Don't get me wrong. I like scanitly clad blonde cavewomen as much as the next guy. But are there any pulps that take a more realistic approach to the concept? I mean, the cavewomen on the covers are far too well groomed for people who are living in the wilderness and fighting dinosaurs and mammoths.
A lot more stone age stories are more accurate and researched than you’d think, but that’s very seldom reflected in the cover art. This is something people need to understand about cover art: it’s not designed to accompany or reflect the story, it’s designed to advertise the story. So no matter what’s on the inside of the book, the cover will have stone age societies with highly advanced push-up bra technology and Cover Girl cavewomen (although you won’t hear any complaints at my end about that…that’s the opposite of a problem!)
Cover art is advertising, and uses the principles of psychology and marketing. If you want to understand this better, I recommend reading “Frank Kelly Freas: As He Sees It.” Among other things, this is why covers tend to use the hero-monster-girl cover over and over and over, because it creates emotional involvement. The threatened, vulnerable beautiful girl creates an instinctive need to protect that draws you in, the monster creates a threat, and the hero is someone the reader projects themselves into. Interestingly, research shows the hero-monster-girl cover creates the same reaction in women as it does in men.
As Freas himself said, “advertisers love it when you think you can’t be manipulated, because that means you’re not analyzing all the ways you can be.”
If you want brutal realism and scientific accuracy in your stone age story, you can’t do much better than one written by a true-blue paleoanthropologist, Björn Kurtén, “The Dance of the Tiger” from 1980. It’s yet another novel about Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal contact, the same as the Hok the Mighty stories, Clan of the Cave Bear, and Golding’s “The Inheritors,” except that Kurtén believed the way it all played out was interbreeding. Neanderthals in particular loved the African-originating Homo Sapiens because of how smooth their brows were, which reminds them of children, and therefore looks “cute.”