Friday, September 05, 2014

Forgotten Magazine: The JDM Review

Once upon a time, not so very long ago, John D. MacDonald was one of the bestselling writers around.  Then he died, and it was almost as if he'd never existed.  Plenty of old-timers like me remembered him and still considered him a favorite writer, but not so many younger people seemed to connect.

He was so popular with me that around 1966 or so, I started collecting the first printings of all his paperbacks.  In those days, I could still find the early ones in pretty good condition, though some of them weren't so easy.  It took a while for me to find Weep for Me, for example, but I eventually found nice copies of both printings.  As a grad student at The University of Texas at Austin, I won second prize in the student book collecting contest for my collection.  

At about the same time, I read in the book review section of the New York Times about a fanzine called The JDM Bibliophile, published by Len and June Moffatt.  I sent off for a subscription, and thus was plunged into mystery fandom, a pond I'm still swimming in.  All my copies of the JDMB, as it was affectionately known, are now in the Texas A&M library if they haven't disposed of them. 

Much later, another publication devoted to JDM appeared, and that's the one pictured here.  Naturally I subscribed to that one, too.  I can't remember how many issues there were, but I suppose that any others I had are at A&M.  This one slipped by me when I packed things to take there.  It's a more professionally printed job than JDMB (a mimeographed zine), but this first issue is a slim one.  It has some good material, however, including several newspaper columns written by JDM.  There's also a substantial contribution by Walter and Jean Shine, JDM scholars of the first rank.

I'm glad I happened across this magazine.  It was fun to revisit it and to remember the days when JDM was a name to be reckoned with in the crime fiction field.

10 comments:

Dan said...

JDM probably isn't better-remembered because he made his writing look so easy and unforced. No personal angst or self-exorcism in his books, just taut plotting and sharp characterization.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you have both editions but did you ever read WEEP FOR ME?

He's not totally forgotten. A couple of local libraries have trade paperback editions of various Travis McGee books on the shelves.

Jeff

Bill Crider said...

Yes, I read it and I even reread it. I did an FFB post on it a few years ago.

Barry Ergang said...

Happily for modern readers there are paperback, Kindle and Nook editions of at least some JDM titles.

Bill Crider said...

The more, the better.

FreeLiverFree said...

I'm pretty sure the Travis McGee books are still in print, but you have to go to a used bookstore to find anything else by him.

Richard said...

I read a few borrowed copies of JDMB, but wasn't aware of this one. I've read all of the McGee books and a half dozen others but with so many out there, books by him and you an sonny others, there isn't time enough.

Richard said...

that's "so many others"...

Todd Mason said...

I take it my mention of stumbling across some BIBLIOPHILE issues the other week didn't so much nudge you into this particular contemplation as prefigure it!

Bill Crider said...

I'd had this one out for a while, so your mention of JDMB was just another nudge in this direction.