Ugly Mexicans and sexy gringas — pulp fiction history of hate (toons)

by HABLO PICASSO on March 18, 2014 in Cartoons, Cultura

spicy640Bill “Memo” Nericcio, author, professor at San Diego State University and proprietor of the Tex[t]-Mex Gallery Blog, collects representations of Mexican-Americans in pop culture.

He just posted a set of scanned 1936-37 covers from pulp fiction magazine Spicy Western Stories and its siblings that all exploit the same stereotype — the leering (ugly) (brown) bandido and the (scantily-clad) (white) chica/victim in distress. Hate much?

The image above is just one slice of the four covers Memo found; the big images of all four are below (click to enlarge):

spicymay spicyjanuary spicynovember spicyalsomay Memo goes around the country with a portable — and ever-changing — exhibit of this stuff. Check out his blog and also his Facebook page for more info.

We looked online for a text version of one of these stories and we only found e-pub versions from the publisher’s generic Spicy Stories magazine, but what we found will give you a good idea of what these pulp fiction zines were about.

[Click for the next page.]

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{ 2 comments }

Ren Galskap March 25, 2014 at 2:07 AM

On the first cover, the “Hellcat” of the title has obviously had too much to drink and it is the unfortunate Mexican bouncer’s job to eject her from the bar before she removes any more of her clothing.

The second cover shows a dark haired woman with a rose behind one ear, large hoop earrings, off-the-shoulder blouse, and a skirt hemmed at a rakish angle, suggesting a sort of Carmen-esque Spanish gitana figure. She appears to be enjoying a BDSM relationship with a Brazilian gaucho. I take this to be an allegory of Spanish-Portuguese colonial mercantile exchange.

The third cover shows a brave Mexican patriot who, armed only with a Bowie knife, is single-handedly defending Mexico’s borders against the incursions of the evil “Blackjack” Pershing, only to be betrayed by the “Traitoress” of the title who has snuck around behind him and is firing at his back. Alternately, he’s the producer of an upcoming telenovela and she’s trying to persuade him to cast her as the heroine by displaying her ability to flash her boobs while simultaneously discharging firearms. The fact that she’s a horrible shot and has accidentally winged him only lends verisimilitude to her performance. We just assume that a telenovela actress, given half a chance, will shoot the wrong person.

On the last cover, the noble vaquero and his valiant steed have gallantly charged into the midst of a gang of kidnappers. The vaquero has grasped the reigns of the horse ridden by the red-headed kidnapping victim and, heedless of his own safety, is racing her away while fighting off their pursuers. You can tell he’s the hero because he’s riding a white horse. Admittedly, he’s keeping her between himself and the pursuers, which is to say that he’s using her to shield him from their bullets, but this is the third under-dressed redhead he’s saved this week and these pinches gringas gotta start contributing something to their own rescue.

Reuben Reynoso March 26, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Ren Galskap… just.pure.awesome.

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