RARA-AVIS: soft boiled Sunday morning

From: Jay Gertzman ( jgertzma@earthlink.net)
Date: 09 Oct 2005

Stephen King's appearance on CBS's _Sunday Morning_ today featured some interesting statements about how he got interested in crime fiction. The mythical aspects of the plotting and the PI's defiant argot were two I remember. But the prevalent tone of the interview, studded by images of paperback covers (many from Hard Case Crime) indicated that the tough guy novels of the 50s and their illustrated covers were basically
/amusing/. Maybe that, and the GG art on the covers, were reasons for their popularity. But those covers also show urban working- and under-class settings as well as clothing and body language typical of people of these backgrounds. Many of their readers identified more with the stories of Cain,. McCoy, Thompson, or Goodis rather than a high-brow, culturally sanctioned one. Police and racketeers were many readers' antagonists, as well as the writers'. What seems amusing or camp today was much more than amusing when the 1950s crime novels were being written and read. The _Sunday Morning_ focus on those sexy outrageous covers, while good for Hard Case Crime now that King is their latest author, trivialized the genre (as Hard Cases writers, both classic and contemporary, certainly do not).

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 09 Oct 2005 EDT