Saturday, October 10, 2009

Paperback 298: Call Me Deadly / Hal Braham (Graphic 152)

Paperback 298: Graphic 152 (PBO, 1957)
Title: Call Me Deadly
Author: Hal Braham
Cover artist: Walter Popp

Yours for: $30

Best things about this cover:

  • Nearly everything — this is late 50s paperback gold. Love the weird cropping provided by the ornate frame, and then again by the beaded curtain! Then there's Fabulous Girl Art (killer dress), jazz guitar, mystery hand w/ gun, Broderick Crawford lookalike with fat cigar ... all in a tight, barely read paperback.
  • The title is awesome in inverse proportion to the cover painting's awesomeness, i.e. the title is a sad, unimaginative rip-off of a Mickey Spillane title (movie version of which came out just a couple years before this novel). Paint brush font on "Deadly" is kind of cool, though.
  • Love Graphic Novels for their (frequent) crediting of the cover artist on the publishing info page, though here you can actually see the artist's signature (right under "25c").
  • Gun/vagina proximity here is oddly common. Here's a variation. There will be more. Maybe I should make "guncrotch" a label... oh, wait, it already is.

Best things about this back cover:
  • See that red dot separating the paragraphs? It's like it was drilled into the cover with a bore. Deeply embossed. Weird as it sounds, it's the first thing about this cover that caught my eye.
  • Love their dockside dancing! Put any energetic music on your iTunes and then look at this painting. They are totally dancing. Nothing else can explain what she's doing with her left hand (mysterious hand gestures ... seems like a recurrent theme).
  • I love how the cover copy starts out campy and ends up in nearly incoherent lunacy.
  • "... between them, an unholy shadow murmured: 'There's no way you can tightrope walk in that dress, Gini ... Go on, I dare you ...'"

Page 123~

She said finally, "So this is the lion's den. What do you do with your spare time, Dillon?"

I shrugged. "I have the television for sport, there are books and records. It depends."

"Gets a bit monotonous, doesn't it?"

"It does," I admitted.

This is like the "Don't" column from a 1950's "How To Pick Up Hot Chicks" manual.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter]


justjack said...

"between them, an unholy shadow murmured, "Yesterday, I killed!

"You should've been there. I totally killed! Did the Aristocrats routine and everything! They ate it up!"

"That's great, Mr. Gottfried."

"Call me Gilbert."

Alix said...

Possibly the most incoherent back-cover copy ever. Is Gini supposed to be the woman on the cover, too? I'm so confused.

The cover's gorgeous, though.

Eunice said...

The guitar player's head seems a bit odd to me, but other than that I like the front.

The back however is all kinds of crazy. Seriously, I could go on and on.

Can one murmur and end the sentence with an exclamation point? Really?

...Most boring lion's den ever.

Ms Avery said...

That is the most incoherent blurb ever. What the hell is going on?

The Vicar of VHS said...

WRT guncrotch, I seem to remember an interview either Jon Stewart or Conan O'Brien did several years back with Mickey Spillane, in which he referenced one of his books in which a girl got shot in the stomach at the end. He said people were always asking why the guy shot her in the stomach. His reply? "He missed!" D-:

Ah, Mickey--can always count on you for forward-thinking gender relations in your prose. :P

Frank said...

"Call me Deadly, just don't call me late for dinner!" Wah wah WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

Also the tightrope "lady" on the back cover is no woman. She's a rather fabulous drag queen, but a man nonetheless.

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JamiSings said...

You know, Rex, I think you're going to have to go with the word verification thing-a-ma-bob because of these stupid spammers.

Elaine said...

Has no one noticed that back-cover gal's one foot must be stuck down in the dock (maybe a big knothole?) Isn't someone going to help this poor woman?