Saturday, April 07, 2007

A couple of passings that should be noted

When I picture Batman, I usually picture him the way Marshall Rogers drew him -- with that impossible cape that just went on for miles. Rogers and Steve Englehart did my absolute favorite run on the Darknight Detective. (This was before Frank Miller got hold of Batman and turned him into a raving psychopath.) Their Batman was driven, of course, but he had heart and a sense of humor. And Rogers' Gotham City was beautiful -- as was his Silver St. Cloud, my favorite of Mr. Wayne's many girlfriends. Marshall Rogers passed away on March 25th at the age of 57.

I spent a lot of my youth reading detective novels, and sad to say, that I find most of the authors I loved as a young man to be just about unreadable. I enjoyed
all 9,000 of Carter Brown's books, but when I try to read him today the adverbs come at a rate of about 4.5 a page (yes, I did the math) and I just want to slowly dig him out the ground and ruthlessly strangle him till he helplessly agrees to stop using those useless parts of speech so relentlessly and so callously. The Shell Scott books by Richard S. Prather, however, are as fun today as they were when I first discovered them back in the days before my literary tastes solidified. Prather's Shell Scott was a man who didn't take himself too seriously and his adventures have none of the misogony that mars so many works of the same time period. A few years before Mr. Prather passed away on February 14th I wrote to him and told him how much I appreciated his work and got him to sign a couple books for me. This is what he wrote in one of them:
And I did enjoy reading it again, and I know I'll enjoy it again the next time I read it. Mister Prather sold over 40 million copies of his books and it's easy to see why.


Wendy said...

Slab Happy?!?! How hilarious! I wanted to mention that I got such a kick out of the picture of The Man Who Was Thursday yesterday at Rex's blog. I read it some years ago (my first introduction to GK) and found it quite enthralling. I remember reading it on a plane.

Norrin2 said...

Prather had some other punny book titles too - "The Trojan Hearse" "Three's a Shroud" "The Scrambled Yeggs".
I also have fond memories of "The Man Who Was Thursday" as well as Chesterton's Father Brown stories. I think it may have been long enough that I could raed them again.