The Hang Fire Books Blog

The rantings of a bookdealer in Brooklyn, New York.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sin Planner

Title: Sin Planner (Saber SA-152)
Author: Drew Palmer
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1969

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Immorality in Three Dimensions

Title: Immorality in Three Dimensions (Saber SA-90)
Author: Drew Palmer
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1965

"Marcie's planned seduction of young Harry was working perfectly. His view of her nearly exposed breasts and her bare legs was more than enough bait."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Sex-Girl Friday

Title: Sex-Girl Friday (Herald Reader HR 104)
Author: Claude Richards
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1964

"They gave their love men and to each other."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Lesbians and Lesbiana

Passion Ready

Title: Passion Ready (Mask Reader MR 103)
Author: Art Danglon
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1964

"Lust fools and wild chicks..."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Orgy Club

Title: Orgy Club (Pillar PB 8336)
Author: Tony Calvano
Artist: Robert Bonfils (?)
Year: 1964

"Perverted kicks could be obtained at the cost of her total submission to all the cruelty hell itself could devise."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Kink and Fetish

Executive Stud Sinners

Title: Executive Stud Sinners (Dragon Edition DE 120)
Author: Monte Rappe
Artist: Unknown
Year: 1966

"High level executives taste of low level perversions....By day she was an untouchable lady executive, by night the lust fires of her voluptuous desirable body could not be controlled."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pleasure Bound

Title: Pleasure Bound (After Hours AH 115)
Author: Ron Horton
Artist: Eric Stanton
Year: 1966

"A crew of perverts, a female captain who delights in dominating virile men and seducing young girls...Female mastery on the open seas."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Kink and Fetish, Lesbians and Lesbiana, Sports,

Camp For Sinners

Title: Camp For Sinners (First Niter FN 107)
Author: Jon Parker
Artist: Eric Stanton
Year: 1966

"Reverse passions in Twilight Camp..."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Lesbians and Lesbiana, Sports,


Title: Bizarre (First Niter FN 109)
Author: Ivan Tarpoff
Artist: Eric Stanton
Year: 1964

"Invitation to a 'Tea' party in notorious Greenwich Village where passions run wild, where men love men, and women love women, where leather heels and velvet clothes hold a special appeal."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGADrug UseLesbians and Lesbiana,

Vixens Delight

Title: Vixens Delight (After Hours AH 110)
Author: Ivan Tarpoff
Artist: Eric Stanton
Year: 1965

"MALE RAPE, cries George as he wants to escape this punishing domination, but he is a helpless slave of domineering women in leather, silk and satin."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGAHot Rods and DelinquentsKink and FetishLesbians and Lesbiana,

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Prefer Girls

Title: I Prefer Girls (Monarch 381)
Author: Jessie Dumont
Artist: Robert Maguire
Year: 1963

"A strange story of twilight love, jealousy and hatred... My name is Penny Stewart and I'm a lesbian. I didn't know that's what I was until I moved to Greenwich Village..."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA, Lesbians and Lesbiana,

The Love Pirate

Title: The Love Pirate (Midwood 32-455)
Author: Alix York
Artist: Paul Rader
Year: 1965

"She used her body for bait...and she had all four of them on the hook!"

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Satan Was My Pimp

Title: Satan Was My Pimp (Playtime 660)
Author: Joe Castro
Artist: Robert Bonfils
Year: 1964

"Women let themselves be sold to the highest bidder of either sex, for whatever erotic ritual evil could devise."

Categories: 1960s Sleaze and GGA

Friday, September 9, 2011

Paperback Review: The Real Cool Killers and The Hustler

A few months back I reviewed The King in Yellow and promised to add a vintage paperback review every few weeks. I had the best of intentions but my next two installments were both read over vacation, and then backburnered as I caught up with work. At this point my memory of the books is fairly hazy but better a couple of short, impressionistic reviews than nothing at all.

First up: The Real Cool Killers

This is the second title I've read from Chester Himes but the first featuring his popular series characters Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones (the characters debuted in the earlier For Love of Imabelle aka: A Rage in Harlem).

The novel opens in a Harlem nightclub that is about to explode in violence. This is how Himes sets the scene:
Big Joe Turner was singing a rock-and-roll adaptation of Dink's Blues. The loud licking rhythm blasted from the jukebox with enough heat to melt bones.

A woman leapt from her seat in a booth as though the music had stuck her full of tacks. She was a lean black woman clad in a pink jersey dress and red silk stockings. She pulled up her skirt and began doing a shake dance as though trying to throw off the tacks one by one.

Her mood was contagious. Other women jumped down from their high stools and shook themselves into the act. The customers laughed and shouted and began shaking too. The aisle between the bar and the booths became stormy with shaking bodies.

Big Smiley, the giant-size bartender, began doing a flat-footed locomotive shuffle up and down behind the bar.
This passage--and the extremely chaotic violence that follows--immediately made me think of the Fleischer Brother's Betty Boop cartoons that were set to the music of Cab Calloway; the characters all bouncing in rhythm as one surreal event follows another.

Coffin Ed and Grave Digger Jones, named for their fearsome reps, are Mike Hammer brutal, with hair trigger tempers. Coffin Ed is the more methodic "good cop" (by a notch or two) while Grave Digger--rage-filled and paranoid after an earlier case left his face acid scarred--is likely to attack anyone around him, whether or not they're involved in the crime.

Himes' portrayel of 1950s Harlem, and his very pulpy characterizations, makes for a fun read but this wasn't at all what I expected after the sombre, realistic and semi-autobiographical If He Hollers. I'd like to read a biography before speculating, but I'm curious if Himes was deliberately writing these for the Mickey Spillane popular audience?

Next up an even less detailed review of The Hustler by Walter Tevis:

My main takeaway from the book is that the 1961 film starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason is a very fine adaptation indeed (which I need to rewatch immediately).

A few things from the book that didn't come across in the movie: the detailed, tactile descriptions of a pool hall in the early morning that make it sound like a cathedral. Also the side characters are fleshed out enough that you sense they've all tried to take down Minnesota Fats (or their own personal Fats) and the place they are now in life is exactly where they fell and will remain. Lastly the book ends on a much more ambiguous, Borgesian note than the film. Eddy has won but is tied to a vicious fixer and he's now a stationary target for every fast pool hustler who wants to destroy him. His triumph and his doom are cut from the same green cloth.

The Hustler was Dell 3940, a movie tie-in paperback from 1964 and Real Cool Killers was Berkley Medallion F1262 with a Harry Bennett cover from 1966.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Shriek with Pleasure

Title: Shriek with Pleasure (Signet 820)
Author: Toni Howard
Cover Artist: Mitchell Hooks
Year: 1950

"Her charms were her weapons..."

Categories: 1950s Sleaze and GGA,

The Tyranny of Sex

Title: Tyranny of Sex (Signet 649)
Originally published as: The Case of Mr. Crump
Author: Ludwig Lewisohn
Cover Artist: "T.V."
Year: 1949 (Sixth Printing)

Categories: 1940s Sleaze and GGA

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Obscure Publications for Sophisticates

I found a few pieces of naughty book trade ephemera that I thought I'd share.

First this set of bookstore tickets / trade labels from The Coffee N' Culture Book Shop in Corydon, Indiana. Both were pasted into a 1964 Grove Press paperback of City of Night by John Rechy.
The upper label seems fairly above board, and even community oriented, since they produced the town's local paper.

Below that though is another label--same typeface, same border--offering "Obscure Publications for Sophisticates - Adults Only" with a PO Box in Denver, Colorado. I'm guessing the Indiana obscenity laws were strict and this bookseller had a little something on the side out of state and used this second label to inform worldly readers who were browsing things like the Grove Press.

Next this bound in subscription card "inaugurat[ing the] happy American exile"of the Olympia Press, found in a Bee-Line release of The Demon's Feast by Louise Walbrook in the Traveller's Companion Series:

(click for larger version)

I just listed a tall stack of the New York Ophelias and Traveller's Companions. Check them out if you're feeling sophisticated.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ipad Apps for the Anglophile

I was looking up a few references in Rob Chapman's excellent Syd Barret bio A Very Irregular Head and came across these Ipad apps for the Anglophile in us all.

First off, this digital version of the classic Pollock's Toy Theatre which lets you produce Monty Python-style, cut-out theatrical productions with authentic Victorian-era graphics.

The app is available here.

Next The Sun's App displays their famous "Page 3" girls in full 360 glory...and I think they give you a wink and a smile.

This put's Hot Metal's "Wobble-vision" to shame.

Here's The Sun page promoting the App (not sure about U.S. availability). Ironic that the Page 3 girls are now probably the most innocent part of the Murdoch media empire.

I'm sadly padless and haven't tried either of these, but between these and the upcoming BBC Iplayer App, I'm sorely tempted.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Classic Games as Classic Paperbacks

U.K. artist A.J. Hately has been designing covers for alternate video game manuals inspired by classic British paperbacks. It's a stunning series. Here are a few from some of my favorite games:

Katamari Damacy:

Super Mario Land

Shadow of the Colossus

The series continues on her Tumblr site, Wilderness as a Girl, and she has prints available.

I love that most of the books take their titles from literary-sounding game locations, characters or lines (and that the Katamari book has an intro by Myth of Sisyphus author Albert Camus).

Going to keep an eye on the series and spend some time picking out a print or two.

Link via Joystiq.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Paperback Review: The King in Yellow

So it's been a long, long time since I last checked in. Between malaise, time consuming freelance gigs, and attention drift to lower maintenance social media (and subsequent exhaustion with those), I've barely been able to moderate the comment spam without being paralyzed by guilt.

My schedule has opened up though and--now that I have something to link promote with my spanky new ecommerce site:'s time to dip the toes back in.

I'm going to start slow and just try to read and review one vintage paperback every one to two weeks.

My first:

The King in Yellow

The King in Yellow is a collection of short fiction published in 1895 by Brooklyn-born writer, Robert W. Chambers. The first four stories ("The Repairer of Reputations", "The Mask", "In the Court of the Dragon", and "The Yellow Sign") are linked by the recurring appearance of a notorious, suppressed play entitled "The King in Yellow," the second act of which will drive an impressionable reader insane.

This fictional work plays a varying role in each of the four stories. In "The Repairer of Reputations," the narrator--after a brain-scrambling fall from a horse--works with a mutilated dwarf to bring about the Imperial Dynasty in America and the reign of the King in Yellow. In a later story, the book merely sits on a shelf and is noticed with a shudder. Each successive mention of the book adds to a sinister alternate history that forms the backdrop to this collection.

Robert W. Chambers, a bestselling author in his time, is today remembered primarily for his influence on H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft discussed Chambers in his Supernatural Horror in Literature, paid tribute to Chamber's use of the book within a book with his Necronomicon, and directly integrated The King in Yellow--and his lost cities of Hastur and Carcosa--into the Cthulhu mythos.

Chambers' influence also seems clear in the work of Daphne Du Maurier, particularly "Don't Look Now" and her time travel romance The House on the Strand.

Chambers' style, in the four linked stories, is vivid and evocative. His writing feels less dated than Lovecraft's though the stories do have somewhat trite and predictable outcomes (or perhaps they have since become horror cliches). I keep emphasizing the first four stories because the remaining tales in the collection have no real connection to The King in Yellow. Two stories--"The Demoiselle D'Ys," and "The Street of Four Winds" are passable supernatural tales but with excessively romantic endings. The remainder I struggled with, finally flipping ahead to see if they became interesting but that didn't seem to be the case.

Reading this left me with several questions that Google and Wikipedia don't want to answer. Maybe there's a Chambers aficionado out there who can help me out?

1.) Was this originally published in book form? I see the 1895 first edition but I don't see any reference to earlier serial publication. It seems a very peculiar structure for a work conceived as a book. I did find one web reference to the non-KIY related stories being being added later but it wasn't sourced.

2.) Was this book a bestseller? I know a number Chambers' later romances became bestsellers but not sure about KIY.

3.) Are there earlier occurences of books within books that are haunted or drive the reader insane? The only thing that comes to mind is Don Quixote but it took a whole library of books on chivalry to drive him mad (and most of the name-checked titles were real). I feel like there must be something in Kaidan Japanese ghost stories at least.

4.) Lastly, where did Chambers live in Brooklyn? I always like to check out dead author haunts.

The edition I read was an Ace paperback (M-132) from 1965 with a cover painting by Jack Gaughan (based on Chamber's own design for the first edition).