Friday, October 12, 2007

Paperback 27: Bantam 1866

Paperback 27: Bantam 1866 (PBO, 1958)

Title: Summer of the Smoke
Author: Luke Short
Cover artist: Uncredited (but there appear to be initials under the rider's right foot)

Best things about this cover:

Well, they can't all be gems. Still...

Yes, that's it. They've even got the same mustache!

Luke Short is one of the most popular western writers of the 20th century, and from what I can tell, he was pretty competent. This is a PBO (paperback original), which means that it came out originally in paperback (very rare these days, though reasonably common in the 50s). Look how excited the publishers are to tell you that this book is in print for the first time: they even brought out the whimsical excited handwriting font: "First time published anywhere!"

The fact that it's a Luke Short PBO is probably the only reason I bought this book, and I probably didn't pay more than a buck for it. The unusual segmented cover design made it desirable to me as well. Though I've featured many westerns so far from my collection, don't get the wrong idea: I don't really care for westerns, and westerns make up only a small fraction of the collection as a whole. We're simply in a particularly cowboy-ish patch right now.



Michael5000 said...

The henchmen appear to be clad in a jaunty emerald green. Is this Tex Youngblood and his Merry Men?

Anonymous said...

Howdy, friends! You might enjoy the articles on western covers in the current online edition of Black Horse Extra at

Unknown said...

Great blog -- love those old paperback covers. But you're wrong about paperback originals being very rare nowadays. They're still a big part of the publishing and bookselling industries. Take a walk down the genre fiction aisles of your local bookshop -- most of the mass market titles you'll see there are PBOs. Over in the non-genre fiction aisles, you'll find plenty of trade paperback originals. There are even non-fiction PBOs, mostly in the true crime and military history categories.

Rex Parker said...

Hmmm ... I guess that's true enough. A lot of the TV tie-in paperbacks are certainly PBOs. Maybe "genre" fiction is where they all are - but I'd say that's true more with SciFi/Fantasy than with the other genres. PBOs are pretty uncommon in crime fiction compared to 50 years ago (though they do exist).

Most mass-market pbs I see in bookstores (and elsewhere) are reprints of successful hardbacks, actually. Those are the ones that get prominent display in bookstores, at any rate.

Thanks for the correction,

Anonymous said...

I had a ood laugh at the comparison. The similarities are uncanny!

Anonymous said...

Whoops! I left off the "g" in the word "good." Sorry!