Monday, December 24, 2007

Paperback 59: The Mighty Blockhead / Frank Gruber (Superior M655)

Paperback 59: Superior Reprint M655 (1st ptg, 1945)

Title: The Mighty Blockhead
Author: Frank Gruber
Cover artist: Uncredited

Best things about this cover:

  • Boring art, but one of the better titles of its time. Memorable, at any rate.
  • Frank Gruber was the poor man's ERLE Stanley Gardner. He could crank it out. He was a serious working writer, getting paid pennies a word to write in nearly every genre imaginable. He wrote a really informative book about working for the pulps called Pulp Jungle. Out of print, but possibly in your better libraries. I own a first edition, but I'm dorky that way.
  • Superior Reprints were bought up by, I think, Bantam, sometime in the late 40's. Remaining Superior books were then issued in dust-jacketed versions, which are Very Hard to come by. I think I have about 5 dust-jacketed paperbacks in my entire 2000+ book collection. One of them is Frank Gruber's Navy Colt, which I bought, in near perfect condition, for $4. Just writing that makes me smile.

Best things about this back cover:

  • Nobody could rock the pencil mustache quite like Frank Gruber. You don't see them much anymore, but they were a staple of character actors (and pulp writers, I guess) from the 30s well into the 50s.
  • Here again, you see the convention of listing all the odd jobs that a writer did before he "hit it big." These jobs are at least within the plausibility ballpark.



Orange said...

Rex, you'll like the '50s-style posters used to advertise last year's Scrabble tournament in France.

Michael5000 said...

I kinda like the graphic-art style of this cover. But not as much as I like being called a "nerd cult leader."

Midnight Voyager said...

All I can say is... Charlie Brown?