Robert Weiner sent me a .jpg of a piece of original art in his collection. The painting was for Signet 1448, FIND MY KILLER by Manly Wellman. This is the second Signet printing of this title, dated October 1957, with new cover art. The painting, signed by Paul Rader, is a welcome and important addition to our Rader checklist because 1957 was the first year I could find with Rader cover art appearing on a vintage paperback. So this is one of Rader's earliest paperback covers. One of the reasons I didn't show this cover on my 2003 Rader checklist was because all of the price guides credit this art to Robert Maguire. I've traced that incorrect assignment back to RC & Elwanda Holland. The Hollands were great early supporters of Lynn Munroe Books, and they did a tremendous amount of fabulous work for the paperback collecting hobby. But nobody is perfect, and if they were unsure who painted a cover, they guessed. They guessed right most of the time, but they were mistaken about FIND MY KILLER. Rader's signature is cropped off on many copies of this book. Here is a copy with the signature visible in the bottom left corner.


My 2003 Rader checklist showed a Rader magazine cover painting for the October 1961 issue of TRUE DETECTIVE. It took me 7 years to realize there could be other issues of TRUE DETECTIVE with Rader covers, and in fact Rader did six of them. Here is the link to the October 1961 cover from my Rader checklist:


And here is Paul Rader's cover for the November 1961 issue:


Although they changed to the photo covers that the other detective magazines were doing later in 1962, TRUE DETECTIVE was highlighted for several years with colorful painted covers by great illustrators. 1961 was a particularly vivid set with covers by Joe Little, Brendan Lynch, and - for the last three months of the year - Paul Rader. This is TRUE DETECTIVE for December 1961 with voodoo doll cover art by Paul Rader. The cover artists are credited on the table of contents page inside.


Paul Rader painted three more covers for TRUE DETECTIVE in 1962. This is the February 1962 number, complete with a gun marked with “Exhibit A” and a Rader redhead on the witness stand.



TRUE DETECTIVE started publishing in the 1920s and was a newsstand mainstay for many decades. The classic years of TD included many painted covers – and Rader continued that tradition in 1961 and 1962.


TRUE DETECTIVE April 1962. By July of 1962, TRUE DETECTIVE had switched to photo covers. Slowly, a magazine at a time, the great art of magazine illustration diminished and all but died out. We still see some painted covers now and then even today, but like the man said, “It ain't like it used to be.”


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