Unusual? Not really. During the 1930s, actresses such as Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford appeared on the cover of True Confessions, which was read by millions. In fact, Lombard was on the cover at least one other time; we know the month was April, but we haven't been able to track down the year:
The initial Lombard cover we presented has some intriguing history of its own. The image was painted by a noted pin-up artist of the period, but what makes this so unusual is that she was a woman, named Zoe Mozert. (That wasn't her birth name, by the way; she was born Alice Adelaide Moser in 1907. Her younger brother Bruce also took the Mozert name and became a renowned photographer, specializing in underwater work.)
Zoe carved her niche in the pin-up industry by adding a feminine perspective to the allure game. She frequently served as her own model, and this picture shows she was eminently qualified:
She also designed several movie posters, including this one that shows off Jane Russell's mean, moody magnificence (and other assets):
Zoe continued her pinups during World War II with a successful series called "Victory Girls," and her career lasted into the 1950s. She died in Arizona in 1993.
That Lombard cover of hers -- not the entire magazine, just the cover -- is now available at eBay. To see it, go to http://cgi.ebay.com/1938-TRUE-CONFESSIONS-cover-Carole-LOMBARD-by-MOZERT_W0QQitemZ180283386196QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item180283386196&_trkparms=72%3A570%7C39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14. One bid has already been made; bidding lasts through Sunday evening.
Incidentally, True Confessions is still published and can be found on newsstands, although it's been a long time since movie stars appeared on the cover.