Wednesday, October 6, 2021

What Did You Say Your Name Was Again?

(Above) Kim, by Robert Colby (Monarch, 1962), with a cover illustration by Harry Schaare.

More often than not, Killer Covers’ gallery posts are developed through meticulous, time-consuming research into a specific author or theme. But every once in a while—as was the case with this post, for instance, as well as this one—they are born of happenstance. That’s again what led to today’s offering.

While working on an unrelated piece for CrimeReads, I noticed that a surprising quantity of classic paperback fronts in my computer files bore the single names of women. It’s likely this doesn’t demonstrate an appalling lack of imagination on the part of their authors or publishers, but rather a wish to focus the reader’s attention on a female protagonist, be she benevolent and magnanimous or (as in most examples shown here) conniving and concupiscent. Emphasizing only a character’s so-called Christian name might make her, and any novel about her, easier to remember. It’s the same principal that leads so many contemporary celebrities to adopt abbreviated appellations: Cher, Beyoncé, Björk, Bono, Usher, Jewel, Morrissey, Madonna, Oprah, and Seal, to mention just a few.

When it comes to attention-seeking paperback novels, it doesn’t hurt, either, that a sole-moniker title should be coupled with captivating artwork. That’s certainly true of the books showcased in this post. Artists represented include not only Harry Schaare, but also Rudy Nappi (Lulie), Barye Phillips (Clemmie, Popular Library’s Bedelia), William Teason (Dell’s Bedelia), Rafael de Soto (Louisa), Robert Maguire (Concha), Paul Rader (Connie, Carla, Lana), Charles Frace (Candy), Hans Helweg (Claudelle), Al Wagner (Clio), Roger Hall (Panther’s Julie), and Harry Barton (Nina, Vicki).

Click on any of these images to open an enlargement.


HonoluLou said...

These are awesome. "Candy, with a cashbox for a heart," ya gotta love it!

Lt. Lothar Zogg said...

Looking at paperback covers like these was a part of my growing up in the late '50's and early '60's. My oh my, two very different Megs here.