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Books that Get Smart!

June 20, 2008 |  5:00 am


The film version of "Get Smart," starring Steve Carell, opens today. This kind of revisiting can often bring attention back to the original. Will that extend to the "Get Smart" books?

The campy '60s TV series featuring a not-at-all smart secret agent did not originally derive from some heavy, intellectual novel. (It was written and created by Mel Brooks.) But it was popular enough to spawn nine paperbacks, with such titles as "Max Smart Loses Control," "The Spy Who Went Out to the Cold" and "Sorry, Chief ... ." The new movie has yet to spark any price inflation — the books can be bought on EBay for less than $10.

But Smart-obilia didn't stop there. Eight "Get Smart" comics — which, according to one collector, "had absolutely no relationship to the show in terms of content or continuity" — were published in 1966-67. Those in good condition are worth more than the paperbacks because some of the artwork was done by Steve Ditko, co-creator of Marvel's "Spider-Man" and "Doctor Strange" comics.

I can't guess about the literary value of either line, but the covers sure are snazzy.

Carolyn Kellogg