Saturday, October 24, 2015

Full Frontal Exposure

I’m sorry this page has been left unattended for the last fortnight, but I was away in Raleigh, North Carolina, attending Bouchercon 2015, and then I had to deal with a death in my family after I returned home. With any luck, I shall resume a normal posting schedule next week. Meanwhile, here are few links to explore.

• Pulp International offers up the distinctive paperback fronts from four of Chester Himes’ detective novels, all illustrated in the mid-1960s by Harry Bennett for Berkley Medallion. You’ll find those here. “In contrast to [Bennett’s] lushly rendered romance covers, or more conventional crime novel art, these have an almost spontaneous quality,” the blog observes. “Publisher input usually has quite a bit to do with it, but we suspect Bennett was also influenced by Himes’ writing and the Harlem setting, and as a result produced this jazzy art for a jazzy novelist. Excellent stuff.”

• Blogger Noah Stewart showcases a few of what he considers the worst paperback editions of Agatha Christie novels. And yes, he has certainly found a few barkers. But I kind of like the front he’s embedded from So Many Steps to Death (despite its “sullen redhead”), and would be equally happy to have those editions of There Is a Tide and The Mystery of Blue Train (again illustrated by Harry Bennett) on my bookshelves.

• I would also be most pleased to have among my collection this 1964 edition of Richard S. Prather’s The Cockeyed Corpse.

Classic Esquire covers from the 1960s.

• Boing Boing has put together a gallery of “swamp smut” paperbacks that includes illustrations by Barye Phillips, James Meese, Mitchell Hooks, and others.

• Designer Joe Montgomery, who was hired by Vintage/Black Lizard to create the latest paperback reissues of half a dozen Ross Macdonald novels (and what a wonderful job he did, if I may proffer an opinion), comments on the task and shows some of his rejected concepts at the Web site FaceOut Books.

• Something for me to keep in mind as a possible Christmas present: Dorling Kindersley’s Bond by Design: The Art of the James Bond Films. (Hat tip to Illustrated 007).

• And though they are drawn from works of science fiction, rather than crime and mystery fiction, Joaquim Boaz’s examples of underwater expeditions cover artwork--see here and here--are certainly terrific. It’s also rather thrilling to know I own one of his highlighted books: The Godwhale (1974), with a cover painting by Paul Lehr, more of whose artistry can be appreciated here.

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