Pop-Up Pulp: Book Covers Made Into Dramatic 3D Scenes

The sensational cover art of old pulp fiction novels has long been a source of fascination for lovers of unusual art. The images on the front of the books almost seemed like natural extensions of the lurid, provocative and often very weird tales within. Artist Thomas Allen uses a unique approach to celebrate the unforgettable art of the pulp novel: he turns the cover characters into the stars of their own tiny, dramatic dioramas.

Given the already-sensational nature of pulp cover art, Allen’s work does not seem like a stretch at all. It is a rather more visceral display of the classic artworks, taking them out of their original context and bringing them into the third dimension, sometimes with the books themselves acting as props, backgrounds and even characters.

Allen constructs scenes based solely on the men and women depicted on the covers of these aged novels. He carefully cuts them from their surroundings and arranges them into new situations, often changing the context slightly to create entirely new scenes.

From cheating lovers to tough-as-nails cowboys to drop-dead gorgeous femme fatales, pulp novel covers offer a wealth of fascinating characters for Allen to work with. Once he chooses his subjects and carefully arranges them in their new three-dimensional worlds, he photographs them with a shallow depth of field. The results are scenes made of pure humor.

Allen’s scenes are a delightful departure from the usual fate of these novels, which is to be read once and then filed away on a bookshelf forever. When this artist gets his hands on them, they are given hilarious new lives inspired by the well-loved pop-up books of our collective childhood.