POLLEN IN PRINT 1955-1959, our new Samson Pollen art book

Samson Pollen was one of the greatest of the many great artists who did artwork for men’s vintage adventure magazines published in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

He created hundreds of classic MAM illustrations and was one of the genre’s top artists, along with artists like Mort Künstler, Gil Cohen, James Bama, Bruce Minney, Vic Prezio, Mel Crair, and Basil Gogos.

Before Sam passed away in December 2018, I co-edited two books featuring original men’s adventure magazine artwork by Sam with him and my partner on the Men’s Adventure Library book series, Wyatt Doyle.

The first, POLLEN’S WOMEN: THE ART OF SAMSON POLLEN, focuses on MAM artwork he did that have scenes with sexy — or sometimes dangerous looking — female characters.

The second, POLLEN’S ACTION, showcases Pollen paintings of scenes done as illustrations for action/adventure MAM stories.

Both of those books are available on Amazon worldwide, or directly from at a discount via my eBay listings or the online bookstore linked to this blog.

I’m please to announce that this week, with the blessing of Sam’s widow Jacqueline Pollen, we are releasing a third Pollen art book titled POLLEN IN PRINT 1955-1959.

We’re initially offering this one only via an Indiegogo listing in two editions listed at the link SamsonPollen.com.

Both editions are deluxe hardcovers. But the exclusive limited edition we’re offering also includes an exclusive set of five of Sam’s 8” x 10” black-and-white artist’s reference proof sheets, with photos featuring the famed male paperback cover and magazine artists’ model, Steve Holland.

Holland was the favorite male model of scores of illustration artists from the mid-1950s until shortly before his death in 1997. His image was made particularly famous when artist James Bama used him as the model for Doc Savage, in his cover  paintings for the Bantam Doc Savage series.

Each copy of the special limited edition also has a special custom bookplate hand-signed by both Wyatt and me.

The Indiegogo listing also offers a hardcover edition of the book without the photo perks. It costs a bit less ($39 vs $45). But if you’re a fan of Samson Pollen or classic men’s pulp magazine artwork and history in general, I recommend getting a copy of the special limited edition with the photos while they last.

Here’s the official description from the Indiegogo page along with some images from the book…

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WHO IS IT?

Samson Pollen (1931–2018) has emerged as one of the most collected pulp fiction illustration artists of the men’s adventure magazine (MAM) era, from the 1950s through the 1970s, when his work appeared regularly in MAMs like Stag, Male, and For Men Only. There he illustrated hard-hitting short fiction by the forgotten and the famous, including gritty early stories by Mario Puzo, Norman Mailer, and Richard Wright. His work has lately been featured in periodicals such as Artforum, Illustration, and Intelligent Collector, and the collections Pollen’s Action and Pollen’s Women, published by New Texture.

WHAT IS IT?

Pollen In Print 1955–1959 is a big, sexy, action-packed collection of the artist’s earliest MAM illustration art just as it appeared in print. It is the first installment of a new deluxe-format series of books from the Men’s Adventure Library chronologically cataloging Pollen’s three decades of magazine work in its entirety.

WHO’S BEHIND IT?

The series editors are collector/historian Robert Deis and writer/designer Wyatt Doyle, with the cooperation of the artist’s estate. Together Deis and Doyle have produced over a dozen installments of the popular and critically acclaimed Men’s Adventure Library series of books, including Pollen’s Women and Pollen’s Action, deluxe, large-format collections created in collaboration with the artist, reproducing original paintings selected from his personal archive.

WHAT DO I GET?

An exclusive, limited edition bundle that includes a copy of the book signed by both editors on a special custom bookplate tipped-in by hand, accompanied by a limited edition set of five 8” x 10” black-and-white artist’s reference photos featuring Pollen’s favorite man of action, iconic illustration model Steve Holland. These proof sheet reproductions are struck from Pollen’s personal masters, each associated with a memorable painting from the book. These impossibly rare, previously unpublished images (some bearing the artist’s own framing marks) served as Pollen’s visual references for characters depicted in his work, and provide a unique glimpse into Pollen’s process of creating some of his most memorable — and in at least one instance, historic — illustrations. Pollen In Print is also available without the photo set and dual-signed bookplate, with optional signature or inscription by co-editor Robert Deis available upon request.

TELL ME MORE!

A lifelong New Yorker born in 1931, illustration artist Samson Pollen enjoyed early success as a cover artist for paperbacks before moving into magazine illustration in the mid-1950s. Almost all of Pollen’s magazine pieces were commissions for Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management Company (publishers of some of the best and longest lasting men’s adventure magazines (MAMs), from the ’50s through the ’70s, and birthplace of Marvel Comics). Interior two-page spreads, created under the direction of the art department, were his specialty. Determining the full extent of Pollen’s magazine work has been left to collectors and illustration art scholars to sort out. From his paperback book covers to his MAM images, Samson Pollen produced a daunting number of illustrations across the decades, numbering in the hundreds. So many, over so many years, that an accurate accounting is impossible to determine.

Our previous Men’s Adventure Library collections, Pollen’s Action and Pollen’s Women, drew from Pollen’s own archive of original artwork, presenting the cream of his personal holdings, raw and unedited, just as the images would have emerged from the artist’s studio decades ago. The aim of this new series is different. With Pollen in Print, we step out of one archive and into another — namely, the astonishing vintage magazine collection of the book’s co-editor Robert Deis — to assemble a complete chronological presentation of Pollen’s work as it was first seen by the public, in the original printed pages of the magazines the work was created for. Some pieces have remained out of view since their original publication, and see their first reprinting in several decades here.

Designed by co-editor Wyatt Doyle, this series also opens the door to the inclusion of less seen, less celebrated, but no less masterful “spot” illustrations (smaller sketch pieces, peppered throughout stories with lengthier page counts). Spot illustration may not have come with the same demands as painting spreads, but you’d never know it from Pollen’s detailed and inventive approach to them. Some even appear to be early drafts for compositions he’d later employ for other stories, in showier spreads. We include an ample selection in Pollen In Print, reproduced at a much larger size than their original publication to better savor every detail.

Pollen In Print is a 138-page, 11” x 8.5” deluxe hardcover, and will shelve perfectly with our prior Pollen collections, Pollen’s Action and Pollen’s Women.

The insights and revelations to be gleaned from this complete, chronological approach of the Pollen In Print series are significant, both in terms of bringing to light “lost” or long-unseen works, as well as at last being able to truly and accurately chart Pollen’s progress and evolution as an artist and illustrator.

To purchase Pollen In Print 1955-1959, visit www.SamsonPollen.com.

“He [a writer] tells stories on paper with a pen, and I tell them with a brush, you know? We’re both doing the same thing in a different way.” — Samson Pollen, on the artist as storyteller

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