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Crime Comic Review Bernie Krigstein Lily White JOE 1950

Joe claims to be an honest man but look who he invests in – the Mafia.



A stark warning story from he Mammoth collection of Best Crime stories telling of the dangers of supporting crime while believing that you are innocent of involvement. This is a straight forward wages of sin is death tale.


Drawn by Krigstien for an un-named writer, the story of Lily-White Joe runs like an episode of The Untouchables TV series.


Joe likes to think of himself as an innocent and honest businessman, running a little restaurant, and keeping himself to himself, but he is investing his money in crime.


He makes a deal with a local mobster, and after the crimes have been committed, he gets a handsome reward, so naturally, he re-invests.


All goes well until a rival gang gets to learn of Joe’s investments, and they attack his restaurant as a way of warning him to pull out. They then kill off the mobsters Joe has been investing with and insist that Joe provides them with the same services, at greater risk and with less profits.


Joe loses his mind and tries first of al to escape with his established takings, and then kills off the mobsters, dying himself in hail of police bullets, declaring himself an honest man to the last. The police are baffled as to how a man of Joe’s honest reputation has met such a sorry end.


Brilliantly drawn, and it’s a shame that the author chooses anonymity as credit should go to all concerned for this little masterpiece.


Arthur Chappell


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  1. marqjonz

    On January 8, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I just “stumbled upon” this article by going from your comment on Shelpeare’s fan vs.friend piece to your profile. We’ve been reading the same book at the same time in opposite sides of the Atlantic.

    Krigstein’s art is great. I’m sorry this particular anthology doesn’t present the comics in color. Some U.S. crime comics from the 50s are now public domain and are available on the web in color. I found one of Fox’s “Crimes by Women” books–represented in the Mammoth anthology by Mary Spratchet–in color on the Digital Comic Archives website.

  2. Arthur Chappell

    On January 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Quite a coincidence for us both to be reading the same collection, and a very good read it is too. I still have a few stories from the book to review, including Mary Spratchett.

    I like the stories being in Black and white as it adds to the noir element, though I will look at the Digital Comics Archive too – cheers. AC

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