Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Paperback 904: Redburn / Herman Melville (Anchor A118)

Paperback 904: Anchor Books A118 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: Redburn: His First Voyage
Author: Herman Melville
Cover artist: Edward Gorey (!)

Estimated value: $9

Best things about this cover:
  • Well, it's a Gorey, so there's that.
  • Sooooo much erotic tension.
  • His shirt is so red it hurts my teeth.
  • Barefoot! Adorbs.
  • Look at the rounded serifs on the "U" and "N"; again, adorbs.
  • I want a big checklist of all Gorey's cover art work. I don't actually want to see the covers ahead of time. I just want to know the titles to hunt for, so when I finally discover them, my joy can be fresh.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Well, nothing, so ... moving on.

Page 123~

"What was not wrong then, is right now," said Max; "so, mind your eye, Buttons, or I'll crack your pepper-box for you!"

OK that's as good as any hardboiled tough-guy film noir dialogue I've ever heard, even though I think he's just making phrases up.


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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Paperback 903: Joy Killer / Ralph Brandon (Vega V-4)

Paperback 903: Vega Books V-4 (PBO, 1960)

Title: Joy Killer
Author: Ralph Brandon
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $20 (unread / perfect condition)

[Newest addition to the Doug Peterson Collection!]

Best things about this cover:
  • I think that's her underwear on the floor wax can there. I think. For their sakes, I really hope the floor wax is for the floor.
  • Seaman Apprentice! Subtle.
  • I can't get over the fact that together, their names make BABY KILLER.
  • Once again, Vega (and Fabian, and Saber) books are the best, that is, the worst, in a good way. God bless Sanford Aday and his short-lived Fresno-based softcore ridicu-porn empire.

Best things about this back cover:
  • That first sentence of the second paragraph makes me think the writer hasn't really mastered the art of the conjunction.
  • So they're both kinky, but not in compatible ways? Am I reading that last sentence right?
  • I believe that the title "Joy Killer" makes absolutely no sense. Unless there is some as-yet unmentioned character named Joy ... nope, even then, no sense.

Page 123~

"An orgy of sensual lust! Oh Killer, that sounds so exciting."
"I'm trying to help you, you depraved female. Now pay attention to what the book says."

There follows several pages of Killer reading aloud from some kind of sex-phobic sex manual for new wives, which is then followed by a marriage consummation scene in which "I plunged my throbbing masculinity into the depths of her quivering feminity [sic]."


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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Paperback 902: The Black Curtain / Cornell Woolrich (Ace H-104)

Paperback 902: Ace H-104 (1st thus, 1968)

Title: The Black Curtain
Author: Cornell Woolrich
Cover artist: Stan Hunter [signature]

Estimated value: $12

Best things about this cover:
  • Conjoined twins connected at the forehead are pulled apart like taffy. The good twin becomes a stock broker, while the evil twin becomes someone who shoots squirrels with a shotgun. The stress of all this causes their mother to have a stroke that lands her in a wheelchair. I hate covers that give away the whole plot.
  • The one-mass-of-images style of cover art was, unfortunately, a popular thing for about five years in the '60s. It's as if, as the amount of real estate for images on covers shrank, the images that should have filled a whole cover decided to huddle together in a kind of amorphous glob. Rather than give the cover art room to breathe, or simplifying the art concept, the cover designers give us ... this.
  • My favorite part of this cover is the astonishingly legible full-name signature of the cover artist. Now I know whom to be mad at.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Text. Boring. Boo.
  • "You've heard of amnesia victims." Have I? How do you know? You don't know me.
    "An average person, like you..." Hey, that stings. YOU DON'T KNOW ME!
  • Frank Townsend would eventually find out he's spent three years pretending to be Dick Nixon.

Page 123~

The awful propinquity was over.


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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Paperback 901: The Queen's Awards / Ed. Ellery Queen (Perma Books M-3015)

Paperback 901: Perma Books M-3015 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: The Queen's Awards
Editor: Ellery Queen
Cover artist: William George

Estimated value: $10-14

Best things about this cover:
  • Hunting Che Fear Hand Strangulation Revolutionary Ponytail! I love this story!
  • Those frames are a bit ... ornate. That said, I'd kill for a real-life version of Strangulation in Red, frame and all.
  • Ellery Queen was a pseudonym for these guys. Also the name of the main character in their novels.

Best things about this back cover:
  • I give the opening alliterative salvo a C-.
  • "Anyway you like your murders..." is a phrase that bespeaks a certain Coliseum-esque savagery in the typical mystery story audience.
  • Eleazar Lipsky wrote the story that was the basis of the film noir classic "Kiss of Death" (1947).

Page 123~ [From "The Stroke of Thirteen" by Lillian de la Torre ("as told by James Boswell, August 1780") (!?!?!)]
"The ingenious Captain Donellan," replied Dr. Johnson, "is a disciple of Linnaeus. He grows the oriental poppy. With that cord-handled claw by his tent he sacrifices the capsule of the poppy, as I have been told they do it in the East Indies where he served. He collects the gum that forms. To put a name to it, it is opium. I smelled opium in the affair when I was informed that Allan MacDonald had been hearing 'sounds colored crimson,' as drugged men may do."
18th-century drug-induced synesthesia! Who saw that coming?


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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Paperback 900: Outlaw Guns / E.E. Halleran (Avon 522)

Paperback 900!!!!!!!!!!: Avon 522 (2nd ptg / 1st thus, 1953)

Title: Outlaw Guns
Author: E.E. Halleran
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $10-14

Best things about this cover:
  • I call this one "Rampant Horses On Yellow Background For Some Reason"
  • Beardy's all "Oh, 'Outlaw Guns' ... I get it now! Yuck yuck yuck .... boobs."
  • She has insane murdery dead-eyed vacant 1000-yard stare.
  • Bitch eyebrows? Bitch eyebrows.
  • This cover is terribly ill-conceived. *She* seems ready to go, right out of the box, but everything else (except the wicked awesome wood font and Beardy's mug!) is a total mess.

Best things about this back cover:
  • He looks less like a bandit and more like a guy protecting himself from a smell.
  • Still, that sketch is pretty cool. Love the cute yellow inset.
  • Well, of course, if you're gonna have "Outlaw Guns," you gotta have Outlaw Bullets. Otherwise you're just running around waving your guns going "pew! pew!"
  • "Pronto!"

Page 123~

"Don't jam the chute," Frazer warned him.

Good advice.


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Monday, July 6, 2015

Paperback 899: Messer Marco Polo: a love story / Donn Byrne (Penguin 611)

Paperback 899: Penguin 611 (1st ptg, 1946)

Title: Messer Marco Polo
Author: Donn Byrne
Cover artist: jonas

Estimated value: $9-12

Best things about this cover:
  • Honestly I have no idea what's happening here, on any level.
  • The palette, the art, the word "Messer" (!?), it's all so ... uncharacteristic of my smutty collection.
  • It looks like he's holding an asp in the crook of his left arm.
  • This book represents that stage in Penguin's American publishing when it's about to morph into Penguin-Signet and then, finally, Signet.

Best things about this back cover:
  • "Punched cows." That's pretty hardboiled.
  • If you google, in quotation marks, ["gang of howling literary brigands"], this book, and only this book, shows up. Joyce Kilmer wrote "Trees." Don Marquis is (by total coincidence) my newest literary crush—he wrote light verse in the voice of a cockroach named Archy (who used no capitals or punctuation because cockroaches can't possibly use the Shift key). His books of Archy verse were often illustrated by the legendary George Herriman (of "Krazy Kat" fame).
  • Wait, "Messer Marco Polo brought him fame and fortune"? Can that be right?!
  • Car crash. Dang.

Page 23~ (book's only 116 pages long!)

And suddenly there's a headsman in a red cloak and a red mask, and the axe swings and falls. The head pops off and the body falls limp.

Somehow the word "pops" sucks all the seriousness out of the situation.


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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Paperback 898: Seminole / Theodore Pratt (Gold Medal 635)

Paperback 898: Gold Medal 635 (2nd ptg, 1957)

Title: Seminole
Author: Theodore Pratt
Cover artist: Jack Floherty [signature]

Estimated value: $7-10

Best things about this cover:
  • Full frontal is cool if a. the woman is "native" or otherwise of color and b. you airbrush the nipple into virtual nothingness.
  • Nothing says "sexy" like a slave auction! Seriously, this cover is infinitely gross.
  • Mr. Top Hat Akimbo in the background knows it's gross. He and his bow tie are having none of it.
  • If you're wondering whom the auctioneer is pointing at, just wait ...

Best things about this back cover:
  • Wraparound!
  • Sky looks even more insane back here. It's like Captain Cogitation there is summoning storm clouds with his mind. And his pointing pal is saying "Oooh, that one looks like a bunny."
  • This painting is much, much better with the native slave auction cropped out of it.
  • Just watched "Key Largo" and I'm pretty sure those two Native Americans that killed are called "The Osceola  Brothers." This Osceola was a leader of the Seminole resistance during the Second Seminole War.
  • At least this novel seems to know what the white man is a "marauder."

Page 123~

Indians lay in water with lily pads over their faces to hide from the white soldiers. Seminole children were buried in pits to their heads, which were covered over with palmetto to conceal them.


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