Friday, August 17, 2007

The Great Paperback Project - Paperback 5: Pocket Books 833

Paperback 5: Pocket Books 833 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: Of Missing Persons
Author: David Goodis
Cover artist: Ray App

Yours for: $22

"It's OK, baby. Take my hand. I'm a generic non-threatening white man. You've got nothing to worry about..."

Best things about this cover:

  • Preposterously upblown skirt, visible bra, fierce heels - that is one hot ledge-walker. She won't get far in those heels, but who cares?
  • That guy's tie is sweet. I want one like that.
  • The art here is really dynamic - lots of action - and the situation is strange enough to make it really memorable.
  • Is he yelling at her? Trying to help her? Showing her his stigmata?
  • This book is by David Goodis, one of the most collectible and revered hard-boiled writers of the 50's.

I was able to afford this book only because of its slightly shabby condition - note the many creases, and the "5¢" scribbled in ink in the upper right corner. Still, the cover is vibrant enough, and the book itself solid enough, that I'm really happy with it. I really admire the cover artists who paint in a hyper-realist style, with lots of great little details. I especially like those who can capture action or movement convincingly. My favorite covers of all time tend to be ones where the depicted figures are caught in the middle of some movement.

David Goodis was both superior to and typical of mid-50s crime writers. His writing is outstanding, but his life ... well, its arc was like that of many others. Become a writer, have some success, get lured out to Hollywood, lose your soul, kill yourself. Actually, I'm not sure if he was a suicide, but he died very young. Nope, not suicide. Not exactly. Cirrhosis - so he was a heavy drinker, which also puts him in Good Company, writer-wise. He wrote Down There, the basis for the Truffaut movie "Shoot the Piano Player."



Michael5000 said...

Is it just me, or is the guy showing off his stigmata the young Dick Nixon?

I especially like the Pocket Book mama kangaroo icon on this cover. I wish it was just a little closer to "'Stay there,' she screamed, 'and watch me jump!'"

Rex Parker said...

Yes, a younger, somewhat less jowly Nixon.

"OK, OK, I'll pick Agnew, just come in off the @#$#-ing ledge!"


Anonymous said...

However, it must be said that Nixon would never have worn a tie that stylish.