Here's another fiction illustration from 1943, from a serialized story called "Government Girl" in Ladies Home Journal.
Critics and historians have not paid much attention to periodical illustration, which makes it an interesting subject to study. I wrote an essay for the Ephemeral Beauty catalogue on Parker's work and its relation to modernism, "Abstraction in (dis)Guise; Al Parker, Fiction Illustration, and Commercial Modernism." Part of the fun was engaging the visual landscape across the market, including pulpier magazines of the period.
From my essay, concerning the spread above:
What,finally, is an Al Parker fiction illustration for? As aEphemeral Beauty will be at the Rockwell museum through the month of October. It's a bang-up show, and worth your while if you study visual culture.
general question, fiction illustrations seek to
entertain by staging scenes to enliven the text. But
Parker himself wrote dismissively of mere arrangements
of figures with complimentary shapes and
contemporary props. And strictly speaking, the
positioning of characters in dramatic displays does
not require an illustrator at all. Indeed, downmarket
women’s magazines stopped with the photo shoot.
The June 1951 issue of Life Romances, a typical
publication of its kind, features “nonfiction” articles
describing the misadventures of wayward women.
The story "Bride of Fear" uses a poor imitation of
a Parker illustration layout with display typography
and a pair of photographic cut-out figures, each on
the phone: the compromised bride-to-be and the
creepy blackmailing lout from her past, armed with
a highball and a grin. The photo credit for these
and comparable images throughout the magazine
goes to Trend Studios, an outfit billing substantially
less than a Westport illustrator with a swimming
pool. Understandably so: Ladies’ Home Journal
sold for a quarter a copy in 1951; Life Romances
went for fifteen cents.