Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Paperback 35: Perma Books M-3036

Paperback 35: Perma Books M-3036 (1st ptg, 1956)

: Visa to Death
Author: Ed Lacy
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Best things about this cover:
  • Original title = "The Best That Ever Did It" - not sure "Visa to Death" is much of an upgrade
  • I like when cover copy sounds exciting, but, on a literal level, actually makes no sense
  • Is that a gun or a trick lighter?
  • Fedora McTrenchcoat and Drunky Shirtsleeves are perfect meat for the sideways-glancing red-mouth twins
  • Visa-face looks like he's got "Photograph of beaver" written over his head
I hope you can tell from the many covers you've seen so far that, whatever this cover's faults (and there are several), this artist is a master. Robert Maguire is the Caravaggio of paperback cover artists. His people - their faces in particular - seem to be alive, seem to suffer (however melodramatically). Now it's true that the women here seem to be sharing one face between them, so maybe there's not the range or variety one would hope for, but still; I find the artistry here a clear cut above the average covers we've been seeing. Incredibly fine detail combined with a suppleness that makes the whole shebang (even this crowded, oddly-laid-out shebang) very visually compelling.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Can we call it a "Floating Head" if it's got no scene or landscape or hapless soul to "float" over? Judges say ... yes.
  • Nice justaposition of "Double" and "Single" (here, nice = stupid)
  • "Whistle up the murderer"? - Like "[whistle], come here, murderer!" Or "[whistle], lookin' good, murderer!" ???


1 comment:

Michael5000 said...

I kinda like the ~black and white in the visa photo, full color for the rest of the body~ gambit. If I was articulater, I'd put that with better expressitude.

It is neither a gun nor a trick lighter. It is in fact a novelty laser pointer.

Hmmm.... I wonder what happens when the juiciest racket in town needs too many murders. Something has to give... but what?