Avon Publications is one of the top most publishers of romance fiction. At Avon's initial stages, it was an American paperback book and comic book publisher; the shift in content occurred in the early 1970's with multiple Avon romance titles reaching and maintaining spots in bestseller lists, demonstrating the market and potential profits in romance publication. As of 2010, Avon is an imprint of HarperCollins. Avon Books was founded in 1941 by the American News Company to create a rival to Pocket Books, they hired sister Joseph Meyers and Edna Meyers Williams to establish the company. ANC bought out J. S. Ogilvie Publications, a dime novel publisher owned by both the Meyers, renamed it "Avon Publications", they got into comic books. "The early Avons were somewhat similar in appearance to the existing paperbacks of Pocket Books, resulting in an immediate and ineffective lawsuit by that company. Despite this superficial similarity, from early on Meyers differentiated Avon by placing an emphasis on popular appeal rather than loftier concepts of literary merit."
The first 40 titles were not numbered. First editions of the first dozen or so have front and rear endpapers with an illustration of a globe; the emphasis on "popular appeal" led Avon to publish ghost stories, sexually-suggestive love stories, fantasy novels and science fiction in its early years, which were far removed in audience appeal from the somewhat more literary Pocket competition. As well as normal-sized paperbacks, Avon published digest-format paperbacks in series; these included Modern Short Story Monthly and Avon Fantasy Reader. Many authors prized by present-day collectors were published in these editions, including A. Merritt, James M. Cain, H. P. Lovecraft, Raymond Chandler and Robert E. Howard. In 1953, Avon Books sold books in the price range of 25¢ to 50¢ and were selling more than 20 million copies a year, their books were characterized by Time Magazine as "westerns and the kind of boy-meets-girl story that can be illustrated by a ripe cheesecake jacket". At around this time, Avon began to publish under other imprints, including Eton, Novel Library and Diversey.
Avon's 35-cent "T" series, introduced in 1953 had strong mass-market appeal and contains many outstanding examples of the then-popular juvenile delinquent story. The T series contained many movie tie-in editions and the stand-bys of mysteries and science fiction. Avon was bought by the Hearst Corporation in 1959. In the late 1960s there was a surge of interest in Satanism due to the emergence of Anton LaVey's Church of Satan in 1966 and the success of Ira Levin's novel Rosemary's Baby in 1967. In 1968, an Avon editor named Peter Mayer approached Anton LaVey with the idea of publishing a "Satanic Bible," and he asked Anton to author it. Anton obliged, in December of 1969 The Satanic Bible was published as an Avon paperback. In 1972, Avon entered the modern romance genre with the publication of Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Flame and the Flower; the novel went on to sell 2.35 million copies. Avon followed its release with the 1974 publication of Woodiwiss's second novel, The Wolf and the Dove; the next two romances by newcomer Rosemary Rogers, Sweet Savage Love and Dark Fires published in 1974, reached bestseller status.
The latter sold two million copies in its first three months of release and the former inspired the name of the genre: "sweet savage romances". In 1999, the News Corporation bought out Hearst's book division. Avon's hardcover and non-romance paperback lines were moved to sister company Morrow, leaving Avon as a romance publisher. Avon launched the erotica imprint Avon Red in 2006. Avon developed the event KissCon in 2014, in order to serve the population of romance readers looking for more interaction with their authors and opportunities to strengthen their reading community connections. For its 75 year anniversary in 2016, Avon published 65 original titles, along with an anniversary edition of Shanna, a romance novel by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss, published in 1977 that held a spot on the New York Times bestseller list for over thirty weeks. In addition to the re-release, the book included a forward by the more recent bestseller, another author represented by Avon, Lisa Kleypas. From at least 1945 through the mid-1950s, Avon published comic books.
Its titles included horror fiction, science fiction, romance comics, war comics and funny-animal comics. Most titles lasted only a few issues, with the six longest-running detailed in the complete list below: Official website
Farrell Publications is the name of a series of American comic book publishing companies founded and operated by Robert W. Farrell in the 1940s and 1950s, including Elliot Publishing Company, Farrell Comic Group, Excellent Publications. Farrell is known for its pre-Comics Code horror comics produced by the S. M. Iger Studio. Farrell published romance, adventure and funny animal comics. Farrell acted as editor throughout. In addition to packaging art for Farrell from the beginning, Jerry Iger was the company's art director from 1955–1957. Robert W. Farrell entered the comics field in the late 1930s after a decade spent as an attorney, he wrote for the syndicated newspaper strip Scorchy Smith, wrote comics stories for the packagers Eisner & Iger Farrell wrote many comics throughout the 1940s, though without attribution, as most stories produced during the period didn't contain credits. In 1940, Farrell worked as an editor for Fox Comics. Together and Fox publisher Victor S. Fox developed the Comicscope, a cheaply produced comic strip projector sold in the pages of Fox Comics.
Farrell began Farrell Publications in 1940, operating until 1948. From 1940–1945, he was co-owner of the Elliot Publishing Company; some of Farrell's imprints and brands from this era were American Feature Syndicate, Four Star Publications, Kiddie Kapers Company. The most notable title produced during this period was Captain Flight Comics, published under the Four Star brand. After a short hiatus, Farrell founded the Farrell Comic Group in 1951 with the financial backing of Excellent Publications. Imprints included America's Best, Ajax Publications, Ajax-Farrell, Decker Publications, Red Top Comics, Steinway Comics, World Famous. No matter the imprint, most titles had the words "A Farrell Publication." Contributors to Farrell titles from this period included Ken Battefield, L. B. Cole, Matt Baker, Bruce Hamilton, Steve Ditko. Farrell's horror line consisted of Fantastic Fears, Haunted Thrills, Strange Fantasy, Voodoo. All four books were produced by the Iger Studio and featured a consistent "house style."
Like many horror comics, all four titles fell victim of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency and were cancelled by the end of 1954. In 1954 Farrell acquired the rights to the Phantom Lady comic strip series owned by Fox Feature Syndicate and before that, Quality Comics. Farrell published four issues of the short-lived title from January to June 1954; the company published Phantom Lady backup stories in two issues of its comic Wonder Boy. Phantom Lady as well fell under the baleful gaze of anti-comics crusader Fredric Wertham, who objected to the character's titillating costume. Changes were made so that her cleavage was covered and shorts replaced her skirt. After the cancellation of its popular horror titles in early 1955, Farrell received a cash infusion from Dearfield Publishing, which became a key investor; the company switched focus to romance and funny animal comics. In 1957, Farrell and former Iger studio-mate Myron Fass attempted to re-enter the horror/fantasy field with a quartet of Comics Code-approved titles made up of pre-Code material with the goriest panels excised.
This resulted in flat sales. The company continued publishing until 1958, but never with the same success. Farrell went into magazine and newspaper publishing. In 1958, he started the humor magazine Panic. In 1960, he acquired the Brooklyn Eagle's assets in bankruptcy court, publishing five Sunday editions of the paper in 1960. In 1962–1963, under the corporate name Newspaper Consolidated Corporation and his partner Philip Enciso revived the paper as a daily. From 1969–1981, Farrell worked for Myron Fass, as publisher of the schlocky black-and-white horror magazine publisher Eerie Publications. During this time, he revived the defunct New York Daily Mirror, publishing it from 1971–1972. All True Romance — acquired from Comic Media.
Skywald Publications was an American publisher of black-and-white comics magazines the horror anthologies Nightmare and Scream. It published a small line of comic books and other genre magazines. Skywald's first publication was Nightmare #1; the company lasted through the end of 1974 or early 1975, with Psycho #24 being its final publication. Nightmare published Scream put out 11 issues; the company name is a combination of those of its founders, former Marvel Comics production manager Sol Brodsky and low-budget entrepreneur Israel Waldman, whose I. W. Publications in the late 1950s and early 1960s published unauthorized comic book reprints for sale through grocery and discount stores. Skywald was based in New York City. Brodsky, who served as editor, brought in Al Hewetson – an assistant to Marvel chief Stan Lee and a freelancer for the Warren Publishing horror magazines and others – as a freelance writer. "Archaic Al", as he jokingly called himself in print became the associate editor, when Brodsky returned to Marvel after a few months, Hewetson succeeded him as editor.
Hewetson, aiming at a more literary bent than the work of industry leader Warren Publishing, developed what he called "the Horror-Mood" and sought to evoke the feel of such writers as Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and Kafka. Comics professionals who produced work for the Skywald magazines include writers T. Casey Brennan, Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Gardner Fox, Doug Moench, Dave Sim, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, artists Rich Buckler, Gene Day Vince Colletta, Bill Everett, Bruce Jones, Pablo Marcos, Syd Shores, Chic Stone, Tom Sutton. Many who contributed to rival Warren employed pseudonyms. Future industry star John Byrne published his first professional story, a two-pager written by editor Hewetson, in Skywald's Nightmare #20. In an unusual arrangement, Hewetson managed editorial from his home in St. Catharines, Canada, though the publisher was based in Manhattan; as he described in 1973, I write my stories, edit others' stories, send them directly to the various artists. The art is sent to New York, where I collate it.
I produce all the editorial production here at home, when I visit New York I package the entire magazine and do the production for it. And in an incredible fat bundle, I mail the thing off to our printers who have nothing to do but add the occasional, miscellaneous screen and make the negatives for the magazine. Blueprint proofs of those negatives are sent to me which I proof editorially and I make certain changes and approve the package, and the magazine is printed in Canada and shipped to Connecticut and from there to various distribution centers, including back to Canada. Skywald produced two issues of the magazine Hell-Rider, featuring a vigilante motorcyclist with a flamethrower-equipped bike; the character was created by penciler Ross Andru. Backup features were "The Butterfly" and "The Wild Bunch", both written by Friedrich, with art credits disputed by different sources for issue #1. Another two-issue title, The Crime Machine, consisted of comic-book crime fiction reprints from the 1950s.
A remaining title, Science Fiction Odyssey, was planned for September 1971 publication, but withdrawn. The company published a small number of magazines unrelated to horror or comics. Among these was Judy Garland, a "special tribute issue". Hewetson said in 1973, "We produced, when this company began, a production called The Judy Garland Book, the most threatening thing which happened to our company. We printed far too many copies and we sold maybe four or five. We lost a lot of money."Skywald published two issues of the men's adventure title King: The Magazine for the Man's Man in 1971. The short-lived color comic-book line, edited by Brodsky, comprised the Western titles Blazing Six-Guns, The Bravados, Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid, Wild Western Action; these reprints. Contributors, in addition to some of those noted above, included Dick Ayers, Mike Friedrich, Jack Katz, John Severin, John Tartaglione. Notably, The Sundance Kid #1–2 contained Jack Kirby Western reprints from Bullseye #2–3. None of the comics lasted more than three issues, except the romance comic Tender Love Stories, which ran four."The color comics, more or less, broke even," Hewetson said in 1973.
"I think we could've continued with them to try and establish a color comics area, except for the fact that, at the same time as Skywald began the color comics and Marvel were engaged in a price war which hurt just about everybody." Editor Al Hewetson, in an interview given shortly before his death of a heart attack on January 6, 2004, asserted the demise of Skywald was caused by... Marvel's distributor. Our issues were selling well, some sold out; such returns as we received were shipped overseas to England, where they sold out completely... When Marvel entered the game with countless titles gutting the newsstand, their distributor was so powerful they denied Skywald access to all but the largest newsstands, so our presence was minimal and f
Not to be confused with the same-name Scottish company that published science fiction magazines from at least 1946 to 1960. Magazine Enterprises was an American comic book company lasting from 1943 to 1958, which published Western, crime and children's comics, with no superheroes, it was founded by Vin Sullivan, an editor at Columbia Comics and before that the editor at National Allied Publications, the future DC Comics. Magazine Enterprises' characters include the jungle goddess Cave Girl, drawn by Bob Powell, Ghost Rider, a horror fiction-themed Western avenger created by writer Ray Krank and artist Dick Ayers in 1949. In late 1947, Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster collaborated once again with editor Vin Sullivan, who had worked with the writer-artist team during their nascent days freelancing for National Allied Publications, the future DC Comics; the duo had decamped to Magazine Enterprises after leaving National Allied and suing to regain the rights to Superman and their creation, Superboy.
Siegel and Shuster brought most of their studio's artists with them, except for 1950s Superman penciler Wayne Boring, created the new character Funnyman, a slapstick-comedian hero. Both as a comic book and as a comic strip, the character failed to find an audience. Magazine Enterprises' best-known character may be Ghost Rider, a horror-themed Western avenger created by writer Ray Krank and artist Dick Ayers in 1949. After the trademark lapsed and others adapted it as Marvel Comics' non-horror but otherwise near-identical Western character Ghost Rider in 1967; the company's two superhero characters were the Avenger, created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Dick Ayers in The Avenger #1, with Bob Powell drawing the character's three subsequent issues and all four covers. The Avenger was one of the few traditional, costumed superheroes created during the period before superheroes' revival in what historians and fans call the Silver Age of Comics, beginning 1956. Other original characters include the jungle goddess Cave Girl, drawn by Bob Powell, the funny animal canine hero Hot Dog, created by cartoonist George Crenshaw and unrelated to the Archie Comics character of that name.
Among the company's publications were licensed film and TV comics featuring comedian Jimmy Durante. Additionally, Little Miss Sunbeam Comics starred the pig-tailed mascot of Sunbeam Bread. Since the copyright to Magazine Enterprises' comics do not appear to have been renewed, they evidently fell into the public domain in accordance with copyright laws at the time. Beginning in the 1980s, AC Comics issued reprint titles of Magazine Enterprises material, along with those of other defunct publishers of that era; as well, AC revived the Avenger as a guest star in FemForce #19 creating a new series. Ghost Rider reprints appeared in 1999 with the character renamed the Haunted Horseman. Clubhouse Rascals Ding Dong The Pixies Koko and Kola Little Miss Sunbeam Comics Mighty Atom Mighty Atom and the Pixies Muggsy Mouse Tom-Tom and Itchi the Monk Tom-Tom, The Jungle Boy Tick Tock Tales Vacation Comics Dick Powell a.k.a. Star Parade Presents Dick Powell I'm A Cop Kerry Drake Detective Cases The Killers Manhunt Mysteries of Scotland Yard Undercover Girl Robin Hood Dan'l Boone The Brain Dogface Dooley Dotty Dripple Hot Dog Jimmy Durante Comics Africa Cave Girl Thun'da A-1 ComicsRotating anthology sometimes used as an alternate title/issue number.
Extra Comics The Adventures of Robin Hood Keen Teens Movie ThrillersSee also: Dick Powell, Jimmy Durante Comics, Tim Holt Dream Book of Love Dream Book of Romance Romantic Picture Novellettes Jet Powers Major Inapak the Space Ace a.k.a. Space Ace Pride of the Yankees The Avenger Funnyman Strong Man The American Air Forces United States Marines Badmen of the West! Best of the West Black Phantom Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders Cowboys'N' Injuns/Cowboys and Indians Durango Kid Ghost Rider Great Western Guns of Fact and Fiction Red Hawk Red Mask Straight Arrow Straight Arrow's Fury Tim Holt Trail Colt White Indian Magazine Enterprises at the Grand Comics Database Magazine Enterprises at the Comic Book DB Nolan, Michelle. "Super Hero Limbo". 3. Nolan's Niche, CGC. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Shaw, Scott. "Tom-Tom the Jungle Boy #1". Oddball Comics, ComicBookResources.com. Archived from the original on December 26, 2004
Letterpress printing is a technique of relief printing using a printing press, a process by which many copies are produced by repeated direct impression of an inked, raised surface against sheets or a continuous roll of paper. A worker composes and locks movable type into the "bed" or "chase" of a press, inks it, presses paper against it to transfer the ink from the type which creates an impression on the paper. In practice, letterpress includes other forms of relief printing with printing presses, such as wood engravings, photo-etched zinc "cuts", linoleum blocks, which can be used alongside metal type, or wood type, in a single operation, as well as stereotypes and electrotypes of type and blocks. With certain letterpress units it is possible to join movable type with slugs cast using hot metal typesetting. In theory, anything, "type high" or.918 inches can be printed using letterpress. Letterpress printing was the normal form of printing text from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century until the 19th century and remained in wide use for books and other uses until the second half of the 20th century.
Letterpress printing remained the primary means of printing and distributing information until the 20th century, when offset printing was developed, which supplanted its role in printing books and newspapers. All forms of data collection were affected by the invention of letterpress printing, as were many careers such as teachers, preachers and surgeons and artist-engineers. More letterpress printing has seen a revival in an artisanal form. Johannes Gutenberg is credited with the development in the western hemisphere, in about 1440, of modern movable type printing from individually cast, reusable letters set together in a form. Movable type was first invented in China using ceramic type in 1040 AD. Gutenberg invented a wooden printing press, based on the extant wine press, where the type surface was inked with leather-covered ink balls and paper laid on top by hand slid under a padded surface and pressure applied from above by a large threaded screw, it was Gutenberg's "screw press" or hand press, used to print 180 copies of the Bible.
At 1,282 pages, it took him and his staff of 20 3 years to complete. 48 copies remain intact today. This form of presswork replaced the hand-copied manuscripts of scribes and illuminators as the most prevalent form of printing. Printers' workshops unknown in Europe before the mid-15th century, were found in every important metropolis by 1500. Metal presses used a knuckle and lever arrangement instead of the screw, but the principle was the same. Ink rollers made of composition paved the way for further automation. With the advent of industrial mechanisation, inking was carried out by rollers that passed over the face of the type moved out of the way onto an ink plate to pick up a fresh film of ink for the next sheet. Meanwhile, a sheet of paper slid against a hinged platen, which rapidly pressed onto the type and swung back again as the sheet was removed and the next sheet inserted; as the fresh sheet of paper replaced the printed paper, the now freshly inked rollers ran over the type again. Automated 20th-century presses, such as the Kluge and "Original" Heidelberg Platen, incorporated pneumatic sheet feed and delivery.
Rotary presses were used for high-speed work. In the oscillating press, the form slid under a drum around which each sheet of paper got wrapped for the impression, sliding back under the inking rollers while the paper was removed and a new sheet inserted. In a newspaper press, a papier-mâché mixture called a flong used to make a mould of the entire form of type dried and bent, a curved metal stereotype plate cast against it; the plates were clipped to a rotating drum and could print against a continuous reel of paper at the enormously high speeds required for overnight newspaper production. This invention helped aid the high demand for knowledge during this time period. Letterpress printing was introduced in Canada in 1752 in Halifax, Nova Scotia by John Bushell in the newspaper format; this paper became Canada's first newspaper. Bushell apprenticed under Bartholomew Green in Boston. Green moved to Halifax in 1751 in hopes of starting a newspaper. Two weeks and a day after the press he was going to use for this new project arrived in Halifax, Green died.
Upon receiving word about what happened, Bushell moved to Halifax and continued what Green had started. The Halifax Gazette was first published on March 23, 1752, making Bushell the first letterpress printer in Halifax, Canada. There is only one known surviving copy, found in the Massachusetts Historical Society. One of the first forms of letterpress printing in the United States was Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick started by Benjamin Harris; this was the first form of a newspaper with multiple pages in the Americas. The first publication of Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick was September 25, 1690. Letterpress started to become out-of-date in the 1970s because of the rise of computers and new self-publishing print and publish methods. Many printing establishments went out of business from the 1980s to 1990s and sold their equipment after computers replaced letterpress's abilities more efficiently; these commercial print shops discarded presses, making them affordable and available to artisans throughout the country.
Popular presses are, in particular, Vandercook cylinder proof presses and Chandler & Price platen presses. In the UK there is particular affection for the Arab press, built by Josiah Wade in Halifax. Letterpress
Vincenzo Francisco Gennaro Di Fago, known professionally as Vince Fago, was an American comic-book artist and writer who served as interim editor of Timely Comics, the Golden Age predecessor of Marvel Comics, during editor Stan Lee's World War II service. Fago headed the Timely animator bullpen, separate from the superhero group that produced comics featuring the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner and Captain America; this group, which featured such movie tie-in and original funny-animal comics as Terrytoons Comics, Mighty Mouse and Animated Funny Comic-Tunes, included Ernie Hart, David Gantz, Chad Grothkopf, George Klein, Pauline Loth, Jim Mooney, Kin Platt, Mike Sekowsky, Moss Worthman and future Mad cartoonists Dave Berg and Al Jaffee. In his career, Fago oversaw Pendulum Press' Now Age Books line of comic book adaptations of literary classics. Fago was born in 1914 in New York, of parents who had immigrated from Naples, Italy, he had a 10-year-older brother, Al Fago. At 14, Vincent Fago sold his first cartoon to the New York Sun, for $2.
He attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, graduating at age 20, he recalled in 2001, after encountering difficulties upon losing vision in one eye at age 16. By this time he had begun work as an animation tracer at Audio Productions in the old Edison studios in The Bronx, advanced to become an in-betweener after the company moved to the Fox Movietone News Building, he worked four years at the Jam Handy Studio in Detroit, contributing, he said, to "films for Chevrolet, stop-motion pictures, Technicolor films for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. From there, he spent four years in Florida as an animator at Fleischer Brothers Studios, where he worked as an assistant animator on Betty Boop and Supermantheatrical shorts and on the animated features Mr. Bug Goes to Town and Gulliver's Travels. After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, not wishing to work on the war-related projects the studio began doing, returned to New York City. Moving in with his mother in The Bronx, he found work as a freelance artist at Timely Comics, the 1940s antecedent of Marvel Comics, doing such humor and funny-animal features as "Dinky" and "Frenchy Rabbit" in Terrytoons Comics.
He became head of the "animator" bullpen producing those non-superhero comics, during editor Stan Lee's U. S. Army service from 1942 to 1945, Fago assumed the interim title of Timely's Editorial and Art Director, beginning on comics cover-dated March 1943. Sometime after Lee's return, Fago left to work in independent comic-book production, he worked as a children's-book illustrator for Golden Press. In 1948, he took over the syndicated Sunday comic strip Peter Rabbit, continuing with that strip until it was cancelled in 1957. For the entire decade of the 1970s, Fago worked under a ten-year contract for West Haven, Connecticut-based Pendulum Press. Based in his Bethel studio, Fago adapted and handled production for Pendulum's extensive line of Now Age Books comic book adaptation of literary classics. Designed for classroom use, the Pendulum classics used typeset instead of hand lettering, vocabulary appropriate for grade levels, included word lists and questions at the back. After having difficulty finding American artists to illustrate the comics, Fago turned to Filipino artist Nestor Redondo, who offered to help Fago recruit some of his fellow Filipino comics artists.
In 1970, Fago and his wife traveled to the Philippines and, with Redondo as their guide, found many artists who would illustrate most of the hundred or more titles Pendulum produced. During this period, Fago collaborated with Vermont-based musician Julie Albright on The Rabbit Man Music Books, a series designed to teach children music theory. Other books include Zhen. For most of his adult life Fago and his wife, the former D'Ann Calhoun, whom he married in 1941, lived in a rural section of Rockland County, New York, they moved to Bethel, Vermont, in 1968, following D'ann's appointment as director of Vermont's Arts and Crafts Service. They had son John and daughter, Celie. Fago spent his final years in Bethel with his wife before dying of cancer at age 87. Fago's brother Al Fago was a funny-animal cartoonist who created the Charlton Comics character Atomic Mouse. Vincent Fago at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011 Vassallo, Michael J. "Vincent Fago and the Timely Funny Animal Dept".
Comicartville.com. Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. "Vincent Fago". Graphic Classics official website. Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2015. Vincent F. Fago at the United States Social Security Death Index via FamilySearch.org. Retrieved on August 7, 2015. Vincent Fago and Vince Fago penciler credits at the Grand Comics Database. Vincent Fago and Vince Fago editing credits at the Grand Comics Database
Crime fiction is a literary genre that fictionalises crimes, their detection and their motives. It is distinguished from mainstream fiction and other genres such as historical fiction or science fiction, but the boundaries are indistinct. Crime fiction has multiple subgenres, including detective fiction, courtroom drama, hard-boiled fiction and legal thrillers. Most crime drama does not feature the court room. Suspense and mystery are key elements. One of the earliest stories in which solving a crime is central to the story is Oedipus Rex, in which the search for the murderer of the previous king, leads to the downfall of the current one. Another early example of crime fiction is gong’ an fiction in China, which involved government magistrates who solved criminal court cases and first appeared in colloquial stories of the Song dynasty. An early example of a crime story is the medieval Arabic tale of "The Three Apples", one of the tales narrated by Scheherazade in the One Thousand and One Nights.
In this tale, a fisherman discovers a heavy locked chest along the Tigris river and he sells it to the Abbasid Caliph, Harun al-Rashid, who has the chest broken open only to find inside it the dead body of a young woman, cut into pieces. Harun orders his vizier, Ja'far ibn Yahya, to solve the crime and find the murderer within three days, or be executed if he fails his assignment; the story has been described as a "whodunit" murder mystery with multiple plot twists. The story has detective fiction elements; the earliest known modern crime fiction is E. T. A. Hoffmann's 1819 novella Mademoiselle de Scudéri. There is Thomas Skinner Sturr's anonymous Richmond, or stories in the life of a Bow Street Officer. Better known are the earlier dark works of Edgar Allan Poe, his brilliant and eccentric detective C. Auguste Dupin, a forerunner to Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, appeared in works such as "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", "The Mystery of Marie Roget", "The Purloined Letter". With his Dupin stories, Poe provided the framework for the classic detective story.
The detective’s unnamed companion is the narrator of the stories and a prototype for the character of Dr. Watson in Sherlock Holmes stories. Wilkie Collins' epistolary novel The Woman in White was published in 1860, while The Moonstone is thought to be his masterpiece. French author Émile Gaboriau's Monsieur Lecoq laid the groundwork for the methodical, scientifically minded detective; the evolution of locked room mysteries was one of the landmarks in the history of crime fiction. The Sherlock Holmes mysteries of Arthur Conan Doyle are said to have been singularly responsible for the huge popularity in this genre. A precursor was Paul Féval, whose series Les Habits Noirs features Scotland Yard detectives and criminal conspiracies; the best-selling crime novel of the nineteenth century was Fergus Hume's The Mystery of a Hansom Cab, set in Melbourne, Australia. The evolution of the print mass media in the United Kingdom and the United States in the latter half of the 19th century was crucial in popularising crime fiction and related genres.
Literary'variety' magazines like Strand, McClure's, Harper's became central to the overall structure and function of popular fiction in society, providing a mass-produced medium that offered cheap, illustrated publications that were disposable. Like the works of many other important fiction writers of his day—e.g. Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens—Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories first appeared in serial form in the monthly Strand magazine in the United Kingdom; the series attracted a wide and passionate following on both sides of the Atlantic, when Doyle killed off Holmes in The Final Problem, the public outcry was so great, the publishing offers for more stories so attractive, that he was reluctantly forced to resurrect him. In Italy, local authors began to produce crime mysteries in the 1850s. Early translations of English and American stories and local works were published in cheap yellow covers and thus the genre was baptized with the term "Libri gialli" or yellow books; the genre was outlawed by the Fascists during WWII but exploded in popularity after the war influenced by the American hard-boiled school of crime fiction.
There emerged a group of mainstream Italian writers who used the detective format to create an anti-detective or postmodern novel in which the detectives are imperfect, the crimes unsolved and clues left for the reader to decipher. Famous writers include Leonardo Sciascia, Umberto Eco, Carlo Emilio Gadda. In Spain, The Nail and other Tales of Mystery and Crime was published by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón in 1853. Crime fiction in Spain took on some special characteristics that reflected the culture of the country; the Spanish writers emphasized the corruption and ineptitude of the police and depicted the authorities and the wealthy in negative terms. In China, modern crime fiction was first developed from translations of foreign works from the 1890s. Cheng Xiaoqing, considered "The Grand Master" of twentieth-century Chinese detective fiction, translated Sherlock Holmes into classical and vernacular Chinese. In the late 1910s, Cheng began writing his own detective fiction series, Sherlock in Shanghai, mimicking Conan Doyle’s style but reappropriating to a Chinese audience.
During the Mao era, crime fiction was suppressed and Soviet-styled and anti-capitalist. In the post-Mao era, crime fiction in