New York: St. John Publishing Company, 1950. First Edition, a digest-sized paperback original.
A precursor to what would become known as graphic novels, about an honest man working in a steel town who finds himself tempted (and subsequently threatened) by a woman named Rust. After coming up with the concept for "picture novels" in college, creators Arnold Drake and Leslie Waller sold St. John Publishing on the idea of a novel-length comic book story aimed at the same adult audience as film noir and hard-boiled crime fiction, and presented in the same style as pulp novels. Although the line didn't sell well, and was canceled after a second book, "The Case of the Winking Buddha" by Manning Lee Stokes and illustrated by Charles Raab, it remains an important point along the evolution of long form storytelling in comics, and an interesting what-if in the publication of comic material for adults.
Drake would continue to work in comics, going on to create The Doom Patrol and Deadman for DC Comics, and Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel, while Waller would find success as a novelist and author of photo-plays, co-writing "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" with Steven Spielberg.
"It Rhymes with Lust" was reprinted by Dark Horse Books in 2007, with a new afterword by Drake.
Included is a proof jacket on card stock for "The Steel Noose", a novel by Arnold Drake, published as a paperback original by Ace Books in 1954.
Also laid in one of Arnold Drake's business cards, circa 1980s, with images of characters he was known for: Deadman and Little Lulu.
Very Good to Fine in perfect bound digest size wrappers. Tiny tear at the heel, corner crease at the bottom right corner of the front wrapper. Otherwise quite bright and square, with no toning to the page edges.