Thursday, August 18, 2022

SSW: "The Girl with the Green Skin" by Mickey Spillane (and why it's missing from FANTASTIC, November/December 1952, and replaced by "The Veiled Woman" as ghosted by FANTASTIC editor Howard Browne)

 An entry submitted to the FictionMags Index:

    Life [v32 #25, June 23, 1952] ed. Henry R. Luce; managing ed. Edward K. Thompson; associate ed. Sally Kirkland [Sr.; Jr. is her actor daughter]  (Time, Inc., 20¢, 136pp+front/back cover pages, 10½″ x 13″, cover: [photo] by Christa (cover model: Rosemarie Bowe) This issue can be read here (thanks to Ward Saylor for the pointer).

    page 79 · "Death's Fair-Haired Boy: Sex and Fury Sell 13 Million Gory Books for Mickey Spillane" · Richard W. Johnson · iv
    · [Mickey Spillane] illustrated with photos by Peter Stackpole [Spillane summarizes his story "The Girl with the Green Skin", which he had sold to Fantastic for its 3rd (Nov/Dec 1952) issue; Howard Browne notes in several memoirs that he needed a story not previewed/spoiled in one of the US's largest-circulation magazines, so he ghosted "The Veiled Woman" for the magazine, attributed to Spillane, apparently without Spillane's approval. In the later memoirs, Browne notes also he thought Spillane's a terrible story, further incentive.]

as originally sold:

How Spillane summarizes his story "The Girl with the Green Skin" as quoted in Life:
"A reporter visits an artist, and he's fascinated by this portrait of a woman he sees hanging up in the studio. There's this girl, see--she's beautiful, she's stark naked, only she's all green. Even her hair is a dark bottle green. The reporter can't stand it. He asks the artist to tell him about her. The artist says he brought her into the country. She's so beautiful that men who make love to her are never satisfied with another woman. But women hate her. The artist says he had to send her back where she came from. The reporter leaves. The artist is staring out the window. And then he says, 'All right, dear. You can come out now.' And this green hand comes out and touches him on the shoulder. That's all. Nothing more. Keep it mysterious."


Anonymous said...

Has someone been using a time machine?
In the heading it's "Fantastic [v1 #3, Nov./Dec. 1953]", downscreen it's "Fantastic [v1 #3, Nov./Dec. 1952]", and the swap was revealed in "Life June 1952", before either date!

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Anon. A typo in the header, now fixing. Meanwhile, the LIFE issue was released about the time the FANTASTIC was being "put to bed" (prep finished, and the master being sent to the printers).

Jerry House said...

Not that "The Veiled Woman" was any great shakes, either.

Todd Mason said...

No...though when I read it, it seemed like a reasonable, slightly parodic pastiche of Spillane, and presumably written rather quickly. I reviewed it while actually awake at the link at bottom of the post...

Anonymous said...

I have to say, if done well, "The Girl with the Green Skin" as described by Spillane might be a fine story. Of course, it all depends on the execution!

Rich Horton

Todd Mason said...

Or, given it's a Spillane story, its lack of execution, in at least two senses. Albeit it does seem to be the kind of goofy concept much in keeping with its time--Of Course All Women Would Hate Her--that Alfred Bester, not too much later, would take as one of his targets in his short story "5.271,009" (still my answer for my favorite Bester story).

Todd Mason said...

The 1666th post: the KiloBeast.