Sultry Sunday #3 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Another Sunday means: another syndicated episode of Rex Parker's "Pop Sensation" -


Paperback 144: Ace Double F-111
(PBO / 1st ptg, 1961)

Title: The Girl from Las Vegas / To Have and To Kill
Author: J.M. Flynn / Robert Martin
Cover artist: uncredited / uncredited

Best things about this cover:

  • Q: What's the one thing that could upstage a half-naked, armed redhead reclining on your hotel room bed?
  • A: Those pants
  • This cover makes me feel funny ... I like that she's, uh, packing heat, but does she have to hold it like that. It's making me worried/confused. I think she's ordering me to kneel, but ... I'm scared to ask why.
  • It's like Ann-Margaret killed "I Dream of Jeannie," stole her hair, and then ran off to Las Vegas to, I don't know ... let's say, join Clown College.

Best things about this cover:

  • "Aaargh, Krull angry. Who paint words on Krull's back? Krull make someone pay for cleaning bill..."
  • "Abridged" - HA ha. "Long story short, he married her, killed her, and then carried her half-shod corpse over the threshold. Cue the music, fade to black, roll credits."
  • I should be keeping track of all the low-rent outfits that provide blurbs for my books. The Charleston News & Courier!? When did anyone ever take reading advice from South Carolina? (No offense, guys ... Go Gamecocks!)
Page 123~

He had shaved and changed into a light blue short-sleeved shirt and gray cord slacks. His attire surprised me a little, perhaps because I had subconsciously expected him to wear a dark mourning suit and somber tie. He still looked tired; eyes sunken, dark half moons beneath them. I leaned back in the chair and said, "Hi."

-from To Have and To Kill



Sultry Sunday #2 - The weekly "Pop Sensation" crossover

Hey, "Judge a Book" readers. Rex Parker here. It's Sunday, so that means it's time for another syndicated episode of my vintage paperback blog, "Pop Sensation"


Paperback 141: Berkley Books BG-149
(1st ptg, 1958)

Title: Ah King and other famous stories of love and hate in the tropics (!)
Author: W. Somerset Maugham
Cover artist: Robert Maguire

Best things about this cover:

  • Sometimes, when I've been at the computer for too long, I sit like this. The topless native girls never seem to show up.
  • Could this dude be more oafish? He's literally belly-scratching.
  • I wish we had a better close-up on the women, as Bob Maguire does women, especially faces, better than anyone. The kneeling woman is especially sexy and not just because she's, you know, kneeling. God I wanna photoshop this guy out of the picture so bad.
  • You'd never know from this cover that Maugham is one of the most popular and esteemed writers in British history.

Best things about this back cover:

  • OK, for once, these blurbs all sound awesome. I may actually read stories from this book today. That's a first.
  • Is it just me, or does the type-setting look ever-so-slightly off? Like the black and blue inks were set separately, and aren't quite square to one another. It's making me a bit queasy.
  • If I read just one story in this collection, it will be "The Book-Bag"

Page 123~

"When you left them, after a couple of days at the bungalow, you felt that you'd absorbed some of their peace and their sober gaiety. It was as though your soul had been sluiced with cool clear water. You felt strangely purified."

-from, that's right, you guessed it, "The Book-Bag"; I'm dying to see how a book-bag figures into a story about incest on a rubber plantation. I'll let you know.



Virile Horses and Luscious Man Boobies

Wow. I'm back from enjoying my windfalls. I simultaneously won the British Lottery, the Irish Lottery, and the Canadian Lottery! It's amazing because I've never actually been to any of these places (well, I've been to Canada, but it's not nearly as exotic), nor have I enrolled in any lotteries. Isn't the internet great?! At the same time, my friend Mrs. Sese-Seko from Nigeria must have heard of my good luck and wanted to invest some money with me. Wow, I know everyone's talking about the economic downturn, but it's looking up for me!

Also appearing in my inbox these days are the following gems from the Ludovician (I wonder if they have lotteries in Ludovicia?).

When I was a little maughta my best friend and I used to spend hours drawing horses. Yes, like other little girls we were obsessed with cloven-hooved hunks of horseflesh. We also drew fashion models and our own fashions (this was the '80s, keep in mind, so big shoulder pads and pastel makeup was all the rage). I think our pictures looked a lot like this:

Someone is a little too used to drawing giant pecs on romance heroes and got a little carried away on Sir Neigh, here. Is that a six pack?!?

So, what happens when you combine Mucha paintings with digital clocks? No, not steampunk. Rather, what we have here. At least the horse parts look a little more logical than the previous cover!

I'm not sure the following cover could be in any way improved, although it might help if it had a horse on it. Or, y'know, didn't look like it was drawn by a methed-out skaterpunk in the eighth grade on his math homework.

And finally, this lovely find from one of my favorite blogs, Cake Wrecks, sent in by Edmund S. The sad part is I would have loved this cake when I was 14! Heck, my birthday is coming up soon (soon being a relative term and meaning <6>

Save me the pecs, Tracy!!

UPDATE: Horses don't have cloven hooves. I'm confusing them with satyrs. It's a natural mistake!


Crossover! or, Maughta finds a way to cover for her blogging inactivity...

Dear "Judge a Book" readers,

Maughta has asked me to do some crossover publishing on her blog, since we have overlapping interests. So from now until whenever it stops, I'll be posting my Sunday write-ups from "Pop Sensation" here for your readerly pleasure / scorn. I own 2000+ vintage paperbacks, and one day I just started pulling them off the shelf, scanning them, and commenting on their fabulous / horrible / fabulously horrible covers (the covers being the main reason I started collecting them - I haven't read 99% of my collection, truth be told). All my books are for sale, by the way, though selling them is not the reason I have the blog. I just want to spread love for the bad and the good of paperback cover art, circa 1940-1970.

My format is straightforward and self-explanatory. The feature at the end, "Page 123," is just an arbitrary way for me to be able to give readers a taste of the kind of writing these books have to offer. My little nod to the importance of what's between the covers.

Enjoy - Rex Parker


Paperback 138: Perma Book M-3100
(1st ptg, 1957)

Title: One-Way Ticket
Author: Bert and Dolores Hitchens
Cover artist: James Meese

Best things about this cover:
  • "Railroad detective" - my favorite kind!
  • The swirling green vortex of nausea and despair
  • The distractingly child-like drawing of the upper half of a candle
  • Cool stenciled font on the title
  • That furniture - the proportions seem off and there are legs that appear to come from / go to nowhere, but in general, it's cool; spare, stark, mid-century modern in the very best way
  • If only she hadn't cut her hair by herself in the dark with a bread knife, she would easily be one of the hottest women in my collection - understated yet stunning black dress (that's a dress, right, not a negligee?), fierce black shoes,* and a perversely casual way with money. What's not to love?

Best things about this back cover:

  • I love when back covers function like movie teasers: " ... MURDER! Featuring ... Boots! David Bryant! Some other B movie character actors whose names you don't know. And starring Jerry Mathers, as The Beav"
  • Which of these names doesn't belong? A: "David Bryant" - what a dud. That last name really ruins the whole vibe of the back cover. Everyone else gets one colorful name, and he gets the full name of some guy from middle management.
  • Wait, Rock dies? Uh, SPOILER ALERT!
  • This all makes sense except for Boots. I mean, I could write the plot of this book, but I would have no idea what to do with Boots. David Bryant already has two women. Is Boots a cat?

Page 123~

This was a joke on Boots by Boots. They were all expected to enjoy it. They chuckled in chorus and Vic felt a fool.

I'm guessing it was a familiar feeling.


*I had written "fierce black pumps," but apparently those are "mules," and I can't call such great shoes something as ugly-sounding as "mules," so now it's generic "shoes."