Sunday, August 26, 2007

Paperback 8 - Bantam 302

Paperback 8 - Bantam 302 (1st ptg, 1948)

Title: The Fabulous Clipjoint
Author: Fredric Brown
Cover artist: Ed Grant

Yours for: $27

Best things about this cover:

  • Her dress
  • Her attitude ("What the hell do you want?") - she doesn't look that surprised or threatened, one arm akimbo, the other delicately cradling a lit cigarette. This guy should be menacing, but the whole scenario just makes him seem impotent. The chain stretches across her waist like a metaphorical chastity belt - none for you, young man.
  • Good example of cover art convention: keep man in the shadows, nondescript and gray / make the woman pop. Even though the man dominates the frame, all eyes are on the woman (peek through the locked door almost as good as a peek through a keyhole, which was a common paperback cover convention, actually - we'll see several peephole covers in the coming months)
  • Guy looks like the "gunsel" from the movie "The Maltese Falcon"
Fredric Brown was a great crime fiction and sci-fi writer of the fifties, well known for his taut writing and penchant for humor. Not nearly as famous as he deserves to be. His stuff is highly collectible, especially early paperbacks like this one. The Fabulous Clipjoint is probably his best known work.



Anonymous said...

You're right, Rex! The 'gunsel' was Elisha Cook Jr., he of the quivering lips and the pleading, watery eyes.
He does look like him, but this cover boy is a lot better-looking.

Anonymous said...

I like the door chain that allows the door to open enough for someone to squeeze through. Isn't it supposed to keep people out?

Anonymous said...

He should look like a gunsel. At one point in the book, the protagonist, an innocent young man, pretents to be a gunsel in order to frighten a potential witness.