I picked this old dime novel up at a second-hand store years ago for the comics connection and excellent cover and back cover:
At the time, I didn't even look inside, but the book includes about two dozen strips near the end that help solve the book's mystery:
The book is written by Jack Iams, whom I know nothing about, and is from Dell Publishing in 1948. Iams acknowledges a few comics-related folk in his 'Author's Notes':
'Acknowledgments' sounds unduly pompous in front of a murder mystery, but I would like to give credit for several assists, as follows:
First and foremost, to Bill O'Brian, whose cartoons have enlivened any number of magazines and newspapers, for the series of comic strips that wind up the book;
To Roy Crane, creator of 'Buz Sawyer,' for his help in the basic concoction of the story;
To Ward Greene, of King Features Syndicate, slave-driver-in-waiting to the aforementioned Roy Crane, for checking the manuscript and technical assistance"
I'm not familiar with O'Brian or Greene, either, so if anyone has any info on them, post a comment! O'Brian's not a bad cartoonist, I can see a bit of a Gene Deitch influence in the Harold Gray-meets-Chester Gould storyline:
UPDATE, courtesy my pal Paul Slade: Turns out Jack Iams was a pretty prominent journalist on both sides of the Atlantic, wrote for Newsweek, the New York Herald Tribune, the London Daily Mail and was, for his work as a novelist, once compared to Evelyn Waugh (!). He produced not only Death Draws the Line, but also The Countess to Boot (1941), Prematurely Gay (1948) and (my favourite) Do Not Murder Before Christmas (1949). You'll find more details of his life and work here and here.
Thanks, Paul! Paul asked if I would post an example of Iams' prose, so here's a scan of page 1:
Listen to your mothers: patience is a virtue. If you submit something to Fantagraphics at a convention over a weekend, do not start calling us on Monday morning to find out how much we liked it and to ask when your contract will go in the mail because we've likely been busy enough working a con and keeping up with our lives to have read your comic yet (we may have even brought home other comics that we also want to read, and we might not be able to read all of those by Monday morning, either, go figure!). Do not continue calling every day if no one calls you back, because this is most assuredly not an endearing trait that will serve you well. If you are making us uncomfortable in your efforts to get a reponse or answer from us, you may well find that you get an answer that much more quickly than the approximately 1000 other people we hear from every year, but it's also that much more likely to not be the answer you were looking for. Furthermore, when we finally do write you back in an effort to stop you from continuing to harrass us, do not get angry at us for not doing so sooner. You are not helping yourself.
This story by Luc Sante, "The Book Collection that Devoured My Life," was something all too familiar to me and probably others reading this blog. If, like me, you've actually worried that your book collection could pose a physical threat to your children, you should read this.
Here's the full skinny from our pals at the Beguiling (almost certainly Canada's finest source for comics and graphic novels):
The Beguiling specialty bookstore is proud to present two great graphic novel events this June, appealing to the vast breadth of graphic novel aficionados in the city of Toronto! The first event features acclaimed Norwegian cartoonist JASON-currently serializing his newest work in The New York Times Magazine-as he comes to Toronto to launch his new work POCKET FULL OF RAIN. RAIN is a collection of early works by Jason, defying genre and style and showing his development into the internationally acclaimed author he is today. Jason will be interviewed on his life and career in an audio/visual presentation by The Beguiling's Peter Birkemoe at The Central, located directly adjacent to The Beguiling, on Tuesday June 10th at 8PM.
Then, the following week, The Beguiling will be working with The Toronto Public Library and The Merril Collection to officially launch THE WORLD OF STEVE DITKO, the first-ever biography of the reclusive co-creator of SPIDER-MAN! Toronto author and comics historian Blake Bell has exhaustively researched the life and career of Ditko, and it's on every page of this lavishly illustrated book. Bell will be on hand to launch the book with an audio/visual presentation of Ditko's artistic career on Wednesday, June 18th at 7PM at the Lillian H. Smith Library, 239 College St. (at Spadina).
In addition to the book launch and presentation, we are proud to announce that U.K. television and radio personality Jonathan Ross, who debuted his hour-long "IN SEARCH OF STEVE DITKO" documentary on the BBC last September, has granted us the rights to show the documentary at the Toronto event! This will be the first official screening in Canada, and attendees will get to view it for free!
Pitchfork spills the early beans on our very own Zak Sally's forthcoming debut solo LP and previews a track with a free streaming and downloadable MP3. And a picture of Zak in a gorilla suit. We are excited. This track rocks. Zak's band features members of Steelpole Bathtub and Cows, who also comprised his Wipers cover band, which you may recall from the videos we posted last fall when they played Zak's book release party for Sammy the Mouse #1. And did we mention Sammy #2 will debut at Comic-Con this summer?
He was last seen headed down for the Book Expo in Los Angeles from Seattle. He never showed up at the con. Instead, the guy pictured above was working our booth all weekend. We don't know who he is. If you know Jason and have any information on his whereabouts, please contact Fantagraphics. Here is a recent photo of him from our Christmas party last Dec. (with Jacob Covey on the right):
This multifaceted anthology collects over 25 stories from the first decade of Jason's career, including his remarkable calling card, the novella-length thriller "Pocket Full of Rain," which has never before been published in English. Like a number of his initial stories, "Pocket" is actually drawn with realistic human beings instead of blank-faced animal characters — a true revelation for Jason fans. In fact, this book showcases three distinct styles: his earliest "realistic" drawing style (used to unsettling effect in some particularly creepy stories), an intermediate "bighead" cartoony style that still features humans (used for both humor and drama), and the "funny-animal" style he's now best known for.
The book reveals a young cartoonist experimenting with styles, working through his obsessions (love, loneliness, film, Hemingway) and paying tribute to his cartooning heroes (Wolverton, Moebius, Pratt). Also, croquet-playing nuns, sentient cacti, autobiographical drunken escapades, lists of people who deserve to die, and a color gallery featuring God cheating at Trivial Pursuit.
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