A publishing venture of the Creative Arts Book Company of Berkeley, California, which specialized in rediscovering forgotten classic crime writers and their work from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Founded and edited by writer Barry Gifford, Black Lizard Books released over ninety books between 1984 and 1990, including novels by Charles Willeford, David Goodis, Peter Rabe, Harry Whittington, Dan J. Marlowe, Charles Williams, and Lionel White. Lizard is single-handedly responsible for renewing the interest in pulp master Jim Thompson in the late 1980s, long after his death, which resulted in several film adaptations of his novels. The original series were mass-market paperbacks with covers drawn by Kirwan.
Vintage Books (Random House) bought out Lizard in June 1990 and formed Vintage Crime/Black Lizard. In came the novels of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Chester Himes and tons of contemporaries. Out went all the less commercial authors, the same ones that made Lizard unique in the first place. The mass-market paperbacks were replaced by trade paperbacks with black & white photographs on the covers. Most of the series was reprinted in this new format, but practically all of the books published by Lizard before the merge have been allowed to fall out of print and have remained so since the early 1990s. Jim Thompson's novels are a notable exception, but even they have been slowly disappearing recently (as of April 2003).
Complete list of books published or republished by the original Black Lizard. Books still in print in Vintage Crime/Black Lizard editions are in italics, books in that are now published by others are in bold and italics.
List borrowed from Stanford University website, notes and corrections by yours truly. Can be found at http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/hasrg/ablit/amerlit/lizard.html