TRASHY TUESDAY: WANTONS, MOVIE STARS, FEMALE WRESTLERS and SMOKING LADIES – MARC BRODY COVERS
I recently acquired some new Marc Brody novels for my collection, which have also allowed me to update my series on Smoking Ladies and Wantons!
In Australia one of the main rivals to Carter Brown was the series of Marc Brody books which appeared between 1955 and 1960.
Marc Brody was supposedly the author and main character in a series of tough novels written for Australia’s Horwitz Publishing. Like the Carter Brown and Larry Kent books, the Brody novels were inspired by the popular hardboiled American fiction of the time and were largely set in America. Brody was a crime reporter who managed to get himself in a wide range of troubles in the over 80 books he was featured in. In real life Marc Brody was W H (Bill) Williams an Australian novelist, journalist and editor of the tabloid newspaper Melbourne Truth.
The Brody books were initially published in digest format with colour tinted photographs of models on the covers, and usually with an action backdrop or a smaller drawing or photo imposed on the model. The model’s photo was usually the centrepiece and the other photos/illustrations were used to suggest danger. The model photos varied from the relatively demure to the more provocative, but were never too explicit. Horwitz often commissioned photos for the covers, but they were also not above using stills of popular or emerging movie stars and hand tinting them or painting in details, particularly hair colour.
When the books moved into numbered paperback format in 1958, they adopted an illustrated cover as shown on Baby Your Type’s Murder (see the blog post of 25 June 2019: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/trashy-tuesday-baby-your-types-murder-by-marc-brody-horwitz-1958/).
All the books and digests had the signature Brody silhouette, usually in the top left hand corner of the cover, and a photo of ‘Marc Brody’ on the back cover. All the covers from mid-1956 also had the “A Crime Reporter’s Inside Story” tagline on them.
The early Marc Brody digests were not numbered, but the paperback editions from 1958 were (1-26).
Deadline For A Dame has an almost classic Brody cover with a striking model photo to the fore and the suggestion of violence in the background. The model would seem to me to be a young Joan Collins. It is unlikely that Horwitz paid for the rights for the photo. As with most of the covers, the bright colours and the ‘staring at you eyes’ of the model certainly drew attention to the book!
Horwitz were also not backwards in reusing art work and photos, and the little vignette of a man leaning over the prone figure of another man on the ground, which appeared on Deadline For A Dame, can also be found on Sinister Sister. I think that the photo is another uncredited use of a movie actress’s image, but I am not certain who it is.
I have featured Sinister Sister before: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/trashy-tuesday-marc-brody-sinister-sister-horwitz-1957/
The model in Page Me A Pin-up looks like a young Kim Novak to me. I can not find an exactly matching photo, but there are certainly a number of photographs which capture the same look.
Page Me A Pin-up was the fifth book in the series and had the early Brody format of the silhouette in the right hand corner and no “A Crime Reporter’s Inside Story” tagline. It also had the longer descriptor of ‘a Marc Brody headliner’ across the top.
Big Shot’s Final Edition was also an early digest (number 13) and features a heavily tinted central photo, especially the green eyes and matching green ear-rings!
I have also added this cover to my collection of Smoking Ladies: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/trashy-tuesday-smoking-ladies/
Last Will Of a Wanton also has a heavily tinted model photo, with the colour of the skirt and legs not looking quite right. Although it it is overshadowed by a dark silhouette of a man with a gun, the model photo is probably a bit more provocative than the other ones above, and more in the ‘femme fatale’ category.
It is also the only one of the Brody books to use the term ‘Wanton’, which was frequently used on the covers of crime digests in the 1950s and early 1960s: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/trashy-tuesday-a-trio-of-wantons/
A Blonde For My Punch-Line features a title, which would not be acceptable today. It also has an uncredited photo of trail blazing American female wrestler Ida May Matinez on its cover, along with two lesser known female wrestlers providing the action and movement.
The back cover from Sinister Sister (below) is typical of nearly all of the Brody books.
I will feature some more of my Marc Brody books in coming months.