Monday, September 10, 2007
Stripper's Guide Bookshelf: Connie - The Strange Death of Dolan
Connie - The Strange Death of Dolan & Other Stories
No publisher listed
No price listed
48 pages, wraps
If you spend time on eBay you've seen this book for sale, being touted as a special very limited edition. If you order it you'll find out that the seller, and presumably publisher, is Tony Raiola of Pacific Comics Club.
The book sounds pretty good in the somewhat vague eBay description. You get 5 supposedly complete daily stories of the Frank Godwin classic Connie. That might lead you to believe that you're getting a pretty substantial book, but that's not really the case. The stories are as follows:
The Strange Death of Dolan (1938) - a 23 strip vignette from 1938. The story is indeed complete in 23 strips, but because it's so short there's no meat to the story, a badly plotted bank robbery whodunit. Reproduction on this one is pretty bad -- all the zipatone backgrounds have been turned to mud and the strips are very dark.
Perfect Alibi (1929) - an even shorter tale told in just 12 strips. Another bank robbery mystery, the solution to which is obvious by the third strip. The reproduction on this one is outstanding.
The last three stories in the volume were previously printed in the Hyperion Connie book, and the strips here are obviously scanned from that source, with the attendant third generation quality having been lowered a bit:
The Assistant Gardener (1929) - six strips that provide only the start of a story. A footnote on the contents page says that "this story ends in a strange way but it seems there are no dailies between this episode and the following one". A look at the dates on the strips, which granted are tiny and hard to read, would have dispelled that notion. This story is incomplete, exactly as it was in the Hyperion book.
Mystery and Adventure (1929) -30 strips that tell a pretty good story until the end, which is abrupt. Not the publisher's fault on this story though, blame Godwin.
The Bid To Ten Million (1929-30) - 24 strip story, Connie comes up smelling like roses by pure luck when a rival secretary schemes to get her fired.
If you already have the Hyperion book, all you're actually getting here for a starting bid of $19.95 on eBay is just 35 strips, 23 of which are quite badly reproduced. I guess if you're desperate for a Connie fix you might consider it, otherwise it's a pretty raw deal. Even if you don't have the Hyperion book you're still not exactly getting a bargain since the Hyperion book can still be had on the rare book market for $50-60 and it reprints a heck of a lot more of the strip.
Its currently looking for a high profile home. I'd also like to replace my SF years strips from Famous Funnies with "real" ones.
If you've got high quality source material I bet you could easily interest a publisher in the series. If this book can sell, a quality reprint would be a real winner.
Me, I wouldn't even bother looking at Godwin on the web -- I want to see his gorgeous artwork (not to mention the dreamy Connie herself) in hi-res!
Given my experience with the first book, I won't be buying any more, even if the material is unreprinted. Guess I'll wait until Art Lortie does a good reprint series!