Monday, August 18, 2014


IT RHYMES WITH LUST (Dark Horse, 2007; Softcover)

Collects It Rhymes With Lust Graphic Novel (originally published in 1950)

Writers: Arnold Drake and Leslie Waller (Credited in original book as Drake Waller)

Artists: Matt Baker with Ray Osrin

The term “Graphic Novel” is bandied about with reckless abandon. Pretty much anything with words and pictures that is printed in a squarebound book gets called a graphic novel these days. Watchmen, The Walking Dead, and Saga? Those are not graphic novels, they are trade paperbacks, which are books that compile material previously published in single issue periodical magazine format. True graphic novels are material originally published in the book format. It has become ubiquitous as a marketing term and accepted as part of the lexicon. Like the term fanboy as a term of endearment, I refuse to call trade paperbacks graphic novels.

I like to dip my toe into comic book and comic strip history. There are many historians out there, all with their own opinions and theories and facts, and I have read many of their blogs and articles. Some argue that the comic book or strip can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt. Others point to America, as the comic book, as a magazine, started here. Like many folks, I point to late 19th century England for the roots of this artform. I have also tried to ascertain what the first true graphic novel is. Many people point to Will Eisner, Jim Sternako, Harvey Kurtzman, or others, all valid claims. So let's just say that this book was way, way ahead of the curve and call it good.

Fans of Crime/Noir and Pre-Code Golden Age comics need to grab this book ASAP. This is a hard-edged, adult take on corruption and a femme fatale by the name of Rust Masson. She basically owns the town, controlling the mine, both newspapers, and has politicians in her pocket. Rust uses her womanly ways to get what she wants and never takes no for an answer. This was an absolute blast to read, and Matt Baker's legendary “good girl” art is easy on the eyes.

Arnold Drake did some writing for Marvel in the 1960s, but I was never overly impressed with it, ditto his artwork. I had always considered him to be merely serviceable and nothing more. This book has completely changed my opinion. He has done excellent work, he was just not really cut out for superhero work. The further that I dig back I understand why Stan Lee hired some of these pinch-hitters during the 1960s.

If you like Crime/Noir, Golden Age comics, or well thought out, fully formed characters, then It Rhymes With Lust is for you.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This “facsimile edition” is roughly the same size as the original book, so it is a paperback (or digest) sized book.

DVD-style Extras included in this book: Afterword by Arnold Drake from 2006. (5 pages)
Creator biographies. (3 pages)

Linework and Color restoration rating: 5 out of 5. Things look great, with the zip-a-tone faithfully recreated.

Paper rating: 4 out of 5. Thick uncoated pulp-ish paper. Since this is a facsimile edition this appropriate, even though I woke up in the middle of the night because I thought that I heard the paper disintegrate.

Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Perfect bound paperback.

Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. Dull matte coating that seems to be impervious to scuffing. 

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