Monday, October 1, 2007

Paperback 21: Graphic Giant G-216

Paperback 21: Graphic Giant G-216 (1st Graphic ptg, 1956)

Title: The Private Life of Helen of Troy
Author: John Erskine
Cover artist: Unknown :(

Yours for: $8

Best things about this cover:

  • This is one of the worst cover paintings - in terms of pure artistic quality - that I've ever seen. Mucky, awkward, poor in detail. Just a mess. And yet...
  • Nice rack. Seriously. Her bangs are terrible, but her boobs ... are not. There is another, earlier version of this same book (which I own) that is famous for its "nipple cover" - but you'll have to wait for that one.
  • If the background is to be believed, Troy was destroyed by a nuclear holocaust of some kind
  • This is a wraparound cover, where the painting continues onto the spine and then the back of the book...

Best thing about this back cover:

  • First word: GAY!
  • Boats make every cover better
  • If I'm counting correctly, there are a total of 4 Helens on this book's front and back covers. That is almost certainly a record for appearances of one character on a single cover



Michael5000 said...

Maybe I'll read this instead of the Illiad. It seems more accessible.

Anonymous said...

The Helen on the cover seems to have lost her arms.

Anonymous said...

Looking again, it seems we have before and after shots. The Trojan is raising his sword, about to cut them off. And then they're gone. He is a Trojan, right?

Anonymous said...

"Peculiarly Delectable" -- awesome blurb. I want to write/cook/do something that could be described as "Peculiarly delectable."

Michael5000 said...

As a self-appointed cheerleader to Pop Sensation, and with a long wait on my hands this morning with a computer nearby, I took on a little project: figuring out how many of the paperbacks we've been looking at are in my local library. The Multnomah County Library is one of the best public general collections in the country, so this is a good (if somewhat generous) gauge of a book's currency.

This is a way of answering a question that goes through my head a lot when I read Pop Sensation -- are these books just dead antique detritis cast up on the cultural shore (pardon my purple prose), or do they continue to have some modest readership?


Out of the 21 paperbacks posted so far, only five are in the MultCoLib:

21 - "The Private Life of Helen of Troy"

19 - "A Murder is Announced" (of course; it's an Agatha Christie)

17 - "Time Traders" (and its sequel, "Time Traders II"!)

11 - "Texas by the Tail" (in a recent reprint. The contemporary cover will disappoint our host mightily.)

8 - "The Fabulous Clipjoint" (in an omnibus collection)

Number 4, "The Deep Blue Goodbye," is NOT in the collection, which is kind of weird. I'd expect ol' John D. still has a few avid readers among the quick.

Although these numbers are a bit on the "dead" side, quite a few of the authors have one, two, or several OTHER books represented. Whether these are their more substantial "hits," or just the random samples of their work that have stayed in the collection through sheer chance, is hard to say. It makes me happy, though, to see that many of these writers have had a little more staying power than you might initially guess.

And that's what I have to say about that.

Anonymous said...

The Helen portrayed on the front cover is a mediocre rendering of one of my all-time Fantasy Girlfriends, Jean Simmons.

JamiSings said...

Since the original meaning of "gay" is "happy" - well, I'm just left wondering how a story about a war over a single woman could possibly be happy.