Book/Magazine Covers (All) · Illustration Art · Look Here · Robert Bonfils

Look Here: Three “Operator 5” paperbacks with lurid cover art by Robert Bonfils

From the musty pulp paperback collection of yours truly, here are today’s minty fresh scans:


I’m sure there are others on the Web who have scanned and posted all of the covers in the “Operator 5” series, but I only own three, and unless I run across them for sale cheap at a thrift store, I don’t intend to complete my collection. So if you’re hoping for more “Operator 5” here at RCN, you’re likely going to be disappointed.

My favourite cover of the “Operator 5” books that I own is the one for Blood Reign of the Dictator. The image is so extreme that when I first saw it, I burst out laughing. It probably sold a lot of books, though.

Notice that artist Robert Bonfils has taken the liberty of removing the movable part of the guillotine’s lunette, i.e., the device that holds the head in place, so the executioner can be depicted forcing the woman’s head under the blade with his one hand while he releases the blade with his other. Action, not accuracy, is the goal here.

In the real world, however, I suspect it is a lot safer to keep your guillotine properly maintained, with all essential components attached and in good working order, than it is to improvise in front of a madding crowd. Although if one were hell bent on destruction, who knows what ridiculous health and safety risks one might outface?

Keywords: Bounding out of the thirties, Operator 5, Legions of the Death Master, The Army of the Dead, Blood Reign of the Dictator.

3 thoughts on “Look Here: Three “Operator 5” paperbacks with lurid cover art by Robert Bonfils

  1. I wonder if cover art like this will ever make a comeback. Too many times (aside from classic/romance novels) most books use some form of photo manipulation & I think that takes away from the art of it all.


  2. Perhaps you should take a look at the early Bob Morane covers by Pierre Joubert (and those by Henri Lievens from the early seventies)… They are a little bit more tame but only because the stories were aimed at teenage boys…


  3. A few contemporary publishers such as Hard Case Crime continue to carry the torch for pulp-art covers in traditional mediums such as oil or tempera. But as accomplished as some of the covers are, they also reek of nostalgia… just like this blog…

    Je m’accuse!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.