Thursday, August 11, 2011


The Bob Eggleton cover for the reprint
TPB edition from Dreamhaven Books.
 It is not uncommon to see novelizations of movies based on original stories appear around the time of their release. Nevertheless, it's hard to believe that back around 1954, there was even one published for THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. Oddly enough, only printed in Great Britain by Dragon Publications, London, the book today is so rare (extremely scarce according to other bibliophiles) that you will find it difficult to see one of the few offered for sale for under $2,000. The price goes up from there, to the current highest-paid price of $6,600!

Written by "Vargo Statten", this was the pen name of one John Russell Fearn (1908 - 1960), a British author who, writing under a number of pseudonyms, is commonly attributed the distinction of fueling the fire of science-fiction and pulp story popularity throughout England. He was also one of the first British writers to have his stories printed in the American pulps of the day.

According to WIKI, "Fearn was a prolific writer who wrote Westerns and crime fiction as well as science fiction. His writing appeared under numerous pseudonyms. He wrote series like Adam Quirke, Clayton Drew, Golden Amazon, and Herbert. At times these drew on the pulp traditions of Edgar Rice Burroughs. His work received praise for its vividness, but criticism, being deemed "unpolished"."

A view of the hardbound edition's spine.
As an attestation of the book's "pulp worthiness", the following is copy written on the hardback edition book jacket flap:

“This amazing story is based on the film of the same title by permission of Universal International Pictures.

This startling book is a masterpiece of tension and excitement. Innocence is at peril and a beast is at large . . . 

Simply fascinating from the beginning to the end.”

An example of the paperbound edition.

The 176-page book was released in both hardbound and paperbound editions. The hardbound copies obviously demand higher prices, and conditions run mostly in the "Good" range. After all, these were the popular novels of the day, and it's amazing that even a few are left in any condition.

It seems at least one became available for Dreamhaven Books in Minneapolis, Minnesota, because they are reprinting it in a new, trade paperback edition! Lucky for us, the much more affordable $20 book is due to go on sale next month.

From Amazon UK

From Amazon UK

From Amazon UK

Christi's Auction Copy

James Cahill Rare Books copy.

L.W. Currey, Inc. copy.

News item from Dreamhaven Books.

Dreamhaven Books title description.

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