Don Rico Gil Fox Sergeant Spook Vixen Press Justin Kent Vintage Sleaze Comics and Fast Curve Baseball Books! Vintage Sleaze
You know, the more I dig the more I find the Kefauver committee folks were right...those pre-code comics were drawn by a big passel of perverted penmen!
Witness (or maybe he should have been "witness" number one) Don Rico. Sure, Don's crazy "Sergeant Spook" was harmless, being a ghost cop who wouldn't corrupt a flea. But who knew Don also drew the cover to the only soft-core novel about a baseball player who got to third base with the manager's daughter!
Don Rico has numerous pseudonyms. I don't know how comic book collectors figure them all out, and I REALLY don't know how Kefauver's team of moral indignant researchers did either...but Don drew under the names Dan Rico, Donna Richards and Joseph Milton among others. It has been said the Marvel and DC guys used pseudonyms because each company hated their artists working for the competition. Even under "ghost" names. Well, Don not only worked under ghost names, he DREW one!
Sergeant Spook wasn't really there, being an apparition in light blue, but he was certainly a fine, upstanding one. He appeared in the comic book series Blue Bolt as a regular during the 1940s.
Don Rico also wrote a ton of paperback original novels. Sleazy ones, and that is where his female alter-ego often came into play. As Donna Richards he wrote "The Sad Gay Life" and "The Odd World" for Domino Books, under Donella St. Michaels he wrote "The Prisoner" for Lancer Books. Later, he also wrote the story used for the film "Mary Mary, Bloody Mary" which is described as a "bisexual vampiress horror movie." As you can see here, he also wrote about Nikki who had the morals of an alley cat. COOL!
It is the Justin Kent / Gil Fox / Vixen Books connection which interests me, however about Don Rico.
Fast Curve was published by Vixen in 1953. Vixen, which I have written about HERE printed some two-dozen vintage sleaze books in hardcover form. Rico also did the remarkable cover of "Gold-Plated Sin" by Barry Devlin shown above, published the same year as Fast Curve. Look close and you'll see "Captain Jack Lawrence" admiring the moves of a stripper from above looks pretty darn much like Sergeant Spook.
As I am still poking around this area for a forthcoming book, so that's it for now...but I can provide a brief summary of Fast Curve from the book jacket:
"Oh, it was a strange situation. Charlotte called the plays and turned them against each other deftly, one after another, father, daughter, lover - all to gain her own ends. All to satisfy rthe unholy, bizarre lust that welled up within her and made her beautiful body seeth in raging torment!
Sure they found out about her in the end. But not before all hell had broken loose, both on the diamond and off. Not beore she had mowed them down, one by one, like a cagey veteran pitcher teasing a batter with a deceptive change of pace. Not before she proved that any hitter, no matter how good he is, can be a sucker for a---FAST CURVE"
Jim Linderman is digging into the odd, interlocking world of sleaze and comics for the forthcoming book Gene Bilbrew, Justin Kent, Eddie Mishkin and the Mob.
VINTAGE SLEAZE / DULL TOOL BOOKS NOW AVAILABLE AS $5.99 EBOOKS for iPad HERE
DULL TOOL DIM BULB BOOKS IN PRINT HERE