Thursday, September 15, 2011

Beautiful bindings, whatever that means to you

I am so sorry for being absent so long, gentle readers. I had some illness to contend with, but now all is well! I can go back to showing you many pictures and idiosyncratically ranting.

So I'll start with the least idiosyncratic thing I want to show you this week, just to get it out of the way ... though maybe I should save it for last, because it's still wonderful. Actually, even though it's arguably not-so-idiosyncratic, I think it's my Favorite item in the lineup:



I recently realized that there are actually some people who do not know that we here at O'Gara & Wilson have a whole section for Lovely Victorian Bindings. These are well-preserved antique books that are still, quite obviously, beautifully made. For example, the above compendium of Milton's poetry. I tried scanning the cover so that I could show you a close-up, and while the color is a little washed-out, the scan came out pretty well!:



The book includes "Paradise Lost", "Paradise Regained", and many other fine classic poems. You -- yes you -- could own this beautiful thing for $20, and don't try to pretend you aren't tempted.

On the Affordable and Interesting end of the spectrum, we have some random 1970s "National Lampoons":





This iconic "college humor" magazine was begun in 1970 and experienced the most success is that decade, although it continued publication through the 1990s, and its immensely popular brand name has been bought and sold and bandied about by many salespeople in various genres. I do believe that the classic 1978 frat film "Animal House" was associated with the "National Lampoon", for example -- and "Animal House" was the first anyone ever heard of toga parties, so its cultural influence must be undeniable, right? Wikipedia gives us a gigantic list of the anthologies, spinoffs and so on, which includes not just "The Best of National Lampoon" but also "The Breast of National Lampoon". Tasteless? Maybe, which is why you can buy antique issues from us at a mere $2 apiece. In their own way, they too are beautifully bound, with 1970s humor illustrations such as the above!

Comics, on the other hand, are never tasteless. You can tell, because collectors never collect anything tasteless, and this week's Collector's Item is as comicky as it gets:



"Dick Tracy", that fearless old standby of a noir detective, has had many years of fame ... and many artists. Here we have a 60-year compilation that was curated by some recent artists, Collins and Locher, who were sure to pick their favorite strips of all time. That may not sound so special, but what's cool about this book is that it's one of only 1000 copies that were signed by both artist and writer. So for $75, you get not just their chosen favorites but their magic touch!

I always liked "Dick Tracy". As a youngling I found a number of compilations and clips, from which I learned to draw femme fatales in snaky black gowns. Ah, childhood. But I am of course not the only Tracy fan. Indeed, the artist who drew another famous cartoon, "Lil Abner", created a satirical version of Dick Tracy within his own cartoon whose name was Fearless Fosdick. Fosdick had a career almost as long as Tracy's, because he had enduring popularity within the world of "Lil Abner". You can even find buttons featuring Fearless Fosdick right now, should you be so inclined.

And, if all you really want is to read old Dick Tracy panels, I found a blogger who's scanned a ton of them -- and some other contemporary comics besides. Enjoy! Remember, if you become a fan, we've got the ultimate fan book right here at O'Gara and Wilson ....

Was that idiosyncratic enough for you, readers? I'll have to hope so. Au revoir ... and I'll try to keep up the weirdness in two weeks, as per usual.

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