Friday, October 19, 2007

Paperback 32: Dell 144

Paperback 32: Dell 144 (1st ptg, 1947)

Title: The White Brigand
Author: Edison Marshall
Cover artist: Uncredited

Best things about this cover:
  • From the man who brought you "Great Smith" (seriously - same guy) comes ... "The White Brigand!"
  • This book raises the question: What color are brigands normally?
  • This novel appears to be set in China somewhere. I wonder how the natives will be depicted by Mr. Marshall. Hmm ... let's see. Just opened this book to a random page and the first word I saw was: "slant-eyed." Nice.
  • You don't really see the word "Brigand" much these days. I always thought it meant someone who is lawless, violent, at least vaguely piratic - yes, a member of a band of thieves.
  • The floating, glowing, jade pseudo-Buddha alien tiki is more than a little disturbing. First, he has jointless, perhaps even boneless limbs. Second, he has the world's shortest pigtails. That, or his head has both a positive and a negative terminal. Third, he appears to be made of plutonium. Fourth, his toothless grin will haunt my dreams tonight and possibly forever. I could go on.

Best things about this back cover:
  • This is the first of many Dell "mapbacks" that we will see over the course of my paperback project. All early Dell paperbacks (or nearly all) featured a map on the back cover that depicted some scene in the book. This one is pretty crudely drawn, as mapbacks go, but it's still cool.
  • Any book that features both a "reliquary" and a "chasm" can't be all bad, I say.
  • Do we really need to be told that that is a "cliff?"



Anonymous said...

When I saw this book sitting on your desk waiting for its write-up, I was amazed by the bright sharp colors, which haven't really translated in the scans. But I didn't notice until now the creepy Dell eye that looks like some kind of Mason symbol gone wrong.

Unknown said...

Where have I seen that creature before...? Something to do with slime... can't put my finger on it...

Michael5000 said...

Love the mapbacks! They're cartoliscious. I read an article about them in a cartography journal once, back in the day. No way I'll be able to remember a citation now, though....

Anonymous said...

That map looks exactly like the ones they sell to tourists at the Summer Palace these days. A good illustration is a thing of beauty forever.