Monday, March 23, 2009

The Books from the Fantod Press II

Not content to publish one book at a time, 1970 brought forth Edward Gorey's next set of three books which were issued as an enveloped set: Three Books from the Fantod Press II. The three titles included in this set are The Chinese Obelisks, Donald has a Difficulty (with Peter Neumeyer), and The Osbick Bird. Published in an edition of 500 unnumbered/unsigned sets, the three books were housed in a fuchsia colored envelope with the book titles printed in the upper left corner. The envelope for this set is quite susceptible to fading when exposed to light, and it can be difficult to find an envelope that is still bright. All three books shown are signed by Mr. Gorey and The Osbick Bird is inscribed to me.

The Chinese Obelisks is Edward Gorey's forth alphabet book, and is a favorite volume of Gorey's fans. It begins "A is an Author who went for a walk.", and we are taken on a journey with Mr. Gorey (the "Author" is definitely a self portrait drawing) that reveals the bizarre and the mundane from EG's viewpoint. Of course, the story ends tragically. Included in Amphigorey Too, sketches for The Chinese Obelisks are also included in this anthology. It is a rare treat to see the working "sketchy" drawing style which he used when blocking out ideas for a book.

Donald Has a Difficulty was co-authored with Peter F. Neumeyer and is the second of the "Donald" books that were created, this time with Edward Gorey co-authoring the volume. Mr. Gorey must have been quite pleased with the collaboration since this volume of the Donald series was published by The Fantod Press.

I have always had a fondness for The Osbick Bird. I love the way Mr. Gorey uses white space in the illustrations for this title. The spare line and open space give this unusual bird room to stretch across the pages of this charming story. This book is included in Amphigorey Too.

In 1999/2000, Mr. Gorey licensed images from The Osbick Bird (as well as other Gorey images) to The Funeral Consumers Alliance. The Funeral Consumers Alliance published a packet that includes fliers regarding final wishes, a pamphlet to be filled out and stored (at their suggestion) in the refrigerator or freezer, and a Gorey-illustrated magnet to put on the outside of the appliance so friends and relatives would know to look inside for the information. The Alliance also used an image from The Osbick Bird on a mug to promote The Funeral Consumers Alliance.

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