|The Big Book of Little Criminals. Written by George Hagenauer and Carl Sifakis and others. Illustrated by various. New York: Paradox Press/DC Comics, 1996. 191p. (Factoid Book). $14.95. ISBN 1-56389-217-0.|
As in previous volumes in this series, the book concludes with a series of biographies of the artists and writers. Artists include Terry Austin, Ernie Colon, D'Israeli D'emon Draughtsman, Ric Estrada, Rick Geary, Dave Gibbons, Paul Gulacy, Linda Medley, Jeff Nicholson, Ty Templeton, and Gahan Wilson, among many others. Unlike previous volumes, this book includes a long bibliography--most likely due to the influence of Sifakis, probably the premiere crime reference book writer in the country.
However, the title has one serious flaw: Though the subtitle promises incompetent criminals, most of the individuals in this book cannot be considered incompetent/crazy. Al Capone may not have been a big shot in prison (his entry concerns his mistreatment by other prisoners while incarcerated), but he was certainly a terror before he was caught--hardly the equivalent of D. B. Cooper. Or take the case of the the Mona Lisa forgers: the masterpiece disappeared from the Louvre for a while, so forgers took the opportunity to turn a nice profit selling fake Mona Lisas to weathy Americans. When the real thing turned up and the market (obviously) dried up, the forgers were never caught. Is that incompetence? Anyway, my point is that I came to this book expecting a cartoon version of "The World's Dumbest Crooks" and got a rather more serious treatment, with only a few genuinely incompetent criminals between these pages.
Overall, this is a well-done work that will entertain and inform on an interesting, lurid topic. Recommended.
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