Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost

Published in 1999 by Dial Books for Young Readers, The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost by Brad Strickland features one of the least stimulating wrap around dust jackets in the John Bellairs series. While completely appropriate for this title, I have never cared for the dust jacket design for this book.

I have the original artwork for the frontis illustration in my collection. The image features a fantastic map with sea monsters and flowers with faces - the flowers are reminiscent of some very early illustration work by Mr. Gorey for books by John Ciardi.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Final Farewell

Take a moment this evening to raise a glass in honor of Edward Gorey, as the last of his ashes are scattered at 5 p.m. est with family, friends and fans in attendance. Pull out your copy of The Osbick Bird and read it aloud as they will be doing at the ceremony.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Specter from the Magician's Museum

One of Edward Gorey's more striking dust jacket designs for the John Bellairs/Brad Strickland series was created for The Specter from the Magician's Museum. Published in 1998 by Dial Books for Young Readers, the wrap around dust jacket painting is beautifully surreal. I saw the painting in person at Gotham Book Mart, and without the distractions of the lettering and bar code, it is a truly spectacular work by Edward Gorey.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fine Art Prints, Part 7

We continue with Gotham Book Mart's 2002 list of prints created by Edward Gorey. All of the prints shown on this post are available for purchase from The Edward Gorey House -

#17 Descending Elephant with Extended Ears - 45/95 prints were hand signed.
#18 Elephant Skywalking - 40/95 prints were hand signed.
#19 Departing Elephant on One Leg - 45/95 prints were hand signed.
#20 Rose Elephant on Three Legs - 20/95 prints were hand signed.
#21 Elephant in Deep Bow - 35/95 prints were hand signed.
#22 Elephant Looking Back - 35/95 prints were hand signed.
#23 Groomed Elephant Turning Right - 40/95 prints were hand signed.
#24 Curved Trunk Elephant Moving Right in Heavy Fog - 40/95 prints were hand signed.
#25 Dark Elephant Descending - 45/95 prints were hand signed.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Just Dessert

The Just Dessert, Thoughtful Alphabet XI by Edward Gorey was published in 1997 by the Fantod Press. Printed in a signed, limited edition of 750 numbered and 26 lettered (A to Z) copies, I am showing copies #12/750 and Q/26. The title does not appear on the cover of the book, only "XI". This book is included in Amphigorey Again.

The Just Dessert is the first book written and hand illustrated by Edward Gorey since The Unknown Vegetable in 1995. Mr. Gorey's publications between these titles were illustrated with clip art and were published in postcard or poster formats.

The Just Dessert marks a decided turn in Mr. Gorey's signature drawing style. The illustrations are simpler and less refined, and this look will become his drawing style from this point forward. The simplification of his drawing style can be related to both Mr. Gorey's age and also to his increasing interest in theater work. During this time, much of his time and interest was on his theatrical endeavors. The characters in The Just Dessert strongly resemble Mr. Gorey's hand made puppets, and the format of the drawings for this book look like a puppet stage.

Below, I am showing the announcement card which was sent out by Gotham Book Mart.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Unknown Vegetable

Edward Gorey published The Unknown Vegetable in 1995 using his Fantod Press imprint. The signed, limited edition printing of 526 copies consists of 500 numbered copies and 26 lettered (A to Z) books. I have copies #13/500 and Q/26. As with most of the Fantod Press books, the books are stapled in stiff colored wrappers - this book has a light gray cover. This title is included in Amphigorey Again.

Mr. Gorey always had a knack for coming up with interesting names for his characters. The heroine of this title has been christened Filda, one of my favorite Gorey names. As often happens in these tales, Filda's comes to a sticky end after she encounters a giant root vegetable.

The drawings for this title are nicely executed. It is interesting to note that the buildings in the background change in each outdoor picture, even though Filda stays in one place. In other books, Mr. Gorey would have obsessively drawn the background buildings to be exactly the same from one picture to the next. This shifting background gives the reader a subliminal sense of unease, like spooky music playing in the background - even though I surmise that Mr. Gorey did not do this on purpose.