Sunday, February 28, 2021

Joe Petro III's Advance Proof Copy of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Joe Petro III obtained an advance proof copy of Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971) from bookseller Ken Lopez of Hadley, Massachusetts. He had it signed by illustrator Ralph Steadman (and by Thompson) in the kitchen at Owl Farm in 2004. Joe writes "This was the last time Ralph and I saw Hunter alive."

Note:  Original drawings by Ralph Steadman are a thing here at Attempted Bloggery. Your scans are welcome.


Saturday, February 27, 2021

Joe Petro III's Copy of Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson

Joe Petro III describes how he obtained his striking copy of the British hardback edition of Hell's Angels (1967) by Hunter S. Thompson, signed and embossed with the blind stamp of the author and generously embellished by Ralph Steadman (who, of course, worked extensively with Thompson but did not illustrate this book). The Gonzo emblem is by Thomas W. Benton. Joe writes:

The copy below Hunter signed for me in his kitchen while Ralph and I were visiting him at Owl Farm; that's where Ralph also did the drawing of Hunter for me. Hunter signed the book in red marker, stamped it, and then squeezed his embosser in to the page to top it off. I have been friends and a printmaker with Ralph and Hunter for over 20 years. 

Bad Craziness
"On behalf of the good doktor"
Ralph Steadman

Note:  I hope readers will feel free to use this blog to show off their own outstanding books signed by Ralph Steadman, Hunter S. Thompson, or their ilk, not that they have any ilk.



Friday, February 26, 2021

Hell's Angels Signed by Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman

Hunter S. Thompson's first book, Hell's Angels (1967), describes his year with the California motorcycle gang. It was not illustrated by Ralph Steadman. Nevertheless, Steadman and the book's author signed this copy at Owl Farm, Thompson's home, for printmaker and friend Joe Petro III in 2004. The illustrator added a written tribute to his author friend as well as a drawing of Thompson on a scooter.

Ken Lopez, Bookseller

Note:  As always, original illustrations by Ralph Steadman make welcome posts on this blog. Look for another marvelous copy of this book tomorrow.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Doc, Sneezy, and Bashful: Snow White Courvoisier Production Cels

A Courvoisier Galleries cel from Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937) features Doc, Sneezy, and Bashful. It remains "in fine condition" more than eighty years after the film's release, with some separation of the paint noted on Doc's hat. The auction estimate of $3,000+ might be a tad optimistic, but it is a conceivable hammer price on a good day. Bidding on this piece rose to at least $1650 at RR Auction, but the item is not listed as sold, so most likely the reserve was not met. An overoptimistic auction estimate should not excuse an overoptimistic reserve price.

Walt Disney Studios
RR Auctions listing accessed January 23, 2021

Bidding as of February 10, 2021 at 9 a.m.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #115

Let's see if you can find my three entries in the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #115. The drawing is by Evan Lian.

"Now I wish he'd disappear."
"I just can't seem to lose him."
"Don't get excited. The real one has a cane."

These captions got lost in the crowd:

"I never thought he'd turn up."
"Want to know how I found him? I Googled him."
"He's no longer just a face in the crowd."

March 3, 2021 Update:  The Winner


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Copy of The New Yorker's First Issue

The first issue of The New Yorker hit the newsstands 96 years ago this week. It featured Rea Irvin's novel cover illustration of a dandy regarding a butterfly through his monocle. A curiosity to be sure, it has become the magazine's classic image, rerun—or in more recent years, reimagined— annually. The character is today known fondly as Eustace Tilley. As it happens, a prized copy was sold on eBay just this week.

Rea Irvin
The New Yorker, February 21, 1925

The New Yorker
eBay listing ended February 19, 2021

The New Yorker
eBay item description

The New Yorker
eBay bid history
The bidder paid $240 more than the minimum bid to be assured of winning the auction.

Note:  My 2015 survey of The New Yorker's underachieving yet promising first issue may be found here.


Monday, February 22, 2021

My Entry in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #744

It seems it's a dog's life in The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest #744 for February 22, 2021. You'd never think I had two weeks to work on this one. The drawing is by Mick Stevens. 

"Hey, look what the cat did!"

This caption wasn't quite obedient enough:

"My master means well, but he's an idiot."

March 1, 2021 Update:  The Finalists

March 13, 2021 Update:
  I voted for the caption from Norwood. It's funny because it's true.

March 16, 2021 Update:
  The Winner


Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Coffee Mug for Valentine's Day 2021

One of my Valentine's Day gifts this year is a cartoon mug, shown below with one of our cats slinking by behind it. On the side of the coffee mug is emblazoned a 2013 cartoon that I had never seen before from Rick London's website London's Times Cartoons. The idea is by London and the illustration is credited to Tom Kerr. 

I don't pretend to know what this cartoon should have to do with me, but apparently there's a popular conception that the cartoons that appear in a certain magazine are elitist and abstruse, requiring some sort of explication in order for the general public to be able to appreciate them. In the nearly ten years I've been writing this blog, which is often about New Yorker cartoons, it has been a very rare thing indeed for me to feel I had to explain any of them. But then, I don't feel the need to tell bedtime stories either.

Note:  This mug was purchased from The cat is from a shelter.


Saturday, February 20, 2021

License Plate for a Nintendo Gamer?

On second thought, I don't think I really needed to pose this one as a question. This license plate was spotted in an outer borough yesterday.

New York State license plate


Friday, February 19, 2021

A James Thurber Letter to Mary Petty

In the summer of 1951, James Thurber was prompted to write to fellow cartoonist Mary Petty. He had been listening to the radio and heard an interview conducted by Cholly Knickerbocker (Igor Cassini) with British cartoonist Rowland Emett, who praised Petty as his "great favorite." Thurber, of course, couldn't agree more. I don't think this is mere flattery, although doubtless there's some of that. The anecdote also allows Thurber to note that he himself is in Emett's trio of favorite American cartoonists along with Saul Steinberg and Petty. Yet I think Thurber's regard for Petty is genuine—after all, whose wouldn't be?

James Thurber TLS
Alexander Historical Auctions LLC listing accessed January 23, 2021

James Thurber TLS
Alexander Historical Auctions LLC item description

A previous sale nine years ago, outcome unknown:

James Thurber TLS
RR Auctions

Note:  Just the other day on Ink Spill, Michael Maslin wrote about James Thurber and Mary Petty. Coincidence? Read it here.

Uncollected letters from New Yorker luminaries such as James Thurber make for welcome posts here on Attempted Bloggery. Scans welcome.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

My Entries in the Moment Cartoon Caption Contest for January/February 2021

Moment magazine's Cartoon Caption Contest for January/February 2021 rings out the old year and rings in the new. It dates from that recent time when we were optimistic that 2021 would be a much better year than 2020. After the storming of the United States Capitol on January 6 and the subsequent second impeachment and trial of Donald Trump, who can say how much better this year will be? Anyway, I submitted two captions, neither of which were my most inspired efforts. The drawing is by Benjamin Schwartz.

“Skip prison. Take him straight to quarantine.”
“Book ‘im, Danna!”

April 18, 2021 Update:  The Finalists

June 19, 2021 Update:
  The Winner


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #114

Pretend not to notice the Cartoon Collections Caption Contest #114. My three entries are below. The drawing is by Teresa Burns Parkhurst.

"How many of us will it take till one of them notices?"
"This doesn't speak well for our credibility."
"Really? I didn't see any people in the living room."

These captions weren't plausible:

"You'd think one of them would put on Fox News."
"Even I can't take us seriously."

February 25, 2021 Update:
  The Winner


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

William Steig: The Horn Book Magazine Poster

After Maurice Sendak, the second artist asked to create a cover for a year's run of The Horn Book Magazine was William Steig. His cover had its premiere in the November-December 1986 issue. The magazine's name Horn Book always seemed to refer to Randolph Caldecott's hunting horns, but Steig has a new and amusing take on the title. A signed, limited edition poster of the cover was published as well, shown here.

March 5, 2021 Update:  The Horn Book Magazine is named for hornbooks, educational primers consisting of a single page covered by a transparent horn and held in a frame with a handle. Caldecott's hunting horns were a pun on this term, just as Steig's goat is.

Note:  Images of original art and published rarities by William Steig are desired for future blog posts here.


Monday, February 15, 2021

Maurice Sendak: The Horn Book Magazine Poster

Traditionally, The Horn Book Magazine's cover featured an adaptation of an illustration by Randolph Caldecott showing three huntsmen on horseback blowing their—you guessed it!—horns.

Starting with the issue of November-December 1985, the magazine commissioned an annual cover illustration to run for each of six bimonthly issues. The first of these covers was by Maurice Sendak and it featured an image that included Caldecott himself sketching in the park, Caldecott's cat and the fiddle, and, for good measure, a Sendak Wild Thing. A poster of the cover was issued in a signed edition of 300. One of these posters was recently listed on AbeBooks.

Maurice Sendak
AbeBooks listing accessed February 14, 2021

The original art was offered last year through Christie's Private Sale:

Maurice Sendak
Christie's Private Sale

Note:  Christie's Private Sales don't retain price information, at least not any that I can locate. I'd like to hear from anyone who knows the asking price for this illustration and, if possible, whether it was sold.

Scans of original art by Maurice Sendak are eagerly sought for future blog posts.