Penthouse. The revolution lost its innocence with the blast of hardcore films throughout the country after the release of the film Deep Throat as well as publication of the Hustler in 1974.

Focus on contemporary issues

Contemporary Detective Magazine Cover

Some of the crime detective magazine covers distantly associated themselves with current affairs of their day. For instance, there were some that were concerned with the Women’s (Liberation) Movement, a social movement taking place at the time. Other issues that crime detective magazines covers focused on were the outlaw biker and burgeoning hippie sub-cultures, nudism, communal living, true crime, the occult, protests on Vietnam War and many more. Some magazines opted to go for the value of pure shock and did succeed.

Looking at what is freely available today on the newsstands with advanced computer graphics, desktop publishing, information overload and an attitude of anything goes, a lot of appears to be tame  and dated but when you look at it in the context of when it was published, there is no doubt it was both bizarre and revolutionary. Most publishing firms were fly-by-night firms or kept changing their addresses and names to confuse people if they got them listed in the first place. Others did publish with various company names using the same address.

Articles, photos, stories and even layouts would come out a couple of years after the original publication in other magazines but apparently by different publishers. Most of these magazines had to be bought at adult book stores or by mail orders. This sought of added to their charm because they appeared to be forbidden. You would not find publications of their nature in your local store and if they got there, they were a few copies at best.


The internet is the finest tool to use to uncover and recover curiosities that form the crannies and nooks that such publications have been concealed in over the years so they are brought out to a bigger audience. Some publications available from the past are actually not as outdated as one may be tempted to think, they probably were ahead in their time in terms of subject and content matters. The total number of subject matter and titles of crime detective magazine covers is extremely overwhelming; it is enough to populate numerous volumes if they were listed.



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