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0509 The Drowner

December 16, 2013
0509 Drowner, The 1946
  • Title: The Drowner
  • Language: English
  • Country: USA
  • Format: Paperback
  • Year: 1979
  • Publisher: Fawcett
  • Collection: Gold Medal
  • Collection #: 1-3582-9
  • ISBN-10: 0449135829
  • ISBN-13: 9780449135822
  • Cover Price: $1.75
  • Cover Artist: unknown
  • Author of: The Empty Copper Sea


Some time ago, I made a rash statement to the effect that all US editions of The Drowner use the superb Stanley Zuckerberg artwork. Dang it all, I’m wrong again. Close, but wrong. For reasons known only to the mysterious men in smoke filled rooms at Fawcett, somebody commissioned an artist, referred to as “?J” by Shine & Shine, to recreate Zuckerberg’s iconic cover. Maybe there was a contract dispute with Mr. Z. Regardless, this art was used for a single edition, the 10th printing, and then was dropped in favor of Zuckerberg’s work again. This is very rare for MacDonald’s work.

It’s interesting to compare the two covers. They are remarkably similar. The poses are almost identical but Zuckerberg’s ungripped leg is raised higher and looks more frantic, and his hair definitely looks more like wet hair than J’s. I’m happy to report that J kept Z’s teeny tiny bikini and I like his framing better, with the girl trying to escape diagonally instead of straight up.

Look at the position of the Drowner’s hands. Zuckerberg has the killer facing away from us while J’s killer faces the artist.

Recreation or not, it’s a good cover.

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