Click Group of Images Beginning with:




Lion 100 -


Lion Library


LL 100 -


Martin Goodman, who owned a pulp magazine and comic empire that included Marvel Comics, started Lion Books in 1949. His first several paperbacks were Red Circle Books (Goodman also published Red Circle Magazine), but the Lion name and famous Lion colophon soon graced the cover on all of his books. Book numbers 1 through 7, plus 12 & 13, were Red Circle Books. 8 & 11, and 14 through 233 made  up the original Lion series.

There were two distinct series. Lion’s standard sized 25¢ book was printed until 1955. Beginning in 1954, Lion began printing Lion Library (35¢ LL series, tall-format) and Lion Books (25¢ LB series, which included both tall and standard format), in combined sequential order.

Lion cover art was first-rate, and many covers and titles were overtly provocative. This alone would make Lions popular with today’s collectors. But several authors who had modest beginnings with Lion became exceedingly collectible, among them David Goodis, Jim Thompson, and Robert Bloch. These factors seem to combine to make Lion one of the most sought-after labels among collectors today.

Significant back-cover art also became prevalent in the early fifties, and followed the Lion Library series until the end. The price guides indicate that New American Library bought Lion, and all its rights, in the summer of 1957. However, Ken Johnson believes that is actually an urban myth, and that the company just went out of business (even though several Lion titles were later reprinted under the Signet label).

Many thanks to contributors of Lion cover art. Fred Meyerriecks sent me scans of his entire Lion collection.


For MUCH more information on Lion Books, see Kenneth R. Johnson's ground-breaking reference book "Defunct Paperbacks." Click HERE.







This page was updated in May 2017