Saturday, June 15, 2024

Paperback 1090: Operation Intrigue / Walter Hermann (Avon 706)

 Paperback 1090: Avon 706 (PBO, 1956)

Title: Operation Intrigue
Author: Walter Hermann (aka Walter Wager)
Cover artist: Uncredited, dammit

Condition: 8/10 
Value: $10

Best things about this cover: 
  • "Operate!?" "It takes a very steady hand..."
  • I feel like Pensive McGee there is about to exclaim, "Hey, what if we split this into two different games: Battleship ... and Operation!" "You mean, 'Operation Intrigue', of course." "No, there's no intrigue. There's just this goofy looking guy on an operating table and you try to remove his various body parts without getting an electric shock." "O ... K, but can I still use my baton? I must insist that this be a baton-based game. Look how fun it is, pointing and pushing, doo doo doo..." And somehow this all leads to a war in Southeast Asia 10 years later.
  • I love the hard edge dividing the foreground from the background of this painting. It's like the guy on the right is mad at the people on the left 'cause their side of the painting is boring as hell. "I'm over here looking like the baddest hardboiled motherfucker this side of Flatbush, and those dorks are playing board games? Nah, this won't stand. This is my cover. They gotta go."
  • Seriously, that's a great-looking fist and a perfectly level gun. I like how the guy is literally too big for the frame. "They think these little white lines can hold me? Me and my fedora will show 'em, we'll show 'em all!"

Best things about this back cover: 
  • Wow, that is ... quite a "7". They're really leaning into that numerical visual concept. Big, fat Pop Art-lookin' "7." Nothing scarier, nothing more ... intriguing ... than a "7," that's for sure. 
  • You got a cool name like OPERATION MINOTAUR and you decide to call your book OPERATION ... INTRIGUE? INTRIGUE? Not exactly evocative of anything or memorable in anyway. And then you put a "7" on the back? Real missed Minotaur opportunities here, is what I'm saying.
  • That third paragraph reads like a question on a standardized math test. "If five men and two women are checked by four counter-espionage agencies, how many Minotaurs etc."
Page 123~
He had done this massive thing. He felt so strong and proud and clever. Then he thought of the women's clubs and creamed chicken luncheons he would never have to face again, looked at the handsome muscular sailors, and smiled. They were fine healthy lads. They were his friends.
I'm just gonna assume the "massive thing" is coming out, good for him, Happy Pride, everyone!


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1 comment:

DemetriosX said...

I'm not so keen on that hard edge. Until I really studied the cover, I thought there were two pictures. Maybe it was the white top border making my brain go "comic strip."

But, yeah, the guy on the right is great. The other three, not so much. The general appears to be played by John McGiver (a total "that guy" of 60s TV, but great pipes). The guy in the middle is utterly generic. And is she supposed to be Asian?

The 7 on the back is unconvincing. It looks more like a flipped musical note. What really bugs me is the tangent on the left of the crossbar. It makes no sense. Who writes a 7 like that?

The guy on page 123 is definitely about to break into a rousing chorus of "In the Navy."