Monday, January 24, 2011

The Fantod Pack

Published by The Gotham Book Mart in 1995, The Fantod Pack by Edward Gorey is a boxed card set of 20 fortune telling cards. The illustrated grey box includes cards and a booklet which guides the "reader" to tell their (mis)fortune.

This extremely popular Gorey item was first available in a signed, limited edition of 26 lettered (A to Z) and 750 numbered sets. The signed limitation page appears within the booklet. I have copies I/26, and #77/750. The limited edition sold so well that GBM promptly issued an unsigned second printing. The Fantod Pack is once again in print today and available from Pomegranate Publications.

In the two photos below I am showing the front and back of the announcement card for this publication. The 4.125" x 6.25" card is larger than the 2.75" x 5" box, so the image of Figbash on a unicycle has been enlarged to fit. Edward Gorey's signature appears in the lower right hand corner of the card but not on the box lid.

I think the popularity of this Gorey creation is that it is, in a sense, a card game. The participant is encouraged to throw the cards in the air and interpret them using the gloomy and often humorous card descriptions.

With The Fantod Pack, Edward Gorey once again has recycled an earlier project. The cards were originally published in Esquire Magazine (December 1966) as The Awful Vista of the Year: The Fantod Pack. Around 1969, The Owl Press of California created an unlicensed version, which was copied from the magazine images and printed on fluorescent green stock.


Purslane said...

I was delighted to come across the word "fantods" while reading the work of another American master: Mark Twain. The more I thought about the feuding families and the paintings and poetry left behind by Emmeline Grangerford, the more I felt that Mr. Gorey was being anticipated.

Anonymous said...

Are there actually any fantods in the Fantod Pack? The front and back look like they have the Figbash, but no fantods. I love those little long-tailed armless creatures. So cute!

ampootozote said...

Not a visible Fantod in sight...There is, as you say, Figbash, and also the Black Doll.

Perhaps this card set is named Fantod because most (all) of the readings produce doom and gloom. The dictionary defines Fantod as:

Usually, fantods. a state of extreme nervousness or restlessness; the willies; the fidgets (usually preceded by the ): We all developed the fantods when the plane was late in arriving.
Sometimes, fantods. a sudden outpouring of anger, outrage, or a similar intense emotion. Of obscure origin.