Friday, September 4, 2009

Paperbacks 284-287: The work of Clark Hulings

Sorry for missing Wednesday. First week of school had me a bit overwhelmed and I completely spaced. To make up for it — a glut of paperbacks. Four, to be precise, all featuring the cover art of Clark Hulings. I culled all the Hulings covers I had and scanned them at the request of someone producing an article on Hulings for Illustration magazine. Sadly, upon perusing the covers I have, there's no signature style that I can see, and no one cover that really makes you go 'wow.' They are all very typical mid '50s covers, but only "Savage Holiday" really gives Hulings a broad enough canvas to have a real artistic impact. The others crowd the cover with text and offer only tiny pictures — mostly free-floating heads. Cover for "Winesburg, Ohio" is about as dull and generic as they come. The clear WINner here is "The Brave, Bad Girls." Bold, bright design with fantastic background use of the familiar fedora'd and trenchcoated detective. Coincidentally (I assume), two of these covers deal with interracial themes.

Paperback 284: Lion Library 47 (PBO, 1954)

Title: Strange Barriers
Author: J. Vernon Shea (ed.)

Yours for: $12

Best things about this cover:

  • "Strange Fruit" + "Racial Barriers" = "Strange Barriers"
  • Given the tagline, this cover is *very* disappointing. Where's the tumult, I ask!?
  • These heads are drawn in different styles, to different scales, with different textures ... we get it, they're different! There's a "barrier." etc.
  • Mark Schorer?

Best things about this back cover:

  • "I'm enthralled by his jazz trumpeting, but his shirtless gun-toting just makes me howl with laughter."
  • Man, I really, really wish I knew what was going on in that last panel.

Paperback 285: Avon T-86 (PBO!!!?, 1954)

Title: Savage Holiday
Author: Richard Wright

Yours for: $25

Best things about this cover:

  • Oh no, why is bed-headed Anthony Perkins attacking Lena Horne!?
  • "I was just borrowing your Dick Tracy trenchcoat! I swear I was gonna put it back!"
  • Love the random pseudo-japonesque pattern on those curtains.
  • "I've made my decision, Steve. I choose the roses — not you."
  • Her hands look very wrong — like she's got extra fingers or stubby fingers or fused fingers or something.

Best things about this back cover:

  • The first and last time "The Yale Review" was used as a blurb on a paperback book.

Paperback 286: Signet 1304 (2nd ptg, 1956)

Title: Winesburg, Ohio
Author: Sherwood Anderson

Yours for: $8

Best things about this cover:

  • "Breathe, damn you, breathe! Oh, why won't that doctor stop staring wistfully into the distance and get over here and help me!"

Best things about this back cover:
  • Why is there no picture of "The girl who walked naked in the rain"!? Booooo!
  • Thank god my neighbors "completely hide their private lives from" me. Barely repressed anger + miniature fainting couches (!?) = some crazy-ass !@#@ I don't need to know about.

Paperback 287: Perma Books M-3089 (1st ptg, 1957)

Title: The Brave, Bad Girls
Author: Thomas B. Dewey

Yours for: $9

Best things about this cover:

  • Damned sticker pull!
  • Red-on-yellow Totally makes this cover pop. Beautiful.
  • Looove the expression on Girl 1 — nice, smug F@#$ You expression to complement the (in order) Just Woke Up, Meek and Scared, and Suicidally Depressed expressions of the others.

Best things about this back cover:

  • "A Man! A Man, I say!"
  • "A large pea?" — wtf? Like ... a marble? A dime? How big is a "large pea?" Are we talking freakishly, County-Fair-ribbon-winning large or what?
  • Things Not To Say To A Lady You Just Met: "Just for tonight ... I wish you were seventeen."

Page 123~

  • I was a friend of Karl Kadek's ("The Brave, Bold Girls")
  • He took a cheap revolver from the case and began to wave it about. "You get out of here!" he shrieked. "We don't want any collar fasteners here!" ("Winesburg, Ohio")
  • "On a Sunday morning?" There was a trace of scorn in his voice. "And what would he be doing barefooted?" ("Savage Holiday")
  • Then he saw the hole in Jenny's side, right between the ribs. It was round, wet, red. ("Almos a Man" by Richard Wright —from "Strange Barriers")

Jenny is a mule, for the record.


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Tulse said...

I like the implicit pleading in the back cover blurb for Winesburg: "Sure it's a classic, but really, it's not at all stuffy! it's readable! Lots of people have read it! It's friendly! It's about people like you! A girl is naked in the rain! Was there a naked wet girl in any of the classics you had to read in high school? See, this one's different!"

libwitch said...

In the last one, the Good Time Girl is remarkably not looking like one.

I always thought, from previous pictures, that Richard Wright was, well considerably less...hrm, whitwashed then his photograph on the back of his book would indicate.

Rex Parker said...

The Page 123 from "Winesburg, Ohio" just made me laugh out loud.

And the second sentence of that mule quote sounds more and more pornographic the more I read it. Disturbing.


Rachel Helps said...

well, I'll be thinking of collar fasteners in a whole different light from now on...

Is it just me, or is does the woman on the cover of Winesburg, Ohio have a problem with her neck?

Deb said...

As you noted, Jenny is a mule, shot accidently by the protagonist, in "Almos' a Man." But I'm confused--is "Almos' a Man" part of "Savage Holiday"? Is "Savage Holiday" a collection of short stories?

Deb said...

Ignore my last comment--I'm figuring "Almos' a Man" is one of the stories in "Strange Barriers"--although I don't recall anything interracial in it.

Nicole "Gidget" Kalstein said...

I suspect the Strange Barriers gun-toting and orgasmic pink negligee is some sort of sexual role playing is the trumpet blowing. (Best explanation I could come up with).

Winesburg - I actually wanted a picture of the man who thought he was God...

Beggar1015 said...

Strange Barriers:
I really, really wish I knew what was going on in that last panel.

Judging from the couple of books of his I've read recently, I'm going to hazard a guess that the gun-toting, laughing harlot picture has to do with the Frank Yerby story. Yerby's women were usually Krazy with a capital K, and would most likely be laughing uncontrollably on a broke-down bed while a man with a gun stood over her.

Winesburg, Ohio: Boy, I thought our potholes on Main Street were bad! But at least ours have never been deep enough to allow a couple to comfortably recline down in them.

The Brave, Bad Girls: I feel the pictures should be re-arranged some. The ex-police woman and the good-time gal should be switched.

At first I was going to ask what kind of gun shoots a bullet small enough to make a hole the size of a pea. But then I remembered some TV show or something where the victim was killed by a high heel shoe to the temple. Maybe Sherry was honest when she said she hadn't shot the dead man.