Sordides Scandales

identifier: 2014059 SORDIDES

Sordides Scandales des Stars de L’Ecran

I’ve had this little item from new. At the time I was a regular buyer of the influential French comicbook Metal Hurlant, which eventually appeared in an American edition as Heavy Metal. My comics disappeared long ago, except for this little one. As the title suggests, it’s full of graphic (i.e. uninhibited) comicstrips depicting the scandals of Hollywood’s movie stars including: Fatty fait la bringue par Flooglebuckle – Hollywood tragedy le suicide de Lupe Velez par Laurence Lafey – Clara Bow emballe the Thundering Herd par V.C Flippant – Tallulah Bankhead par Griffhead – La mort mystérieuse de William Desmond Taylor (Anonyme) – Sa mère est tellement fière de lui [Liberace] par Grifface.

Hollywood Heritage Press / Humanoïdes Associés – Métal Hurlant 1981. 32 pages plus cover, size 130 x 180mm. Marilyn Monroe. 1970s supplement to the French comics magazine Métal Hurlant, Serie n° 64 (Hollywood Special). American underground comicstrip stories. Black-and-white interior. There is a second credit to Kitchen Sink Enterprises (1974). Inspired by Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon, etc.

I’ve always felt a tinge of sadness for Roscoe ArbuckIe – one of my favourites when I discovered silent movies – and the way that he was treated by the press. In the early 70s I had a letter published in Headlines magazine, decrying their coverage of the story. And I remember as a ten-year-old hearing on the hospital radio the announcement of Marilyn’s death, during the months that I struggled with rheumatic fever. A melancholy mood permeated the ward that day. I’d never been to see her movies, but she was of course ubiquitous in the popular press, and on tv and radio news. Some years ago, while I was helping to display the artefacts in an exhibition about Hollywood Stars, the organiser said to me: “Hold out your hand.” Something dropped into my palm; a small pill bottle, bearing a label with the name of the patient: Mrs Miller. It took a moment for me to realize that it was one of Marilyn’s effects. I quickly handed it back.

I don’t have a settled opinion about the appropriateness of this type of exploitative comic book. Part of me says, don’t be a hypocrite, throw it out. But the curator in me says: it’s a part of publishing history. The curator won, so here it is. And please note: for adults only. Pages yellowed, but otherwise in good condition.

Price: £12.00 plus postage. Contact: s-herbert@easynet.co.uk

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