Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pappy’s Tenth Anniversary Sunday Special Number 3: The crime of love!

Realistic Romances #9 is a reprint of Complete Romance #1, published by Avon in 1949.

Avon adapted one of their own paperback novels by Harry Sinclair Drago, writing as Sinclair Drago, who is better known as an author of Western novels. He seemed familiar enough with the Prohibition-era bootleggers and bad guys to have written this potboiler under its origiinal title, Women to Love. (He was born in 1887 and died circa 1980, so he lived through the era he was writing about.)

This is a hybrid story...a romance within a crime thriller. That is if your idea of romance is an adulterous affair between the wife of a gang boss and the boss's top henchman, then a double cheat as the henchman re-starts an affair with an old girlfriend and the wife goes back to her husband. Don’t worry; it’s all easy to follow. You won’t need a scorecard.

In 1953 Avon reprinted the comic book version of Women to Love. In 1958 IW Reprints (Israel Waldman, later a publisher of Skywald) did yet another reprint. So this story got around. IW used several comics from Avon in its reprint line, including literary adaptations. One wonders if Drago knew about it. Avon didn’t usually put author’s names on adaptations, but they did this time, and IW reprinted it with the original byline.

Artwork is credited to Myron Fass, a one-time comic book artist who went on to become publisher of some of the sleaziest exploitation magazines of the 1970s. In his early days I have heard that Fass was one of those guys who paid ghosts to draw what he signed.


7f7f3e2a-4856-11e4-900a-bb8e57f8828f said...

Holy Moses! Thirty one pages of bootlegging dialog! Not such a bad potboiler, Pappy. Telling Rocco from Max was a little tricky at first but then I glommed onto Max had the black-red hair and Rocco the black-blue hair. Then it was a cinch, I tell ya. Except I worried that the colorist might have gotten confused. But it seemed to work out. Thanks for the Sunday yarn!

Pappy said...

7f7, I think either the red-black or blue-black has a scar, but don't ask me to read it again, because I've already read it twice just getting it ready.

Thanks for the note.

Ryan Anthony said...

Boy, I sure am glad you didn't lay a long one on us, Pappy. I don't think I could've taken it. Anyway, it was better than some other book-length Golden Age yarns like It Rhymes with Lust. I call it a crime melodrama rather than a crime-romance hybrid, because the romance was never real, as ultimately proven by how quickly Psycho Max turned against Scarlett. He didn't really care about her! Sob! And I never got why she would've fallen for him, anyway. Despite being a right bastard, Rocco came off as more caring than flippant Max. Regarding the crime plot, I'm surprised they were able to stretch the story to 31 pages since the plot was really no more than "Get the other gang before they get us." Still, it didn't feel too padded.