Friday, August 06, 2004

Black Wings Has My Angel

I was thinking today about Elliot Chaze's Black Wings Has My Angel. I'm probably to blame, at least in part, for the high price that the book commands these days because I praised it in a fanzine article 35 or so years ago. Since then, others (Max Allan Collins, for one) have also expressed their admiration.

But what I was wondering about is why so few copies of it turn up for sale. There are two copies of the Gold Medal edition available right now at abebooks, one for a hundred bucks and one for $350. The book was later reprinted by Berkley, but those seem to be even harder to find than the Gold Medal.

Other Gold Medal Books from the same time period are a dime a dozen. They turn up on eBay, and nobody even bids on them. Everybody knows that GM had huge print runs, something like 250,000 to start. So what happened to all those copies of Black Wings? Did they all wind up in a warehouse by mistake and get pulped later on? I mean, there are seven copies of the Lion edition of Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me for sale at abebooks. Lion couldn't have had better distribution than GM, and I doubt that Lion's print run was as big as GM's.

All I can say is that I'm glad I got my copy long ago and don't have to try finding one now.


Anonymous said...

It was also in an issue of Cavalier magazine. I'm not sure which issue but I do have it at home. I was also lucky enoung to find the book at a local bookstore for 3 bucks.
It's also nice to see i'm not the only one with an unhealthy love for half-price books! We have 5 here in Minnesota.

mybillcrider said...

Three bucks? Some people who read your comment are going to envy you. And I didn't know it had been in CAVALIER. Those old men's sweat mags are getting very pricey on eBay, so I suspect the issue you mention is a sought-after item.

Anonymous said...

It was one of those deals every book hunter dreams of. I was going in regularly to this guy who sold "fine books" and saw Gil Brewer's Satan Is A Woman and he said he had a bunch of these kinds of books in storage that he bought when they came out. To make a long story short I got a bunch of Charles Williams (my Favorite), Goodis, JDM and other Gold Medal books for under $5.00. I didn't even pick up "Black Wings" until a month later because I had no idea about the fuss.
Your Pal, Bill in Mpls.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the kind words about my grandfather.

The books, the rights, and the publisher's all seem elusive to date.

As if there were no more sap in the tree.

-Michael Joshua Logan

mybillcrider said...

It's a great book, for sure.

Anonymous said...

"Black Wings Has My Angel" was the absolute epitome of Good Reading.

I enjoyed this thoroughly and had actually never even heard of it!

p.s. Got it for 3 bucks :)

mybillcrider said...

A huge bargain.