Sunday, September 30, 2007


So I'm at a super-crunchy cafe on the Ithaca Commons yesterday. I get a bowl of vegan chili and a piece of orange cake and a cup of coffee and I head upstairs to sit and eat and drink and finish reading the essay for my writing group, which is meeting later that night. At some point I look over at my cup of coffee and notice that the little cardboard sleeve (that keeps me from burning my hand) looks like this:

If I had had coffee in my mouth, I would have done a great spit take. First thought: "Since when did 'Gentlemen's Clubs' start advertising on coffee cup sleeves!?" [actually, first thought = "nice rack(s)"] Then I turned the cup around and saw this:

"Daily Grind," get it? Get it? Yeah. Cute. I especially love "U.S. Patent Pending." I know that when I'm buying a bra, the first thing I want to know is, "What's the patent status on this baby? Is it pending? 'Cause that's how I like my patents: pending." My boobs, however, should not be pending too much - not if I'm wearing a bra. Or so I imagine.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Paperback 20: Graphic 55

Paperback 20: Graphic 55 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: A Shot in the Dark
Author: Richard Powell
Cover artist: Unknown

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:

  • "I'm dancing as fast as I can!"
  • "What's a pretty girl like you doing in a grotto like this?"
  • Artist has no sense of perspective - assailant appears to be pointing gun at some object well off-screen to the left
  • That's some intense light in her ... crotch region
  • You know what this cover needs? A boat. Hey, look! I found one - just under her left elbow (honestly, before uploading this picture, I had never noticed the boat, even though the first line of copy on the back cover mentions "salmon fishing in Canada"...)


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Paperback 19: Cardinal C-362

Paperback 19: Cardinal C-362 (1st ptg, 1959)

Title: A Murder Is Announced
Author: Agatha Christie
Cover artist: Harry Bennett

Yours for: $7

Best things about this cover:

Not much, except the fact that this woman can apparently make the phone magically float up to her face. Otherwise, this is a pretty generic late 50s cover.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Just so you know... says I'm an Uber Cool High Nerd.  What are you?  Click here!


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Paperback 18: Avon F-148

Paperback 18: Avon F-148 (PBO, 1962)

Title: The Bad Man
Author: Joseph Wayne
Cover artist: James Meese

Yours for: $10

Best things about this cover:

"Before he went to the gallows Al Cobb wanted to do one decent thing ... so he shot a man in the face and abducted his child"

Apparently "decent" meant "psychopathic" in The Old West.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Paperback 17: Ace F-386

Paperback 17: Ace F-386 (1st ptg, 1966)

Title: The Time Traders
Author: Andre Norton
Cover artist: Unknown (possibly Ed Emshwiller)

Yours for: $8

Best things about this cover:

  • Swirling vortex of Time!
  • Martian probing stick!
  • Prehistoric mullet!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Paperback 16: Pocket Books 567

Paperback 16: Pocket Books 567 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: Outlaws Three
Author: Peter Field
Cover artist: Harvey Kidder

Yours for: $7

Best things about this cover:

  • PINK! - Either this represents Cowboys Against Breast Cancer, or ... "It's raining men," boys! And one of them is sporting a jaunty yellow ascot. Ooh la la.
  • Floating heads - I love the floating head concept. I have a whole subset of my collection dedicated to floating heads. This cover does not hold the record for most floating heads on a single cover, but it makes a valiant effort.
  • Cliché western mugs - each of these guys looks very familiar; there's One-Eyed McGee, the wise-cracking town drunk; Squarejaw Heroson, who always gets his man (and lady!); and lastly, of course, Hoss.

  • Spooky Halloween tree - unless they are planning on hanging a small child, or possibly a gopher, there's no way that branch is going to hold.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Paperback 15: Gold Medal 605

Paperback 15: Gold Medal 605 (PBO, 1956)

Title: Dead - and Kicking
Author: Frank Castle
Cover artist: Mitchell Hooks

Yours for: $12

Best things about this cover:
  • My eyes! If that skirt's stripes were any color other than gray, I think I'd be having seizures right about now.
  • Gray-striped skirt over gray-striped skirt against scribbly ochre background and scribbly gray background. This is one of the most deliberately ugly covers ever (and Mitchell Hooks is a fabulous cover artist, so I have no idea what happened here)
  • "Francy" appears to be having a stroke (her right hand!). Wait, which one's "Francy?" The big woman or the small, dead one? Are those supposed to be the same woman? I'd ask that guy in the middle there with the gun and the guilty expression, but he seems anxious to get somewhere.
  • Hmm, I'm not familiar with that use of the verb "bloomed" ...
  • Red heels. No victim's outfit is complete without them.

Best things about this back cover:
  • Correct use of "whom" in penultimate paragraph
  • "Desperately enough to comb California for her" - wow, that is desperate
  • Apparently in the 50's, plastic surgery had not yet been done on anything but the nose; that, or her body was magically resistant to physical manipulation of any kind: "nothing on earth could alter a single curve of that wonderful body of her..." Really, not even, I don't know, a chainsaw? A year's supply of french fries? Nothing?
  • Did that dude shoot himself? His gun is smoking, but he's lurching backward like he's been hit.
  • Beware the giant floating head of Francy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Paperback 14: Popular Libary-Eagle Books EB96

Paperback 14: Popular Library-Eagle Books EB96 (PBO, 1957)

Title: Just So Far
Author: Floyd Miller
Cover artist: Unknown

Yours for: $8

Best things about this cover:
  • It's not Myra's fault - few people can resist Rex
  • "I said listen to my heart, you shirtless bastard!"
  • I am as much a fan of big breasts as the next guy, but that right breast is disturbingly large, aggressive, and ominous - it's hard to imagine it has a twin nearby
  • I wonder what she has in her supremely tiny pocket - the pocket, like her right breast, appears strangely ... centered. What kind of dress has pockets over the crotch?
  • That boat is either menacingly phallic or hilariously random; I can't decide.

Best things about this back cover:
  • In the upper left, that's about as close to someone's copping a feel as you are likely to see on a pre-1960 paperback
  • It's Big Shirtless Ron again! You'll remember him from the front cover.
  • He's shirtless, but she's got on spiked heels - doesn't anyone know how to dress for a picnic anymore?
  • Bottom right: Is he preparing to kiss her or adjusting her cervical spine?
  • "Myra became a complete wanton" - slightly better than becoming a complete won-ton.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Paperback 13: Popular Library 669

Paperback 13: Popular Library 669 (1st ptg, 1955)

Title: Sail the Dark Tide
Author: Davenport Steward (I hope for his sake that that's a pen name)
Cover artist: Unknown (looks like Earle Bergey a little)

Yours for: $6

Best things about this cover:

  • The hollering guy in the SE corner: "All hands on deck! The lady's showing skin!"
  • Least sea-worthy dress ever
  • "I can't decide if I want to shoot someone or stab someone. Luckily, I'm prepared to do both."
  • V-neck!: That guy's wearing two tons of military finery, but he could not bring himself to deprive the world of his mighty patch of chest hair
  • The condition: condition is horrible, obviously, but somehow the smeary chaos seems to fit in with the action of the painting
And the back cover:

"Hmmm, let's see. She's smoking hot and I'm a greasy thick-necked guy dressed like an extra from "H.M.S. Pinafore." Should I grab her ass or not?"

I am seized with a desire to name something, anything, "Wyck."

And why is there a hyphen between "found" and "ecstasy?" Editor!

"Beaumont Journal" = least prestigious blurber of all time


Friday, September 7, 2007

Paperback 12: Gold Medal d1408

Paperback 12: Gold Medal d1408 (PBO, 1964)

Title: General Douglas MacArthur
Author: Bob Considine
Cover artist: photo

Yours for: $15

Best things about this cover:

  • Sorry about this one, guys; it's pretty dull, but I gotta get them all up - the good, bad, and ugly
  • If you dig men in uniform, this cover is hot
  • If you dig corn cob pipes, this cover is hot (you can actually count the kernels of corn on that damned pipe, that's how authentically corncobby it is)

The back cover is a little bit more interesting...

Not sure which is sillier, the one where he has a live fox tied around his neck, or the badly framed shot of him in the furry earflap cap.

One thing I will say about this book: it is pristine. There's a bit of yellowing from age, but otherwise, the book has not been read, or even opened, as far as I can tell. It's the kind of crisp where I can barely bring myself to lift the front cover to peek inside and get pertinent printing info. If only most of my prettier books were this tight.

Onward to more exciting covers!


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Paperback 11: Gold Medal k1502

Paperback 11: Gold Medal k1502 (PBO, 1964)

Title: Texas by the Tail
Author: Jim Thompson
Cover artist: Unknown

Yours for: $50

Best things about this cover:

  • Are you kidding me? Look at it! There's a naked redhead toweling off in a giant cocktail glass! That's pretty much the paperback cover jackpot.
  • I love how TAIL is right by her TAIL - saucy.
  • This cover is too texty, with too many different font sizes and color changes, but I do like how the text sort of tumbles down the side of the girl and the glass.
  • Is she supposed to be standing in champagne? Wine? Beer? I wish I knew. She seems to be enjoying it.

This is the first Jim Thompson original that I ever owned. You can see that it's in pretty sorry condition, mainly from grime and overall dinginess (plus someone drew some weird symbol just underneath the bowl of the glass). Still, it cost me almost $50, which I happily paid. At the time, I was just happy to have my hands (finally) on a real, honest-to-goodness Jim Thompson PBO. Now, I wouldn't spend that much money on something this beat up. But I still love the book, even if it is a late-career Thompson with less-than-stellar cover design. The naked-woman-in-giant-glass thing makes it so easy to overlook all the negatives.


Monday, September 3, 2007

Paperback 10: Brandon House 1090

Paperback 10: Brandon House 1090 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Wayward Nude
Author: Jamison Bruce
Cover artist: Unknown

Yours for: $15

Best things about this cover:
  • There aren't many - the title promises so much, but the cover ... meh.
  • The title is delightfully absurd - not sexy as much as comical; if you came across an actual "Wayward Nude," you would not be excited. You would be scared for her (if not yourself), and you would call the authorities.
  • The "art" world is a frequent setting of paperback sex fantasies. Those bohemian artist-types will do Anything...
  • OK, I haven't read this book, but I'm willing to bet that the "Nude" in question eventually gets involved sexually with other women - at least one. The phrase "half-world" is very suggestive of a homosexual underworld, although the more telling phrase would be "twilight world."
  • Worst "Nude" cover ever - we get, what, like a millimeter of naked right hip? Pathetic. This cover would have been way hotter, needless to say, if that embrace had been "shot" from the other side. Instead, we get to thrill to the scintillating visual of ... a brown nightstand! Complete with pull-out drawer! And who could forget the white coffee cup!? Ugh.

This book is from late in my collection - 1967 - so the era of great cover painting and design is certainly behind us, but still, most sex paperbacks from this era are way, way more interesting than this neutered, puke-red disaster.