Mavis (First Edition)
Johnson, Kenneth writing as Justin Kent (author); Patrika (jacket art)
Mavis (First Edition)
New York: Vixen Press, 1953. First Edition, octavo hardcover, jacket price $2.00, 182pp, original dust jacket. Stated "Distributed by Associated Booksellers" on rear jacket flap. Mavis' husband's radio station faces bankruptcy, answers mysterious female phone call meant for Mavis; husband turns to bottle & prostitutes; lesbians, gangsters, Oklahoma City. Reprinted by Beacon the same year, and later by Softcover Library.
Hardcover sleaze (essentially romance pulp novels lacking certain 4-letter words) saw popularity in 1930s, later published in 1950s by Arco, Argyle, Balzac, Brookwood, Key, Signature, Vixen, Woodford Press, many being conglomerates or managed by same individuals, notably Signature & Woodford Press. Jack Woodford, sleaze pioneer & Baltimore mainstay, wrote successfully about writing, publishing, & romantic pulp fiction, employing a number of pseudonyms. Gil Fox, a friend of fetish artist/photographer John Willie, presumably founded Vixen Press in 1953, after writing several works for Woodford Press, & likely much of the early output from Vixen was pseudonymously written by Fox. Kenneth Johnson wrote several titles as Kent, many w/ cover art by Eugene Bilbrew, leading to a connection, however loose, between Johnson and mobster publisher Eddie Mishkin.
A complete bibliography of hardcover sleaze has yet to be furnished, however. Most titles are well-built books, if one can overlook the cheap ink & paper stock. The advent of legitimate paperback sleaze of 1950s-60s signaled the end of classic hardcover era. Many titles were inevitably banned, as many saw reprints by publishers like Beacon Books, this title reprinted at the least twice. This title also collected in Marion Zimmer Bradley's exhaustive "Checklist: A Complete, Cumulative Checklist of Lesbian, Variant and Homosexual Fiction in English or Available in English Translation With Supplements of Related Material for the Use of Collectors Students and Librarians" (1960).
Very Good Plus in like dust jacket; light bumps, brief dampstain to lower tip, with light rubbing, toning, and corresponding stains to the jacket.