Sunday, April 27, 2008

Paperback 88: Suburbia Confidential / Emil Moreau (alias of Ed Wood, Jr) (Triumph - TNC 305)

Paperback 88: Triumph - TNC 305 (PBO, 1967)

Title: Suburbia Confidential
Author: Emil Moreau (alias of Ed Wood, Jr.)
Cover artist: that is not art

Yours for: $55

OMG, OMG, OMG - this book is not even in my official collection. Until a few hours ago, it was in a heap of books I got at the University book sale last fall, where something like $5 bought you an entire grocery bag full of books. I have blogged about the books I bought there before - books that slayed me for one reason or another, phenomenally ugly books, books with hilarious covers, etc. I never got around to blogging the last batch of books from that sale - I was saving this particular book for last for ... well, for many reasons. It is Great in many, many ways, but I had no, no, no idea, until an inexplicable whim led me to look it up online just today, that it was written by Ed Wood, Jr. Ed @#$#$#ing Wood. I do not own an Ed Wood book - or, I guess I should say, I didn't, or didn't know I did, until just now.

Wood's writing career is nearly as legendary as his film career, and his books are Incredibly hard to come by (check out his bibliography). You may know (of) Ed Wood from his legendarily bad movie Plan 9 from Outer Space, or from the Tim Burton movie Ed Wood, starring Johnny Depp as Wood, and featuring Martin Landau, who won a Best Supporting Actor Award for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi. Great film. But back to my book. Woo hoo! This, this is why I collect this crap. For these spectacular "I got a what?!" moments. It's like striking oil or winning the lottery, only way less lucrative, but still immensely satisfying. I have a few more books (forthcoming in the blog, for sure) that I stumbled into for cheap, without knowing what I had on my hands. Dumb, great luck.

OK, now the book itself.

Best things about this cover:
  • Oh it's ugly. That color scheme. That chicken-scratched, mirthless sex scene, the inexplicable "U" ... All wonderfully nauseating.
  • You should know that this book is not what it appears to be. It's ... well, you have to read the back cover to even begin to get an inkling of how #@$@ing weird it is.
(sorry, the scan shaved the tops and bottoms off some letters - the words are perfectly legible on the book itself)

Best things about this back cover:

  • I challenge you, right now, to find any book in the history of publishing that has ever promised you that it would make you "VOMIT." I believe this book to be unique in publishing history, in that respect if not others. Who ... what ... in what universe is inducing vomiting a selling point!? The vomit part made me and the friend I was with laugh so hard we cried. Literally, cried.
  • I love how the most boring phrase on the back is in huge purple letters, while the truly choice cover copy is buried in a nondescript font at the bottom.
  • There is a purple line across this back cover. Nobody knows why.

But just when you thought the book couldn't get better ... guess again. What really, truly puts this book over the top, even more than the unbelievable promise of vomit, is the fact that its cover has faint but unmistakable ... teeth marks. Front and back. I swear to god. Can you see them? Click on the image. On the front cover, right at the top, just right of the ascending "U" ... I am telling you, I'm not sure a paperback could get more tawdry than this one. It's quintessential paperback smut in every way. So amazing. I feel honored to be in this book's presence.

And now, the moment you've been waiting for, the cherry on top. Oh man, I'm not sure how I'll ever top this. Just remember that both the people in the following dialogue are male:

~PAGE 123!~

... Tim stretched his arm up and when the thing came down, it landed in my lap. I had felt that same sensation before in the shower. Tim felt it with his big fist and grinned.
"Looks like you've been behind the barn." [ed.: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?]
"A few times. Is that bad?"
"All of us do it sometimes! That's life. Nothing wrong in it; but there are better ways."
"I know about girls."
"Do you know about boys?"

If Samuel Beckett, Erskine Caldwell, and a crack pipe had a baby, it would write like this. And it goes on like this. On and on. And On. And it's shocking, not so much in sexuality, but in plain, sheer, unmitigated, unfathomable goofiness. If the book weren't in such great condition (VG - some creasing to covers and spine, mild scuffing - otherwise very square and tight), I would read it. I think. I'm not sure how much surreal pseudo-smut my brain can take. I've never pushed it that way.

If I ever do merchandising for this site, the first item will be a t-shirt that says simply: "Looks like you've been behind the barn"



Orange said...

We're gonna need some more excerpts from this book. Can we get some lines from pages 25, 50, 75, and 100?

Anonymous said...

I lauughed myself into a snorting fit. So much more refined than vomiting, don't you think?

Thanks for making my day!

Anonymous said...

I simply need to be more careful with what I put out on those sale tables. this should have made it in my "to be bought" pile.

Anonymous said...

As an unabashed owner of 'Plan Nine from Outer Space' and 'Ed Wood', I am thrilled to find out that he exists in the printed word as well as celluloid. 'Bride of the Monster' is at least as bad as Plan Nine, but I haven't found it on DVD. Not enough Golden Turkey's I guess.a


Anonymous said...

AHHH! I forgot about this book. Luckily, I had a garbage can close by for the ensuing vomit after I remembered. Bite Marks!

justjack said...

OMG! OMG! OMG! Unbelievable find. And that page 123 exerpt almost struck me blind. So far, those exerpts have ALL been awesome. But this one shoots to the surface like Tom Hanks' luggage in Joe Versus The Volcano.

Rex, I'll bet when you realized what you had stumbled onto, your pupils contracted down to nothing the way the Coyote's did as he slowly drew down the window shade on the rapidly approaching locomotive.

Anonymous said...

You have to read this book Rex, and report back. If flipping to a random page yields quotes like that, the book in its entirety must be life-altering.

I laughed so hard the top of my head hurts. I

Rex Parker said...

OK, you asked for it: from ~PAGE 25:

"Gloria, fully clothed at the moment, assumed some of the poses, and when the tight skirt did not permit the proper placement of her legs, she hoisted the skirt up around her hips. I fairly bit my lip to keep from taking her in my arms when I saw the lacy pink panties which did little to hide the mound of her secret; how tight the legs and the waistband fit around that lovely butt."

You gotta watch your step while reading that passage - the drop from "mound of her secret" to "butt" is precipitous.


Anonymous said...

As a magician, I feel it is my duty to work the patter line "Mound of (her/my) secret" into at least one routine in the near future. As in, "The coin is in her hand, but try to think of it not as a hand, but as a mound of her secret."

Belvoir said...

I'm crying-laughing right now.. I'll bet the copyriters cracked themselves up when they wrote it. Teh awesome.

Michael5000 said...

Lamentably, the only books by Ed Wood at the Multnomah County Library are about sourdough bread. They are apparently written by a different, competing Ed Wood. My loss.

G said...

Dear lord, I've missed reading this blog. This is one of the best books/posts/comments sections I've seen in a while.

Robin said...

A few years ago, I sold an Ed Wood book on eBay called "Young, Black and Gay". The main character was young and black, but only had intimate relationships with women.

But he did dress in drag. Not necessarily a gay thing, but I guess "Young Black and Crossdressing" wasn't exactly the title the publisher thought would sell.

I actually read the entire book. Which is more than I could say for two of Wood's other novels that'd been recently re-printed. "Killer in Drag" and "Let Me Die in Drag" were simply unreadable crap. I'm sure the alleged "editor" just signed off on the books without reading a word of them. Awful, awful stuff.

Anonymous said...

Your commentary (along with the raw material itself) made me cry with laughter too. Oh my god, thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Stumbled on this site looking for another "Rex Parker" link. So far I've had a few good belly laughs, and I'm hoping for more. I wonder if the teeth marks got there when someone was finished out behind the barn and needed two hands to do up his pants and didn't want to get muck on the book??

Eddie Louise said...

I'm sure the purple band has something to do with telegraphing the contents. My mother is in her 80's and she still calls the sex scenes in book 'purple prose'.

I say read it!

highwayknees said...

Oh boy oh boy! What a find Rex! I was killing myself with laughter over here. Pls read it then sell it to me!?
I really need some serious yuks in my life right now...