Friday, February 24, 2012

Review- Crime Does Not Pay: Blackjacked and Pistol-Whipped

Collects selections Crime Does Not Pay Nos. 23, 25, 26, 30-32, 41, 42, 48, 50, 53-55, 57, 59-61, 64-67 (cover dates September, 1942- September, 1948).
Writer: Unknown
Artists: Bob Montana, Alan Mandel, Dick Briefer, Carmine Infantino, Rudy Palais, Robert Sale, Jack Alderman, Dan Barry, George Tuska, Fred Guardineer, Paul Parker, and Ed Moore.
I bumped this one way up in the backlog because I wanted to make sure that I liked the material before committing to yet another line of high end hardcovers, and you know what? Crime Does Not Pay rules! 
There is an excellent introduction in this book on the history of both these comics in relation to popular culture of the day (i.e. pulps, film noir) and the impact that this title had on comic books as a whole. Did you know that this was the best selling title in it's day? Yup, it even outsold Superman and Batman. The history of the publishers and creators also offers tremendous insight into the mindset behind this title, and the stories about the creators themselves are equally amazing. 
While this title was a “preachy”, it offered tons of violence and murder, so as to deter impressionable youth from a life of crime. I love how inappropriate old comic books and cartoons are. If this were marketed to, or sold to, children today, Faux News would have a field day with it. I often chuckle when reading Golden Age comic books because of how neutered and politically correct we as a society have become. It's fun to see people “get theirs” because, after all...CRIME DOES NOT PAY!
One of the things that I noticed while reading this was how slow law enforcement responded to crimes back then, the result of a lack of technology. It seems so simple to fake a new identity and make a run for it back then.
These are based on true stories, but as the introduction states, there are liberties taken with the facts. While some of these issues are historically accurate, others have minor facts altered. This was 220+ pages and it wasn't enough. I want more more more! I can't wait for the Archives.
The OCD zone- I absolutely love this new paper that Dark Horse is using in their Archives. While it doesn't lay flat, it feels and smells wonderful. They used that same paper here in this high quality trade paperback. Sewn binding and a cardstock cover with fold-out flaps help give the cover an extra thick and extra durable feel. The restoration is excellent, and the uncoated paper stock gives it an authentic comic book feel while the weight maintains the luxurious feel that I have come to expect from collected editions. It's the happy medium that fans have been clamoring for.
Not really an OCD issue but rather an aesthetic one, I dislike the faux weathering on the cover. I will never understand people's desires to see things artificially distressed, be it this book or those lame fake distressed concert shirts. I love things that are genuinely distressed through use, wear, and love, but not the fake scratches and coffee splotches like you see on the cover of this book.

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