Pulp art is an under appreciated art form, one woman was a revolutionary in the field. Honing her unique style of sexuality and horror into a recognisable signature. Margaret Brundage.
Born Margaret Hedda Johnson on 9th December 1900 in Chicago. Attending the same high school (McKinley High School) with Walt Disney, starting her publishing training as the editor of the school newspaper. Once she graduated school, Brundage attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts from 1921-23. Whilst performing freelance illustrations (which sadly caused Brundage to fail her aforementioned course). Now that prohibition was in full swing Brundage married Myron ‘Slim’ Brundage.
Between 1932-1945, Brundage created her most famous art for ‘Weird Times’ magazine. Her work both shocked and titillated the public; not only for her scantily clad damsels in distress. What caught the public off guard was that a WOMAN was capable of depicting pin ups in such sensual/sensational manner. 1934 saw a flurry of controversy indirectly from Brundage’s erotically potent pictures. Once the public realised that the artist M. Brundage was actually Margaret, they were suddenly appalled by the illustrations (if they had been by man, no one would have raised an eyebrow) Brundage also illustrated for H.P Lovecroft, Robert Bloch, Clarke Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard. However the good times were not to last, with increasing hostilities towards ‘obscene illustrations’ in pulp magazines (of which Brundage was an infamous offender) and given the frailty of her work. What also did not help was that the women in Brundage’s art appeared to be “menaced by all manner of monstrous beings”. This seeming victimisation could have rattled those who felt that she wished her subject matters suffering.
1940 saw Brundage part way with ‘Weird Times’ magazine, though she lost out financially. Brundage continued to appear at science fiction conventions and art fairs.
Brundage died on 9th April 1976, aged 76. Hopefully Brundage’s talent and vision will return her to the pantheon of pulp artists. Where she belongs.