Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dell First Edition #27 (1954)

Title : Night Walker
Author : Donald Hamilton
Cover art : Carl Bobertz

style ***
substance ***
collectibility **

Hamilton’s Red Scare paranoiac thriller Night Walker has been praised to the skies. See herehere and here for a sampling of reviews. Fascinating to compare Bobertz’s classic-era art with that of the Hard Case Crime reissue. For me it’s no contest : the Dell is early 50s hyper-realistic cover art at its best, and a rare case where the guy gets the attention rather than the buxom redhead in the background here. The guy’s grimacing facial expression, intense eyes and claw like hands prying at the bandages sum up the character’s tortured inner state. I’m a big fan of Hard Case Crime and their covers but Tim Gabor’s rather flat, cartoonish - albeit lively - rendering is another case where the remake does a pretty good job of capturing the letter and flavor but not quite the magic of the original. See also : Carl Bobertz’s original art.

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