Fight Like A Girl.

Mike Millar olivier coipel The Magic Order

And I’ll just bet she does, so watch out. Spanish comics writer Mark Millar’s The Magic Order (issue 6), with art by French illustrator Olivier Coipel.

And, More Manhunt.

Manhunt 6

See the preceding post…

As mentioned in the prior post, I’m eagerly waiting for (and have already pre-ordered) The Best of Manhunt – A Collection Of The Best Of Manhunt Magazine, a forthcoming book due out this summer. But till then, enjoy a few more cover scene shots culled from here and there, and dig the list of authors the magazine showcased. Impressive!

Manhunt 7Manhunt 8Manhunt 5 April 1953

 

 

Manhunt

The Best of Manhunt

I think it’s great that publishers promote forthcoming titles in advance. But I don’t know how the hell I’m supposed to wait until late July for The Best Of Manhunt. Subtitled: “A Collection Of The Best of Manhunt Magazine”, the book is edited by Jeff Vorzimmer, with a foreword by writer Lawrence Block and an afterword by Barry Malzberg, and collects 39 stories from the pages of mid-1950’s pulp magazine that many rightly regard as one of the very best of mystery/crime fiction magazines.

Manhunt 1

The pulp magazine era had mostly died by the time Manhunt magazine debuted in 1952. Mystery and crime fiction migrated to the new and booming paperback market in the postwar era, their garish, spicy covers replaced on the newsstands by countless ‘true crime’ magazines, many of which soon switched to increasingly explicit photo covers and ‘fact-based’ stories full of gruesome and period-sexy photographs.

Manhunt 2

But Manhunt magazine continued to offer monthly doses of hard-boiled short stories and serialized novels from the era’s best writers. Just look at the covers of a few issues…they read like a who’s who of postwar mystery/crime fiction masters: James Cain, Harlan Ellison, Bruno Fischer, Fletcher Flora, David Goodis, Brett Haillday, Evan Hunter, Frank Kane, Henry Kane, Richard Prather, Mickey Spillane, Jack Webb and others. In fact, the magazine even did it’s own ‘best of’ as a Perma Books paperback (see image below) with 13 stories from its pages.

The Best From Manhunt

I may get a real kick out of vintage crime fiction, particularly of the postwar hard-boiled variety, and have bought a number of 1930’s-40’s pulp reprints and trade paperback collections. Doing so has taught me that a lot of the content didn’t quite meet the expectations of the cover art, and was, in fact, kind of dreary. I’m acquisitive, but fortunately, no collector, and unwilling to hand over serious cash for seventy-year-old magazines with questionable contents.

Manhunt 3

One nearby used bookstore occasionally shelves vintage magazines and had a few copies of Manhunt for sale ($25 to $40 each as I recall) and though I didn’t buy, I was allowed to browse, and can say that Manhunt at least looked a cut above the hurried cut-n-paste hack jobs that many of its ‘true crime’ contemporaries really were. But I know from reading about it at many a blog, site and mystery/crime fiction book that Manhunt was considered the one postwar pulp title that gathered together some of the era’s very best talents.

Oh, I’m pre-ordering this book, you can bet on that, five months to wait or not. Till then, enjoy some retro mayhem from the covers of Manhunt magazine, here and in the following post.

Manhunt 4

 

 

Comics Couture

The Haute Life Bruce Weber Shalom Harlow Vogue 1995 2

Fashion magazine creative directors, art directors, stylists and the fashion photographers they engage try some pretty outré things and hunt out truly unlikely locations, from jungles to rooftops, back alleys to motel rooms and abandoned factories. But I’m reasonably sure I’ve never seen anything set in a comic book shop. The copy says the image (or the outfit?) is inspired by that first of ‘supermodels’ from the 1950’s, Suzy Parker. Uhm, okay. Shalom Harlow is shot here by Bruce Weber for an editorial called “The Haute Life” for Vogue back in 1995. Nice dress and all, even with the Spiderman brooch. I’ll take the EC Comics reprints on the bottom shelf though.

Try These Lines On For Size.

hard boiled 1996

Hard-Boiled: Great Lines From Classic Noir Films by Peggy Thompson and Seako Usukawa is a handsome 1996 trade pb from Chronicle Books showcasing memorable dialog from countless classic (and not so familiar) films noir and crime melodramas, coupled with gorgeous publicity shots, film stills and posters. The nicely laid out spreads include four to eight quotes side by side with pictures, some of the quotes only short one-liners, some extended exchanges, and all credited for the film sources, character names, release dates and directors. The back cover teases “Now you too can sound like you just stepped off the set of a film noir classic with lines like…”

Well, not so sure about that. In fact, trying out some of these lines in the wrong situation could get a gal in trouble, a guy slapped, and almost anyone tossed in the back of a squad car. It’s enjoyable reading for film noir fans, needless to ay, but they’re also great idea generators for writers, particularly those working in noir-ish and hard-boiled mysteries of their own. Not that I’d ever condone stealing, but cooking up your own juicy dialog feels just a little bit easier after browsing even only a few pages of this terrific book.

She Was Framed.

S Stone 2

Maybe it was a set-up. Maybe she was framed. Maybe she had it coming, who knows? Maybe things would’ve gone down easier if she just went along quietly.

The cops couldn’t hold onto her in Basic Instinct, but actress Sharon Stone’s not getting out of the clink anytime soon in this gritty 2008 photo suite from Ellen von Unwerth, fashion photography’s maestro of mischief and all things delightfully decadent.

S Stone 3S Stone 4S Stone 5S Stone 6S Stone 7

Blackjacked & Pistol-Whipped

Crime Does Not Pay

The Crime Does Not Pay comic book series debuted in 1942, the first of its kind to publish such unvarnished, gritty, violent crime tales in a marketplace that had become saturated with good-guys and their sidekicks flitting around in capes and tights, following the success of Superman, Batman and other costumed ‘superheroes’. The title lasted till 1955, though it was pretty watered down by then, following the parental and even Congressional scrutiny of the comic book marketplace.

This handsome trade pb from Dark Horse Books includes two dozen beautifully reproduced vintage Crime Does Not Pay tales, along with an introduction by Brian Azzarello and an informative essay by Denis Kitchen, which details one of the comic’s founders (Bob Wood) own criminal legacy: He arrested for the gruesome murder of his lover in New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel. Seriously, it’s a real life story straight out of Crime Does Not Pay comics. Even 70+ years later, these stories are still pretty, rough, tough and violent. Just how ‘true’ they are…well, who cares?

rime Does Not Pay Back

 

Happy Valentine’s Day

Valentine 2019

To followers, visitors, and all the lovers everywhere out there tonight…those in love, those looking for love, those feeling unloved and even those simply in love with love:

A very happy Valentine’s Day, from the ‘Stiletto Gumshoe’.

 

A Touch Of Noir

Touch 4

Just a touch, mind you. Selected images from the photo suite titled “A Touch Of Noir” by Galli-Trevisan Photographers, from the Milan Fashion Photographers site. (Images (c) Galli-Trevisan)

TOuch 3

TOuch 2

TOuch 5

TOuch 6

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