Saturday, April 4, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Dr. No”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



It’s been established that Mitchell Hooks was a prolific painter of paperback covers. However, he’s also well known for having created promotional poster artwork for the first James Bond movie, Dr. No (1962). Explains the blog MI6: “As well as creating … stylized illustrations of Sean Connery as James Bond for the UK quad poster, which would be used again for the later U.S. theatrical campaign, he also drew the line-art illustrations that feature behind the colourful character poses. A lot of his work would be repurposed for the international posters.”



FOLLOW-UP I: Writing on his Today’s Inspiration Facebook page, artist Leif Peng recalls “a fun anecdote about Mitchell doing this poster for the first-ever James Bond film. He’d been painting posters for a movie promotions agency in New York for some time when this project came up. And when he was called in to pick up stills to use as reference, his contact at the agency said, ‘Don't worry about putting too much effort into getting a good likeness on this one, Mike. It’s just some obscure British spy flick. Probably won’t be a hit anyway.’”

FOLLOW-UP II: It should be mentioned, as well, that Hooks painted posters for more movies than just Dr. No. Click here to enjoy additional examples of his work.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Hooks Hits: “The Lani People”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



The Lani People, by J.F. Bone (Bantam, 1962).

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Hooks Hits: “The Boy Came Back”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



The Boy Came Back, by Charles Knickerbocker (Popular Library, 1959). This novel, which “featured small-town scandals slightly reminiscent of the later Peyton Place,” plus “graphic sexual descriptions and profanity,” became a major source of controversy in Illinois during the last months of 1953.

You can see the reverse side of the cover featured above by clicking here. A previous, 1952 Popular Library edition (its cover artist unidentified) can be enjoyed at this link.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Hooks Hits: Alexander’s Greats

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.

Between 1954 and 1959, New York City author and newspaper horse-racing editor David Alexander published eight mystery novels starring Bart Hardin, described by The Thrilling Detective Web Site as “the rambling, gambling two-fisted editor of The Broadway Times.” Mitchell Hooks painted covers for the Bantam paperback editions of at least two of those works, featured below: Die Little Goose (1957) and The Murder of Whistler’s Brother (1957). He also created the front for an Alexander one-off, Murder Points a Finger (1955).





The End Is Yet to Come

Two weeks ago, when I launched Killer Covers’ tribute to the work of American painter and illustrator Mitchell Hooks, I wrote that the series would run only through the end of March. Well, April Fools! I got you! These posts have been so popular, I’ve decided to continue rolling them out for a bonus fortnight. You’re welcome.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Hooks Hits: “The Deadly Chase”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



The Deadly Chase, by “Carter Cullen,” aka Richard and Mildred Macaulay (Gold Medal, 1957). I don’t know much about this novel, but Mystery*File says it figures into a “subgenre of mysteries dealing with insane asylums.” Film screenwriter Richard Macaulay and his wife published at least one other work of crime fiction under their Cullen pseudonym: Don’t Get Caught (1951).

Monday, March 30, 2020

Hooks Hits: “A Burnt-Out Case”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



A Burnt-Out Case, by Graham Greene (Bantam, 1962).

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Donovan’s Brain”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Donovan’s Brain, by Curt Siodmak (Popular Library, 1961). This work of science-fiction first saw print in a 1943 hardcover edition from Alfred A. Knopf. It went on to be adapted into three different movies: The Lady and the Monster (1944), Donovan’s Brain (1953), and The Brain (1962). German-American novelist Siodmak penned more than a dozen books, but he was quite a bit more prolific as a screenwriter, producing the scripts for such Hollywood horror classics as The Wolf Man, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and The Beast with Five Fingers.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hooks Hits: Ambler Times Three

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.

During the course of an interview he conducted with Mitchell Hooks in 1988, Gary Lovisi of Gryphon Books asked the artist whether he had a personal favorite among the myriad covers he’d painted.

Hooks responded: “I think rather than a single cover, there are two series: one you’ve mentioned, the Lew Archer series, because the format was so strong and they made such a nice group. But there was another series I did for Bantam of Eric Ambler books, and there were five or six of those. I think they were a little more sophisticated in concept and design. I think they would be my favorites.”

Five or six? In a search across the Web, I have so far succeeded in tracking down only three Ambler covers painted by Hooks, for paperbacks released in 1964. Enjoy them below.






Friday, March 27, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Aimée”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Aimée, by M.L. Law (Popular Library, 1959). Reportedly based on the life and legend of 18th-century French heiress Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, this novel was originally published in a hardcover edition in 1956, under the author’s full name, Margaret Lathrop Law. To read the back cover, simply click here.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Local Talent”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Local Talent, by William Fuller (Dell, 1960). This novel—the second of six to feature Fuller’s adventurer-cum-detective, Brad Dolan—was originally released in 1954 as Goat Island.

Hooks had previously created the cover art for another Fuller tale, a standalone titled The Pace That Kills (1956):



READ MORE:Brad Dolan #5: Miami Manhunt” (Paperback Warrior).

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Watch the Northwind Rise”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Watch the Northwind Rise, by Robert Graves (Avon, 1963). Originally published in hardcover by Creative Age Press, 1949. The UK version of this novel was titled Seven Days in Crete.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Don’t Let Her Die”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Don’t Let Her Die, by “Tarn Scott, “ aka Walter Szot and Peter G. Tarnor (Gold Medal, 1957). Click here to enjoy the back cover. Szot and Tarnor apparently penned only two novels together, this one and Sex Marks the Spot (1960).

Monday, March 23, 2020

Hooks Hits: “Brute in Brass”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



Brute in Brass, by Harry Whittington (Gold Medal, 1956).

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Hooks Hits: “The Pink Hotel”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



The Pink Hotel, by Dorothy Erskine and Patrick Dennis (Crest, 1960). Originally published in hardcover by Putnam, 1957.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Hooks Hits: “The Big Eye”

Part of a series saluting artist-illustrator Mitchell Hooks.



The Big Eye, by Max Ehrlich (Bantam, 1958). According to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, this “was the first release in Doubleday's SF line.” The tale “concerns an attempt by astronomers to terrify humanity into world peace by announcing that a visiting planet is due to hit Earth ...”