Friday, June 26, 2009

Paperback 247: Terror in the Streets / Howard Whitman (Bantam A964)

Paperback 247: Bantam A964 (1st ptg, 1952)

Title: Terror in the Streets
Author: Howard Whitman
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Yours for: $10


Best thing about this cover:

  • Ah, 1950s paranoia at its finest
  • Can't a pretty girl get a haircut at 1 a.m. without being team-stalked by tough guys in olive drab suits anymore? What a world ...
  • Guns 'n' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" was based on this book cover
  • Maguire would eventually learn his lesson: Put Girl In Foreground!


Best things about this back cover:

  • You can tell even from this crowded array of scenes that Maguire is a masterful illustrator. Great faces, action, use of light...
  • Love the action in the alley by the garbage cans. Smacked his fedora off with a blackjack. That's about as 50s as 50s violence gets. Fedora still in mid-air. Rich.
  • Every quote reads like it's coming out of the mouth of Maude Flanders: "Won't somebody please think of the children!?"

Page 123~

The police are hardly interested in, nor would the average police mentality be capable of understanding, such psycho-dynamics. Police are interested in end-results. When an old homosexual is found dead in his hotel room after picking up a man at a bar, the police just put it down as a "fag murder" and go on from there.


~RP

9 comments:

Erik said...

the shocking and violent outburst of crimes against people

But on the plus side, crimes against inanimate objects were way down during the same period... except hats, obviously.

I'd love to see a Maguire cover for Harlan Ellison's "The Deadly Streets".

Ms Avery said...

Those sandals on the front cover are insane. I really like the woman's red overcoat on the back, though... Is that mechanic shoving a bagel into her mouth?

Jean said...

I like how the criminal on the front cover is not only wearing a suit, but his pants go halfway up his ribs.

Dirt Diggler said...

Odd there are no gun-toting outlaws listed ... just "muggers, knifers, and sex psychopaths". The two police officers visibly have guns on the back cover, but alas, "Where ARE the cops?" Street violence appears personal, involved : assaults, rape, battery, etc. Modern perps are better armed and do arbitrary, abstract/idealogical crime: drive-bys, mass shootings, bombings, etc.

Remember when you could actually, even if briefly, identify your assailant or their intent before being slain? ---- Ahh, the good old days!

Tulse said...

I really like the unusual angle on the police car -- it's an interesting perspective. On the other hand, the police themselves seem to be experiencing separate individual gravity fields, as their body angles make no sense relative to the car.

JamiSings said...

To me the thing that stands out is the "not one word cut" - was heavy editing a big deal back then?

Veronika said...

The guy on the front cover in the foreground gives me vampiric vibes. Especially the cigarette, which at first sight I thought was a fang...
Combined with the girl looking unnaturally pale, I think he is not stalking her, he is making sure that she gets home o.k., slips on her white night gown and falls asleep so that he may continue to drain her blood. This may well be one of the first paranormal crime novels.

On the back cover we clearly see another vampire, with an unfortunate victim whose obviously a light sleeper

Anonymous said...

"Where are the cops?"

Perhaps they are the muggers, knifers, and sex psychopaths roaming our streets. Cops have hobbies, just like everybody else.

Kevin said...

The cops on the back cover are interesting since they are obviously coming after the reader. A nice touch in pulling the reader right into the chaos.