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The Set-Up
The Set-Up

The Set-Up

The Lost Classic by the Author of 'The Wild Party'



256 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Cloth, EPUB

Cloth, $29.95 (US $29.95) (CA $39.95)

Publication Date: May 2022

ISBN 9781912740086

Rights: US, CA & CAR

Korero Press (May 2022)


eBook Editions Available

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Price: $29.95


Written in 1928, The Set-Up is a long narrative poem about the boxing underworld - a hard-boiled tragedy told in syncopated rhyming couplets. When the work was first published it made the bestseller list, and in 1949 it was turned into an award-winning film featuring Robert Ryan and Audrey Totter. This reprinting of the original, unchanged 1928 poem features dynamic, specially commissioned artwork by Erik Kriek that vividly conveys the story of Pansy, an up-and-coming black prize fighter who takes on all comers. When he was in the ring, "It was over before you knew it. He'd carve you up like a leg of mutton. And drop you flat with a sock on the button." Pansy's complicated love life leads to a spell in prison and his career subsequently takes a nosedive; but he continues to box until the fateful night his fight managers and opponent triple-cross him and he meets a grisly end at the hands of a vengeful gang.


"A ringside seat at a heavyweight bout is what is offered by Mr. March in this astonishing narrative… episodes that make the blood boil, and the hair rise…tragic pathos so deep as almost to defeat any faith in man." —New York Times Book Review, upon original 1928 publication "It's a cross between a graphic novel and a heavily illustrated epic poem. It has the feel of a lost treasure one would find on a back shelf of some forgotten bookstore. And yet, somehow it seems crisp and new. . . . If you can imagine there was a month long collaboration where Eric Powell, Charles Burns and Will Eisner were all locked in a studio together, you will be able to envision exactly what this art looks like. Kriek's illustrations employ black and grey tones with a moody effect. And he's not handcuffed into any formal page layout or size. Some illustrations are full pagers, some are spot illustrations in weird shapes, and some overflow to two pages. There are no word balloons, and as this is a poem, there's great flexibility and freshness to each and every page layout." —Pop Culture Squad "So prolifically illustrated it reads like a graphic novel. Striking artwork." —Bud's Art Books

Author Biography

Joseph Moncure March (1899–1977) was the first managing editor of The New Yorker, and helped create the magazine's Talk of the Town front section. After leaving the magazine, March wrote the first of his two important Jazz Age narrative poems, The Wild Party. In 1928 he followed it with The Set-up. Moving to Hollywood in 1929 he became the scriptwriter who turned the silent version of Howard Hughes' classic Hell's Angels into a talkie – a rewrite that brought the phrase "Excuse me while I put on something more comfortable" into the American lexicon. A screenwriter in Hollywood until 1940, March eventually became a writer of documentaries for the State Department and a feature writer for The New York Times Magazine.Erik Kriek is an award-winning illustrator, designer, and comic artist from Amsterdam. He is best known for his Gutsman comics, for which he won the Dutch award Stripschaprijis in 2008. In 2012 he published From Beyond and Other Tales, his collection of graphic reworkings of short stories by H.P. Lovecraft. Among his influences are US artists such as Daniel Clowes, Will Eisner, Charles Burns and Chris Ware, as well as the classic 1940s horror comics of E.C. Comics by artists such as Wallace Wood. He has also expressed admiration for Dutch artists including Peter Pontiac, Typex and Peter van Dongen. He lives in the Netherlands with his girlfriend and son.