I’m fascinated by the cover art of paperback crime novels - in particular the way they mirror the shifting standards of marketing, tastes in fashion and beauty, and evolving popular culture. Sadly, the story those changing covers tell across the decades is a sad one, often a downward trajectory as the art becomes more and more bland, shedding sexy exoticism as they go. Just look at the covers of the Travis McGee novels as they traversed the pulpy 60s, seedy 70s, and neon 80s, gradually becoming less sexy and less interesting. Ditto the James Bond novels, albeit with a brief, glorious oasis of a run about ten years ago, in which artist Richie Fahey knocked the covers out of the damn park. (If you look at the current editions on Amazon, I think you’ll agree it’s a lamentable age of marketing in which we find ourselves.)
So cheers to Hard Case Crime’s re-release of Max Allan Collins’ Quarry series for not bending to modern trends and just going with what works. And what works is Robert McGinnis, damn it. In anticipation of the new Cinemax series based on Collins’ character, Hard Case Crime is reissuing these novels with brand new (but super vintage-looking) McGinnis art, with a retro layout to match. Feast your eyes, because new-old McGinnis is always a good thing.
(These would have been a BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH. exclusive if I didn't drag my ass until these covers somehow landed on Pinterest first. Sorry, readers!)