Running from 1939 to 1953, Two Complete Detective Books promised its readers a “$4.00 value for 25 cents!” Each issue would feature two complete novels and each issue would also have two cover illustrations, the better to entice readers who wanted to read the best pulp fiction without having to pay full price.
There were 76 issues of Two Complete Detective Books. The covers below were all done by George Gross:
The covers below have not been officially credited to George Gross but they all look like his work to me. Officially, these covers were done by an “unknown artist” but I’m about 99% sure that they were probably done by Gross as well:
Whether you call him the Caped Crusader or the Dark Knight, it’s hard to believe Batman has been in the public eye for eighty years! Making his debut in Detective Comics #27 (cover dated May 1939) in a story titled “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate” by co-creators Bill Finger and Bob Kane, Batman has gone from mere comic book crimefighter to king of all media! Not bad for a poor little rich kid from Gotham City!
Artist Bob Kane (1915-1998) had been toiling in the nascent comic book field for three years when DC’s superhero character Superman took off like a rocket. Comic houses were scrambling to compete in this new genre of costumed cavorters, and Kane came up with some sketches of a masked vigilante, basing his design on Lee Falk’s Phantom, Douglas Fairbanks’ ZORRO, and the 1930 horror/mystery THE BAT WHISPERS. Kane asked writer Bill Finger…
2018 is the centennial anniversary of Mickey Spillane’s birth! Spillane got his start in comic books, then caused a sensation with his 1947 novel I, THE JURY, introducing the world to that hardest of hardboiled PI’s, Mike Hammer. Hard Case Crime, an imprint every pulp fiction fan should know about, celebrates Spillane’s birth by releasing THE LAST STAND, The Mick’s last completed novel, with a bonus unpublished novella from the early 1950’s.
Spillane with friend/literary executor Max Allan Collins
Mickey’s literary executor and friend Max Allan Collins writes the introduction. Collins is no stranger to the hardboiled genre himself, having been Chester Gould’s replacement on the long-running comic strip Dick Tracy from 1977-92, author of the graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION, and the Quarry series of books (made into a Showtime series in 2016). Since Spillane’s death in 2006, Collins has been editing and completing the writer’s (“I’m not an…
On April 18, 1938, National Publications presented Action Comics #1, showcasing typical comic book fare of the era like master magician Zatara, sports hero Pep Morgan, and adventurer Tex Thompson. And then there was the red-and-blue suited guy on the cover…
Yes, it’s Superman, strange visitor from another planet with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men… who can change the course of mighty rivers… bend steel in his bare hands… and so on and so forth! Eighty years ago tomorrow, Superman made his debut and changed the course of mighty comic book publishers forever. An immediate hit with youthful readers, Superman headlined his own comic a year later, spawned a slew of superhero imitators, became a super-merchandising machine, and conquered all media like no other before him!
Wayne Boring’s Superman
And to think he came from humble beginnings. No, not the planet Krypton, but from the fertile…
“The roar of the .45 shook the room. Charlotte struggled back a step. Her eyes were a symphony of incredulity, an unbelieving witness to truth. Slowly, she looked down at the ugly swelling in her belly where the bullet went in.
“How c-could you”, she gasped.
I only had a moment before talking to a corpse. I got it in.
“It was easy”, I said. “
– from I, THE JURY by Mickey Spillane, first published in 1947 by EP Dutton
Mickey Spillane’s PI Mike Hammer made his debut in I, THE JURY, and set the shocked literary world on its collective ear with its sex-and-violence laden story. Critics savaged Spillane, but the book buying public ate it up, turning I, THE JURY into a best seller and launching Hammer as a pop culture icon. Hammer’s roots were deeply set in the bloody pulps and another 20th century phenomenon… the four-color comics!
With the passing of Chuck Berry, today’s musical sequence of the day is a bit of a no-brainer. This scene, from 1994’s Pulp Fiction, is already one of my favorite dance scenes and, today, it takes on a special poignance.
It’s funny. Whenever there’s a montage of classic dance scenes, we always get at least a few seconds of John Travolta and Uma Thurman dancing at Jack Rabbits Slim. In fact, I’ve seen this dance featured in so many montages that it’s easy to forget which song they were originally dancing to. I’ve seen this scene scored with everything from Sinatra to punk to Britney Spears to EDM. And, every time, it’s worked beautifully.
But really, “You Never Can Tell” is the perfect song for this scene. Pulp Fiction is so many thing that I think people sometimes forget that, at heart, it’s truly a celebration of Americana. Seeing John Travolta and Uma Thurman dancing to Chuck Berry serves to remind us of this fact.