Tuesday, January 24, 2006

John Wayne in Finnish paperback covers

I found an old letter I'd written to an American acquaintance of mine. It's full of oddball references to the pulp publishing in Finland, Sweden and Germany, and I thought it would repay to post it here. All the personal stuff removed, of course. It's mainly about some Finnish Western paperbacks and pulps with John Wayne in the cover which I sent to the friend of mine. I'm sorry that I can't post any covers - I'm not sure if I kept any duplicates.

Dear X,

finally these John Wayne covers reach you. Sorry for the delay.

I fear I haven't been able to find as many Wayne books as I'd like have to. There are more – in the Summer I even held one in my hand, but then I put it away in order to check the other books and eventually the book disappeared. These four Wayne books include two Colt books or rather leaflets. The Colt was a very popular series stemming from the early sixties to the eighties. The authors in these books – Shad Denver and Emerson Dodge – were very frequent in the series, but I know nothing about them. I hope you recognize them and could offer some information. [NB: The authors are Australian paperbackers. - jn] The Texas series with Wayne and Kirk Douglas in the cover is a German one. As you can see, the copyright is given to Martin Kelter Verlag in Hamburg. I haven't paid any attention to the series, so I don't know how long it continued, but I do know that there is another Texas book with a John Wayne cover. I hope to find it.

There's still a Swedish McQ – hård hämnare, which means "tough avenger". (The letter å is pronounced like 'oh'.) This is a novelization of a seventies film. As you can see, there's an ad for some paperback porn novel in the back of the book. I just wonder who wrote the book in question. It's about John Stake, a special agent, a mixture of Matt Helm and Dr. Kinsey, as it says in the ad.

I include also two photocopies of John Wayne in the cover of a Finnish pulp magazine called Jännityslukemisto – Seikkailukertomuksia (Suspense Library – Adventure Stories). This one ran from 1959 to 1963 and was a fusion of two earlier magazines the names of which you probably guess. They stem from the thirties. I'd send you the magazines, but that's impossible since I read these in the university library. The other cover with Wayne shooting point blank includes, if I remember right, a story by the science fiction writer Nelson Bond. [This is a false memory, as I've seen the magazine again. It was some other, more obscure pulp writer. - jn] I believe it's "The Outlaws of Dust Canyon" mentioned in the cover.

I'll throw in some extra: three Clint Eastwood covers and a Swedish Larry Kent with Humphrey Bogart, copied straight from High Sierra. You can probably trade these if you're not interested in them yourself. The Swedish Larry Kent is interesting: it's originally an Australian book, but it claims to have been translated from "American"! Two of the Eastwoods are from the Colt series, the third one is from Lännensarja, meaning Western Library, which was very popular too from the early fifties to the eighties. It ran longer than Colt, but I don't have the years at the moment. In Lännensarja there were printed many classic authors, such as Ernest Haycox, Clarence E. Mulford and William Colt MacDonald.

The most interesting thing about the Eastwoods is the John Huston picture in the back of Brett McKinley's No Man's Deputy. The blurb says: "The gun spat once.. twice.. death had once again made a visit and the law of vengeance had been fulfilled – but the old man didn't lose his smile.." It's an advertisement for yet another Western digest, Colorado.

If you're interested in more John Wayne covers, let me know. I'm sure I can dig something up. And if you're interested in Finnish western covers of American actors in general, let me know. Searching these I found several Kirk Douglases, at least one Tony Curtis-Dean Martin (!) and one Lee J. Cobb.

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