Re: RARA-AVIS: Australian PBs

From: Rene Ribic (
Date: 06 Feb 2002

Bill wrote :

> Rene: Speaking of those Phantom Books, do you have a copy of
> Vintage Paperback Guide? It's by your fellow countryman Graeme
> but it was published in the U.S. by Gary Lovisi's Gryphon Books. You
> find out just about every title by your favorite authors (both the
> and Australian titles), and there are many cover reproductions. And
> the way, those old Phantom Books are selling for Big Bucks on eBay.
Yep, I've got that one, Bill. My copy is WELL worn & as you imply is indispensable for anyone into vintage Oz pb's (or vintage pb's in general). I'm aware of the collecatability of the Phantom (& Star, both published by Original Novels Foundation) books in the US. They almost make up for the fact that US pb's (barring the UK ed's of Gold Medal) of the era are almost non-existent out here due to the copyright related laws of the time that were designed to protect the Oz publishing industry. I've mentioned the downside - the upside is that some (a comparatively small
& haphazard selection) was reprinted locally in digests such as those mentioned & a huge industry of local clones of US hardboiled stuff, such as Carter Brown, Larry Kent, etc grew up.Whatever the literary quality of the C Browns (yet to read one myself) the covers of the earlier digests & later pb's were gloriously sexy (as were the pb's later pub'd by Signet in the US, art by Bob McGinis) , the earlier digests unusually for the time featured photos of live "models" (they weren't professionals, apparently - you couldn't get professional models to pose in such scanty clothing in Oz in those days!) & are as sexy, if not more so, than the more usual painted covers prevalent in the US, etc at the time.By the way, Graeme Flanagan hosts 2 excellent websites, one devoted to Oz pb's featuring 100's of scans & one devoted to Bob McGinis, also 100's of scans. I'm in a hurry right now, have to go but I'll supply URL's next time. & if anyone's interested, I'll tell you my Big Score story, on this topic.


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