RARA-AVIS: Black Lizard Status

Sat, 16 Jan 1999 12:28:21 EST Brad Cox:
<< Doug,
So what's the status of Black Lizard these days?
Brad >>

Someone on this list probably knows better than I do. The small format Black
Lizard books (mostly reprints--Goodis, Thompson, Willeford, etc.), the
anthologies, and a few hardback originals were published by Black Lizard, an
imprint of Creative Arts in Berkeley, California. Barry Gifford made a lot
(all?) of the title selections, working with Don Ellis, the publisher.
(Again, this is the lore as I understand it, but I may be wrong here and
there.) The line was sold to Vintage, which reissued in the arty, pricey
trade-size format, and dropped most of Berkeley Black Lizard's titles (they
did more than 80 books, I think). I think Vintage mostly wanted to get the
reprint rights to the Jim Thompson titles, which were about to take off again.
Black Lizard still exists at Vintage, I guess. They've rotated some titles
into the series. For instance, they had reprinted Crumley as Vintage
Contemporaries. Now the cover proclaims them "Vintage Crime," with the black
lizard graphic (but no "Black Lizard" name); the interior still lists the book
as a "Vintage Contemporary" (something to do with having the pages printed,
but making new covers with higher prices?). Can anybody add to this account?

Doug Levin
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