Friday, January 13, 2017

Paperback 985: Runyon First and Last / Damon Runyon (Graphic 30)

Paperback 985: Graphic 30 (1st ptg, 1951)

Title: Runyon First and Last
Author: Damon Runyon
Cover artist: Uncredited

Estimated value: $10-15
Condition: 7/10

Best things about this cover:
  • I oppose fur but that is a magnificent fur. That is an ostentatious, almost comically elongated sleeve. And shoulder pad.
  • I love how she seems to be admiring Runyon's name while poor Slats pleads spectrally in the background.
  • Runyon is a really important early 20c. American newspaperman and short story writer. He records and cultivates a certain hardboiled, slangy, colloquial style that ends up being very influential. You may know him from such things as "Guy & Dolls."

Best things about this back cover:
  • Runyonese. I like my ham on rye with extra Runyonese.
  • The titles of these stories alone are worth the price of admission. Soupbone Pew!
  • "Informal Execution" is such a menacing phrase. I'm guessing that one wasn't made into a musical.

Page 123~ (from "Old New Year's")

On this day everybody swears off doing something or other, generally drinking, which is very easy for most people to swear off on New Year's Day, because generally they feel so tough from welcoming in the New Year that they never wish to see another drink again as long as they live, or anyway until they feel better.

I like that usage of "tough." So much more delicately ambiguous than the straight jab of "hungover."


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Friday, January 6, 2017

Paperback 984: Vanish in an Instant / Margaret Millar (Dell 730)

Paperback 984: Dell 730 (1st ptg, 1953)

Title: Vanish in an Instant
Author: Margaret Millar
Cover artist: Griffith Foxley

Estimated value: $8
Condition: 6/10

Best things about this cover:
  • Death comes for Richie and Joanie and the whole Arnold's gang!
  • Two great surprise faces. And then blond dude. Blond dude is like "Hey ... I'm also here ... what's up? Nice knife."
  • My two favorite things about this cover are That Hand and That Ribbon.
  • Margaret Millar was the wife of Kenneth Millar, aka Ross Macdonald. Ross and I both have English Ph.D.s from Michigan. Go Blue.

Best things about this back cover:
  • It's kinda busy. Swoosh, swish, plummet!
  • "How many mysteries rate THIS kind of rave?" Uh, six! No, eight! Thirty-four! ... what do you mean, "rhetorical"?
  • Gonna need a fact-check on "Not one in a hundred." Sounds kinda made-up.

Page 123~

"Are you still here?"
"Want a drink?"
"Not now, thanks."
"It's rum," she said.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Paperback 983: Angel! / Carter Brown (Signet S2094)

Paperback 983: Signet 2094S (PBO, 1962)

Title: Angel!
Author: Carter Brown
Cover artist: Robert McGinnis

Estimated value: $6
Condition: 6/10 (stupid sticker pull) (8th ring of hell for pb stickerers!)

Best things about this cover:
  • I have always been fascinated by highly localized storms. Here, we see a downpour located exclusively in the butt region of a woman whose name, I gather, is Angel (!)
  • Yes ... a "luscious lass." A very luscious lass. Lass is definitely what I think when I look at this cover. "Nice lass!" I think to myself. McGinnis had an amazing talent for drawing ... lasses. 
  • The wraparound hand! To go with the wraparound gaze! It's an exquisite, if uneventful, cover painting.

Best things about this back cover:
  • That's a rather defensive opening claim. I saw the cover. I didn't have doubts. Easy, copywriter.
  • Don't tell Venus she took second. Trust me, when goddesses lose beauty contests, *very* bad things happen.
  • Mavis Seidlitz thrillers!? I don't think I own any of these. Color me intrigued.

Page 123~

"So what happens after the bomb, huh? Tell me that?"

Wow. Timely.


[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]