Some would argue that video games occupy the same corner of pop culture today which pulp fiction took up in the 30s and 40s. There’s the same spread of genres–from hardboiled crime to space opera and sword & sorcery–and Sam Spade, Solomon Kane, and Buck Rogers were very much the Max Payne, Geralt of Rivia, and Samus Aran of their day. Artist Astor Alexander noticed these parallels and decided to make the connection a bit more literal with a stylish series of faux covers.
What if BioShock actually came out as a book in the same era as The Fountainhead? What if Mario, Link and the Princesses Peach and Zelda all starred in detective yarns? What if Metroid were sold on the same shelf as Flash Gordon and The Lensmen? The softcovers would look like these, most likely.
Astor runs much farther with this conceit throughout his gallery, putting the Witcher and even Super Smash Brothers through the same retro make-over. Seeing Geralt and Yennefer play some Long Goodbye dress-up is definitely a stitch. A special stand-out, however, might be the Zelda piece, which swaps Conan and Thoth Amon out for Link and Ganondorf in a cover that definitely would’ve fit on Weird Tales.
Astor even expands his focus to include the pulpy purview of shonen anime, with multi-part covers devoted to the chapters of Dragonball Z‘s storied “Androids Saga.” Toriyama’s designs would seem a few universes away from pulp style, but these takes on Cell, Dr. Gero and Androids 17 and 18 seem almost shockingly appropriate. You can find all of these and more over on his DeviantArt page.
Have any of these covers made you look at pulp/game parallels in a new light? Which contemporary video games are the pulpiest? Hit the talkback with your thoughts and ideas.
Image Credits: Astor Alexander