Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ronald Searle's Monte Carlo—or Bust!: Block That Price!

Americans of a certain vintage may recall the book published to accompany the 1969 comedy "Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies." The illustrations are by Ronald Searle, who also created the distinctive movie titles.

Ronald Searle
"Those Daring Young Men in Their
Jaunty Jalopies." (1969)
Bookseller Image, Free Shipping Books
(Toledo, OH, U.S.A.)



The original British title—of the film and the promotional book—was "Monte Carlo—or Bust!" Presumably American audiences were not going to be enticed into a theater by such an exotic European title. The American title (and British subtitle) makes it clear that this movie is related to "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" (1965). 
Ronald Searle
"Monte Carlo—or Bust!: Those Daring Young Men
in Their Jaunty Jalopies." (1969)
Bookseller Image, lamdha books (Wentworth Falls, NSW, Australia)

Now if you were a bookseller, how would you list such a book? Would you include an image with the delightfully frenetic book cover illustration? How would you price the volume? Librairie Les Autodidactes—I'd love to think this bookstore's name is a play on words, but I can't tell either way—caught my attention at the beginning of 2017 with their novel sales approach. No image was deemed necessary but the sales price did all the talking.
Ronald Searle
"Monte Carlo—or Bust!: Those Daring Young Men
in Their Jaunty Jalopies." (1969)
AbeBooks Listing Retrieved January 9, 2017




The same AbeBooks listing today—shockingly, the book hasn't sold yet—still lacks a basic bookseller image, but the price has been adjusted downward to the merely extravagant $68.33. What happened in 2017? Was that $135,577.35 price tag an error? It's possible. Currency conversion invariably results in uneven sums, and an order-of-magnitude error in the original currency is certainly plausible. There's no underestimating the proclivity of people to avoid proofreading, even in France.
Ronald Searle
"Monte Carlo—or Bust!: Those Daring Young Men
in Their Jaunty Jalopies." (1969)
AbeBooks Listing Retrieved May 30, 2018



Still, that's not what I think happened. My suspicion is that the hundred-thousand dollar price tag served as a placeholder, keeping the public listing off limits while the bookseller did some basic research and then set an informed price. Of course, if someone had been foolish enough to spend all that money—no, that couldn't happen, could it? Not when there are so many reasonably-priced copies available:
Ronald Searle
"Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies." (1969)
AbeBooks Listing Retrieved January 9, 2017

AbeBooks Item Description


Note:  Attempted Bloggery continues to seek out scans or photographs of published and unpublished original art by Ronald Searle. Anything priced over $100,000 automatically will be fast-tracked onto the blog.

For those Searle works under $100,000 in price, check out Perpetua, the Ronald Searle Tribute blog curated by Matt Jones.

The rollicking titles to "Monte Carlo or Bust!:  Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies" (1969) may be savored here.


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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Ronald Searle: Cat Book Preliminary Sketch

Ronald Searle's preliminary sketch is for a "cat book" that today we know as Searle's Cats. It was published in 1967, the very year of this drawing. By the time of publication, each of the book's cat images was to acquire a descriptive title describing the quirky cats and their various particular attributes. This copiously-whiskered kitty, of course, didn't make the cut, but the book itself ushered in a new and more whimsical chapter in Searle's career.

Ronald Searle
Cat Book Preliminary Sketch, 1967

Ronald Searle
Bonhams, Sale 18737—Modern Pictures—January 25, 2011 Knightsbridge, Lot 197


Note:  So where can we learn more about Searle's cats today? Searle's own cat books would still be the logical place to start.

There are two distinct editions of Searle's Cats (1967 and 1987) plus a full set of lithographs roughly contemporaneous with the earlier edition. As stated above, the 1967 edition is the "cat book" for which the above preliminary sketch was made. All the versions are quite wonderful, as are Searle's many later cat drawings. The 1987 edition of Searle's Cats was singled out in 2014 by Maria Popova on Brain Pickings.

I can also offer my highest recommendation to More Cats (1975) and Ronald Searle's Big Fat Cat Book (1982). And by then you'll simply have to hunt down a copy of every other Searle book...

What does Perpetua, the Ronald Searle Tribute blog, have to say on the subject of Searle's cats? Not all that much, surprisingly. Matt Jones, taking a cue it seems from Searle himself, has never given the cats their due, but he does post on the subject (just a little begrudgingly) in Cats! In contrast, he lavishes a lot more attention on Searle's Dogs.

Nothing dampened Searle's enthusiasm like overwhelming success. His American agent, John Locke, told me decades ago that Searle was frustrated by the narrow tastes of the market regarding his original lithographs. Searle had complained that only his cat lithographs sold well; the other editions didn't do nearly as much business. Hence I can confirm secondhand that Searle came to feel somewhat trapped by the commercial success of his felines, a success that, beginning in 1976, I was a party to.

Attempted Bloggery continues to seek out examples of published and unpublished original art by Ronald Searle. Cats—and even dogs—are equally welcome.


Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives


Ronald Searle


Searle's Cats


Cats


Attempted Bloggery's Pussyfooting Index

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ronald Searle: Sex Shows in Hamburg

A funny thing happened on the way to the MoCCA Arts Festival for 2018. While on the train into midtown Manhattan on April 7, I encountered a drawing by Ronald Searle offered on AbeBooks that I did not recall seeing on the market before. Dated I think 1967 (and probably not 1964), the drawing is from Searle's visit to the St. Pauli quarter of Hamburg researching a risque travel piece that would be published in Holiday magazine early in 1968. The Große Freiheit, or Great Freedom, is a side street in the red-light district off the Reeperbahn in Hamburg. A number of well-fed and well-wrinkled older men are shown thoughtfully considering the various commercial sex shows on offer.

Ronald Searle
Gr. Freiheit, Reeperbahn, Hamburg, 1967


The price—of the art, not the sex shows—was under $400, simply too good to be true. The shipping cost from Germany to the States was, in a word, ridiculous. I had not been looking for a drawing from Searle's jaunt to Hamburg, but how on earth could I pass this up? I took the plunge and made my first purchase of the day from my seat on the train still many miles away from MoCCA Fest. Clearly I would not be adhering to any sort of a budget for the day.

Too good to be true?



Ronald Searle
The AbeBooks listing as it appeared after I bought the item


And so I arrived giddy at MoCCA Fest having already made a very shrewd purchase. Almost immediately though I was hit up for an extra $43 in shipping and insurance fees:

Then the bookseller chimed in as well. The shipping charges had been adjusted "because of the weight of the book." Book? Wasn't it a drawing I was buying? Was it framed? Were they sending me a form letter? Was something being lost in translation? Anyway, I knew I had been undercharged for shipping so I accepted the extra charges while bemoaning AbeBooks' regrettable lack of of user feedback. 

Finally, the seller woke up and canceled the entire transaction "because we have had a massive pricing error with this article in our database, which we have not seen before." AbeBooks allows sellers to cancel transactions because bookstore inventories are naturally subject to prior sale, but this is a seller having second thoughts because of mispricing.

Anyway, it's not the first time I've been disappointed by a cancelled transaction on AbeBooks. The drawing, I later discovered, was also offered on eBay with additional images. That listing was ended abruptly by the seller on April 8.
Ronald Searle
Gr. Freiheit, Reeperbahn, Hamburg, 1967

Ronald Searle
Gr. Freiheit, Reeperbahn, Hamburg, 1967

Signed and Annotated
"
Gr. Freiheit - Reeperbahn
Hamburg.

Ronald Searle, 1967"


Ronald Searle
eBay Listing Ended April 8, 2018



Ronald Searle
eBay Item Description



Searle blogger Matt Jones obtained a much brighter image some years ago.
Ronald Searle
Gr. Freiheit, Reeperbahn, Hamburg, 1967

Incidentally, that Tabu sign in the left upper portion of the drawing was to appear very prominently on Searle's cover for Holiday in January of 1968.

Ronald Searle
"Wild and Wicked Hamburg"
Holiday,
January 1968



Note:  To better understand this drawing in the context of Searle's reportage in Hamburg, see Kabarett! on Perpetua, the Ronald Searle Tribute blog written by Matt Jones.


Attempted Bloggery is the other blog to which collectors may send further examples of published and unpublished original art by Ronald Searle. Special consideration will be given to drawings from Hamburg so I can put the phrase sex shows in the title again. My readers are only human, after all, and the flesh is weak.


Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives


Ronald Searle


Holiday


Attempted Bloggery's Taboo Index

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Monday, May 28, 2018

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #618

Go ahead. Horn in on my entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest for May 28, 2018. The drawing is by Kaamran Hafeez.

"It turns out they weren't extinct—yet."


These captions simply weren't believable:

"Some days you just hate yourself."
"I really thought my daughter would be delighted."
"Roadkill."
"Who knew my hunting license wasn't valid?"




June 11, 2018 Update:  The Finalists


June 18, 2018 Update:  I voted for the first caption, but I do note the third's similarity to my own entry.


June 25, 2018 Update: Winning Caption



Note:  Last week cartoonist John Klossner had us virtually burning in hell on an old TV screen. My caption got poor reception. Tune in to Contest #617.

Kaamran Hafeez's appearances on the blog are the stuff of myth. Or is it legend?


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Sunday, May 27, 2018

MoCCA Fest 2018: Roz Chast

Cartoonist Roz Chast has been contributing to the New Yorker since 1978. She was a guest of honor at this year's MoCCA Arts Festival. Some eleven pieces of her original art were on display at Metropolitan West. She was interviewed live in front of a very appreciative audience by Gil Roth for his Virtual Memories Show podcast. On Sunday she participated in a panel session. My final acquisition at MoCCA Fest 2018 was a copy of Ms. Chast's What I Hate: From A to Z (2011) which she signed and inscribed to me at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund table. My work is done here.


Roz Chast
What I Hate:  From A to Z
New York:  Bloomsbury, 2011


Personalized by Roz Chast

Roz Chast
What I Hate

Pre-Existing Conditions
Roz Chast
Original art
The New Yorker, December 9, 2013

Pre-Existing Conditions
Roz Chast
The New Yorker, December 9, 2013


Yenta Theatre Presents:  Waiting for Godot
Roz Chast
Original art
The New Yorker, November 28, 2016

Yenta Theatre Presents:  Waiting for Godot
Roz Chast
The New Yorker, November 28, 2016
Ode to Hamantashan
Roz Chast
Original art

The Houseplant Cemetery
Roz Chast
Original art
The New Yorker, December 19, 2016
The Houseplant Cemetery
Roz Chast
The New Yorker, December 19, 2016






Roz Chast in conversation with Gil Roth
April 7, 2018

The Virtual Memories Show #268
Roz Chast Live



Note:  Hamantaschen are pastries made for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Was Ode to Hamantashan ever published and, if so, where?


This week's posts have been devoted to the books and animation art I obtained at MoCCA Fest 2018. I had a great time but I feel I should have bought more.


Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Roz Chast



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Saturday, May 26, 2018

MoCCA Fest 2018: "Your Face" and "Homer's Face" Animation Drawings by Bill Plympton

Animator Bill Plympton makes his films the old-fashioned way, drawing each and every image on paper himself without the assistance of in-betweeners. "Your Face" is his iconic 1987 film that was Oscar-nominated for best animated short. This year saw the television premiere of a short parody version of the film, "Homer's Face" for the opening couch gag on "The Simpsons." Mr. Plympton showed up at MoCCA Fest in April with a stack of assorted animation drawings, highlighted by a pair of closely-matched drawings from the two films. How often does an artist take the trouble to curate drawings for collectors?

Bill Plympton
Animation drawing
"Your Face" (1987)

"Your Face"
Video still at 1:29

"Your Face" (1987)
Bill Plympton

Bill Plympton
Animation drawing
"Homer's Face" (2018)

"Homer's Face"
Video still at 1:07

"Homer's Face"
Bill Plympton
'The Simpsons"
Season 29, Episode 13
Couch gag
"3 Scenes Plus a Tag from a Marriage"

Bill Plympton
Animation drawings
"Your Face" (1987)
"Homer's Face" (2018)

Plymptoons
DVD signed by Bill Plympton

Note:  David Apatoff wrote an excellent piece about Bill Plympton at Comic-Con on his Illustration Art blog back in 2014. Don't miss it.

This week's blog posts are devoted to the signed books and original art I acquired at MoCCA Fest 2018. This is Bill Plympton's first appearance on Attempted Bloggery. The artist's website is here.



Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:



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Friday, May 25, 2018

MoCCA Fest 2018: Draw Stronger by Kriota Willberg

Draw Stronger by Kriota Willberg is a book of practical ergonomics for the cartoonist. Naturally, I picked up a copy at MoCCA Fest and had it personalized by the author. The result can only be called...disarming.

Kriota Willberg
Draw Stronger:  Self-Care for Cartoonists & Visual Artists
Minneapolis:  Uncivilized Books, 2018

Personalized by Kriota Willberg


Note:  This week's blog posts are devoted to the medical (and other) books I acquired at MoCCA Fest 2018. Kriota Willberg is new to Attempted Bloggery, poor thing. Ms. Willberg has a dual interest in cartooning and medicine, a combination that works for her but that I personally would never condone.



Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

MoCCA Fest 2018: R. Sikoryak's The Unquotable Trump

Chameleon cartoonist R. Sikoryak has appropriated the styles of many famous comic strips in his inventive Masterpiece Comics. His new oversized book features a prodigious array of satirical comic book covers, channeling first the Incredible Hulk from Marvel and moving on to a breathtaking variety of other comic book styles. He uses these covers throughout to illustrate the words of the most "unquotable" President in history. You must have already guessed whom that might be.

R. Sikoryak
The Unquotable Trump
Drawn & Quarterly, 2017
Personalized by R. Sikoryak




Note:  This week's posts are devoted to the (comic) books and art I obtained at MoCCA Fest 2018.


Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

R. Sikoryak

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