There are so many beautifully realized books devoted to classic comic strips that it is nigh on impossible to keep apace of all of them. But referring back to an earlier posting on this blog about the life and troubled times of Bob Wood and Charles Biro and their excessively lurid Crime Does Not Pay comic, I thought I ought to mention a forthcoming collection from Dark Horse Books.
Titled Blackjacked and Pistol Whipped, the cover for this collection is by the superb designer/ illustrator Peter Poplaski and brilliantly pastiches Charles Biro's luridly mundane cover art as he depicts the moment when Biro's publishing partner Bob Wood murdered his girlfriend in a drunken brawl in room 91 of NYC's Irving Hotel. There is a fascinating article by the legendary publisher Denis Kitchen which accompanies this book and sheds further light on the dodgy dealings and nefarious activities that helped spawn this horrible but nonetheless fascinating line of comics. If the editorial team of
a notorious boozer with a succession of violent and abusive relationships and a hyper driven chancer whose tawdry crime covers were knocked out with a pet monkey on his shoulder seems a little unlikely, then there are further surprises in store as you read about some of the other players in the story of one of the U.S.'s most infamous lines of comics. There are moments when the lives of the men behind this title seem at times to upstage the stories that are re-presented in this excellent book.
Definitely on my list of must have items the book will be published on September 13th.