RARA-AVIS: Paperback Parade - A Defence

From: Rene Ribic ( rribic@optusnet.com.au)
Date: 19 Mar 2002

It's a bit late but I just thought I'd say (quite) a few words in defence of Paperback Parade: Firstly, as the name suggests, it is a magazine devoted to collecting paperbacks & hence it is not a literary magazine as such.There is a big emphasis on paperback covers & cover art & paperbacks as collectable items. Having said that, it does print, at least on occasion, articles of interest to members of this list. In particular, #15 has an interview with Arnold Hano, editor of Lion books, publisher of the early pbo's of Jim Thompson & David Goodis & other noir classics. This is the only interview with Hano that I'm aware of & for me personally it's worth the
(very high) price of a back copy. Issue #33 features a nice overview of Dick Carroll's editorship of Gold Medal, i.e., the classic period of Gold Medal & an interview with his successor, Knox Burger, by George Tuttle which is very interesting indeed. These two articles make an excellent complement to Ed Gorman's ubiquitous Gold Medal article, which at one stage I had at least 3 or 4 copies of from different sources. To my mind, this issue is invaluable to anybody seriously interested in Gold Medal books & the authors GM published. The second issue is the amateurishness of the production values. I must admit, I come from a generation when that sort of thing was considered a virtue - you don't know how to play music? Just get a guitar, mike, whatever & go for it, learn in public.Hand produce your own fanzines, etc.So, basically it hadn't occurred to me that it would be an issue with some (most, probably) people. The early issues appear to be photocopied, by issue #33 Lovisi appears to have caught up with the computer era (it did come out in 1993). The covers from at least #20 are in colour, earlier ones in black & white.I haven't seen any more recent issues than 1993 so it's possible that contemporary issues are slicker looking. The difference between #15 & #20 is marked. #33 is similar in quality to #20 but has many more pages than it does, as #20 has more pages than #15. All my 3 issues have clear print & I don't recall any significant problems with typos, etc. It may be that Lovisi just prints articles as received. He is, I assume, a more or less one-man show, so to my mind there is some excuse. My edition of Lawrence Block's "Such Men Are Dangerous" is harder to excuse. I believe that there are more typos than pages, literally, in Carroll & Graf's edition. Surely if either Carroll or Graf was snowed under with work they could hire a third person to do some proofreading :-). Although this book is an extreme example it is by no means a rare one in US paperback publishing. The last issue was price. Yes, they are expensive but this is a very small operation & I doubt they could survive if they were a lot cheaper. I don't profess to know the economics of the situation but common sense dictates that a small publisher has to charge more. Again, it's easy to see, at least for me, why "PP" would cost so much but it's much harder for me to understand why the trade paperback of the most recent Richard Stark novel sells here for $38AUS ($19US), at least $15AUS more than another similarly sized TP which probably is printed on better paper with more expensively produced covers. & I'm even more mystified why a re-issue of a Richard Stark novel in a similar edition goes for $35AUS. Anyhow, it's a shame people were disappointed with "Paperback Parade". I personally love all sleazy vintage paperbacks, good girl art & similar trash & I'd buy all these mags if I had the money but that's just me. I can't comment on the issues other people have sighted (& cited) but I really believe anybody who is serious about noir, particularly the publishing history of it, & Gold Medal books especially would get their money's worth from issue #33.Oh, & if anybody is so disappointed with their copies of "PP" that they want to get rid of them I'll be happy to send you the price of postage & packaging.


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