Teen-Age Gangs was created by Rafael Desoto as cover art for a 1954 Popular Library Paperback Book written by Dale Kramer and Madeline Karr. A gritty defining example which shows a bleak sensationalized, youth gone wild culture, which was to captured the moral panic over juvenile delinquency that was a focal point of American culture in the 1950s, most notably explored in films like Rebel Without a Cause and Blackboard Jungle. The back cover text slug reads as follows: Here is the inside story of juvenile gangs in action - their hangouts and habits, their girl friends and underworld heroes: dope peddlers and bookies, trigger-happy hoodlums and easy money boys... The painting is signed lower right and a copy of the published paperback is included in the sale, by all standards just a masterpiece of scandalous pulp-fiction paperback art.
Rafael Desoto was one of several artists that made the transition to paperbacks from the pulps. He produced pulp covers up until the demise of the industry in the 1950s, for such magazines as Adventure, Argosy, Black Mask, Captain Zero, Crack Detective, Fantastic Novels, 15-Story Detective, Fifteen Western Tales, New Detective, Smashing Detective, and Walt Coburn's Western Magazine. In the 1950s he also produced many paperback book covers for Ace, Bantam, Dell, Lion, Signet, and Pocket Books, including the iconic H Is For Heroin for Popular Library.