Every Clyde needs his Bonnie... but in crime fiction in the mainstream magazines of the 50's, gun molls were rarely depicted.
And when an artist did paint a lady with a tommy gun, as Ken Riley did for "Hollywood Calling" in the January '55 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, she came off looking like a younger, hotter, deadly June Cleaver.
Norm Saunders, veteran of a million billion pulp illustrations probably got it right. His depiction of Ma Barker from this undated, unknown publication is likely a far more accurate example of a real life gun moll.
I don't have a lot of pulp magazines to check through - but based on my search through The Post, Collier's and American magazine, I get the feeling that the the tommy gun-totin' female never really made it onto many top ten lists of "Bad Girls We Like to Fantasize About" - otherwise there would be more examples to show you.
Some interesting developments regarding yesterdays illustrations...
TI list member, Armando Mendez sent this note:
"This is a swag--a super wild ass guess--but I think the unknown pulp artist is none other than Al Williamson or perhaps a group effort or assist those EC guys were famous for. I think it is possible that many hands could be involved."
"In the early 50s ('51-53), young buck Williamson would've all over the place, every corner of the publishing industry. Most of his stuff was for science fiction and westerns but he did do other things."
Armando sent along this scan of a 1969 strip by Williamson for comparison and adds,
"Panels 2, 6 and 13 are especially evocative of Secret Agent Corrigan, the tight close ups of the hands holding the rifles chest high and the stark high contrast inking approach."
And another TI list member sent this scan below from Jim Steranko's 1976 graphic novel, Chandler: Red Tide, and writes:
"I thought the latest posting looked kinda familiar, eh?"
Looks like Wally Wood wasn't the only great classic comic artist who was willing to drop the occassional swipe into his work, huh?