Friday, October 30, 2020

Forgotten Books: THE COMPLETE CASES OF MacBRIDE & KENNEDY by Frederick Nebel

In my estimation, the ten year saga of MacBride & Kennedy was the second most important series ever to appear in the pages of Black Mask. The only thing to top it, you can probably guess, was Hammett's Continental Op.

The reprinting of this series was long time coming. Nebel's agent tried to sell Avon a collection of stories back in 1950, after the publication of the "Tough Dick" Donahue book Six Deadly Dames. But Avon declined. I pitched a volume, to be titled Raw Law, to Dennis McMillan back in the '80s, when he was reprinting stuff by Fredric Brown and Howard Browne, but that failed too.

Thankfully, Keith Allen Deutsch and Matt Moring finally got 'er done in 2013, with this four volume collection of the whole shebang. I was enlisted to write an Intro, allowing me to present all the Nebel info I'd gathered, and thoroughly enjoyed the task. All are still available, totaling thirty-seven slam-bang novelettes. Check 'em out!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

HAMMETT HERALD-TRIBUNE: After the Thin Man - Part 2 (1936-37)

New York Daily News Dec 27, 1936

Allentown Morning Call, Dec. 29, 1936

Allentown Morning Call, Dec. 29, 1936

Chicago Tribune, Dec. 30, 1936

Pittsburgh Press, Dec. 30, 1936

Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph, Dec. 30, 1936

Sayre Evening Times, Dec. 31, 1936

Wilmington Morning News, Dec. 31, 1936

Dayton Herald, Dec. 31, 1936

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Will Eisner's ESPIONAGE - THE BLACK X's Finest Hour

Some time back we saw the first appearance of Black X (HERE), from a 1938 issue of Feature Funnies. That story wasn't very good, or very well drawn, but anything by Eisner is historically interesting. X continued his spying career through ten issues of Feature, then made the jump to Smash Comics, where Eisner's art showed steady improvement. 

The tale here appeared in Smash #13, dated August 1940, and was probably done around the time Eisner first Spirit Section appeared. In any case, this appears to be Eisner's last time as artist on the strip, and he would soon relinquish the scripting duties as well. Meanwhile, X went on without him for about seventy more issues.

I find this one particularly interesting due to its Richard Sale connection. The escape from Devil's Island was clearly inspired by the Clark Gable film Strange Cargo, which premiered several months earlier. And that movie, as you Sale fans should know, was based on Sale's first novel, Not Too Narrow . . . Not Too Deep, which I yapped about HERE.