One can only imagine what quintessential pulp writer Jim Thompson would have made of the news that fashion designer Hally McGehean will be debuting what she calls her “Hard Case Crime dress” during New York’s legendary Fashion Week. The dress is made out of 1,000 miniature reproductions of the cover art from Hard Case Crime’s line of retro thrillers, all of which feature original paintings in the style of the classic pulps. According to the press release, the dress boasts a “daring backless top” composed of interleaved copies of the cover art from John Farris’ Baby Moll, painted for Hard Case Crime by the legendary illustrator Robert McGinnis. (At this point, Jim Thomson is reaching for another drink.)
It wasn’t that long ago that Hard Case Crime, founded by award-winning novelist Charles Ardai, was homeless, having been left in the lurch when Dorchester Publishing, its distribution arm, abandoned print. As Heidi Klum would say, “One day you’re in, and the next day you’re out.” But Hard Case is definitely back in. First a new publishing and distribution deal was signed with Titan Publishing Group, and then Hard Case relaunched with fine books by Lawrence Block, Christa Faust, Mickey Spillane, and Max Allan Collins. And then, for the piece de resistance, Hard Case hits the fashion runway on September 12. (Jim has now drained the bottle and is wondering where in hell he can come up with the scratch for another drink.)
But, in the world as we find it, I’ll take pulp fiction anyway I can get it, even if Heidi Klum is a sort of coauthor. Congratulations to Hard Case Crime, and Jim, the next drink is on me.