Friday, February 22, 2008

Paperback 75: America's Cities of Sin / ed. Noah Sarlat (Lion Books 71)

Paperback 75: Lion Books 71 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: America's Cities of Sin
Author: Noah Sarlat (ed.)
Cover artist: Uncredited (signature looks like somebody "Meinicke")

YOURS FOR: $14 (SOLD - 4/18/08)

Best things about this cover:
  • This is a quintessential post-war paperback. A sort of Cold War / Red Scare II-era "exposé" of the hell-holes that were America's urban centers. This is the era that had upstanding Americans worrying about everything sex- and youth-oriented. There was an explosion in juvenile delinquincy-oriented books (it's a very popular and collectible subgenre now). This book says: your daughter is a smoking street-walker who refuses to wear a bra. Be afraid. Or else it says: open me up, big boy. Sin is in.
  • The condition of the cover is not great because of damage from sun exposure. I really wish you could read the scrolling text at the top: "PROSTITUTION ... DOPE ... TORSO MURDERS" - my initial reaction: I was with you on "prostitution" and "dope," but ... what the hell is a "torso murder?" Was this a fad in the 50s? Kill someone and just leave the "torso?" Or were killers bludgeoning their victims to death with sculptures?

Best things about this back cover:

  • Apologies for the sticker - this book came in a plastic sleeve that I cannot take off without bending the book in ways that make me uncomfortable. So you get to see the kind of sticker that is on the plastic bag of every one of my paperbacks. Cover artist (where known), publication status (1st ptg? 2nd? PBO? - in this case, the uncommon "Original Collection" of magazine material), year published, and resale value.
  • I love that Lion tries to pass this book off as a public service announcement. "In the hopes of defeating evil in the world, we here at Lion Books have decided to titillate you with this sleazy paperback. God bless America."
  • ELOY? How have I never seen that town in a crossword puzzle?



Anonymous said...

That shirt has no buttons.

wendy said...

Everything you ever wanted to know about Cleveland's torso murderer in one wikipedia entry.

Sandy said...

I was so busy wondering what the heck kind of naughty stuff could be going on in Calumet City that I never even saw Eloy. And Montreal? Isn't it too cold there for button-less shirts?

Michael5000 said...

Exactly what Sandy said. Calumet City? I had no idea there was so much fun... er... degradation to be had in Calumet City.

Also, I'm disappointed by the poor showing of the West Coast. Closest we get is someplace called "Hollywood," a town in Arizona if we go by the map.

billnutt said...

Rex, just os you know, there's an outstanding graphic novel from the mid-1990s about the Torso Murders called (wait for it) TORSO, written and drawn by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko. It's about Eliot Ness on the trail of America's first serial killer - in Cleveland! I'm not making this up.

Bendis and Andreyko's efforts to pitch their graphic novel to Hollywood is recounted in an absolutely hysterical book called FORTUNE AND GLORY.

Larry said...

Love the manner in which cities are moved on the map. Sloppiness, or just balancing the text around. Tia Juana seems to be Mexico City, and Tampa is around Naples, Galveston near Brownsville and Hollywood has moved to Fresno.