Other Sides

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Cover designer unknown.

What becomes clear in the course of Kubin’s long career is how literary a temperament he was, not only because of implicit narratives in much of his work, illustrative and otherwise. Some of his most arresting images in pen and ink seem to arise from some middle ground between writing and drawing, not calligraphy, exactly, but rather as though typeface had sprouted roots and tendrils and spread like invasive groundcover over the whole expanse.

Christopher Benfey, The Shadow World of Alfred Kubin

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All art by Alfred Kubin unless otherwise noted.

All the illustrations from the first edition.

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Cover art by Roman Cieslewicz.

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Weekend links 525

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Polish poster by Franciszek Starowieyski, 1970.

• Tony Richardson’s Mademoiselle (1966) is one of those cult films that’s more written about than seen, despite having Jeanne Moreau in the lead role as a sociopathic schoolteacher, together with a screenplay by Marguerite Duras and Jean Genet, plus uncredited script-doctoring by David Rudkin. John Waters listed the film as a “guilty pleasure” in Crackpot but it’s been unavailable on disc for over a decade. The BFI will be releasing a restored print on blu-ray in September.

“While the hurdy-gurdy’s capacity to fill space with its unrelenting multi-tonal dirge is for some the absolute sonic dream, for others it is the stuff of nightmares.” Jennifer Lucy Allan on the pleasures and pains of a medieval musical instrument.

• “I truly believed”: Vicki Pollack of the San Francisco Diggers talking to Jay Babcock for the fifth installment of Jay’s verbal history of the hippie anarchists.

• “If you want to call yourself a composer, you follow every step of the instrumentation.” Ennio Morricone talking to Guido Bonsaver in 2006.

Dutchsteammachine converts jerky 12fps film from the NASA archive to 24fps. Here’s the Apollo 14 lunar mission: landing, EVA and liftoff.

• New music: Suddenly the World Had Dropped Away by David Toop; Skeleton and Unclean Spirit by John Carpenter; An Ascent by Scanner.

Peter Hujar’s illicit photographs of New York’s cruising utopia. Not to be confused with Alvin Batrop‘s photos of gay New York.

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R Podcast 651 by Dave Harrington, and Mr.K’s Side 1, Track 1’s #1 by radioShirley & Mr.K.

Simon Reynolds on the many electronic surprises to be found in the Smithsonian Folkways music archive.

The Gone Away by Belbury Poly will be the next release on the Ghost Box label.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Ed Emshwiller Day.

Shirley Collins’ favourite music.

Mademoiselle Mabry (1969) by Miles Davis | Hurdy Gurdy Man (1970) by Eartha Kitt | Danger Cruising (1979) by Pyrolator

The Fantastic Fiction of Hannes Bok

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A belated note of thanks to Robert T. Garcia who sent me a PDF of this book a few weeks ago. The Fantastic Fiction of Hannes Bok is a hardcover collection of three fantasy novels by artist Hannes Bok, all of which have been out of print for decades (75 years in the case of Starstone World). Bok has a lasting reputation as an illustrator of fantasy, science fiction and horror during the pulp era but he also wrote fiction and poetry for the pulps, in addition to essays for Mystic Magazine that included a short-lived astrology column. Two of Bok’s novels were published posthumously by Lin Carter in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, the existence of which intrigued me for many years, not least because the Ballantine paperbacks weren’t easy to find in UK bookshops. Bok’s fantasy isn’t quite to my taste (I prefer things to be generally darker and more grotesque) but I’m pleased to see these stories back in the world.

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Contents:
The Fantastic Fiction of Hannes Bok‘s cover art is by Bok (published previously in Hannes Bok: A Life in Illustration in a poor image, scanned here for the first time from the original).
• Original Introduction by Charles de Lint!
• Ballantine Adult Fantasy editor Lin Carter’s introductions to The Sorcerer’s Ship and Beyond the Golden Stair, plus an all-new afterword detailing the publishing history of The Sorcerer’s Ship by Bok collector and college professor William Lorenzo. Publisher, Bob Garcia provided an introduction to Starstone World.
• A number of unpublished photos of Bok.
• Bok’s pulp art for The Sorcerer’s Ship is included, plus two paintings specified by the artist as illustrating that novel: a color reprise of an interior illustration and a color portrait of the creature Yanuk done for a fan.
• Since the other two novels did not have artwork by the artist, Jim Pitts provides us a wonderful original frontispiece for each.
• Bok sketches from The Hannes Bok Sketchbook Folio, and A Hannes Bok Sketchbook plus unpublished sketches.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Ballantine Adult Fantasy covers

Zemania

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Invention for Destruction (1958).

In addition to Jean Kerchbron’s Golem my weekend viewing involved a fresh immersion in the semi-animated fantasies of Karel Zeman, one of which, Invention for Destruction, I’d not seen for many years. It hadn’t occurred to me before how closely Zeman’s technique on these films matches some of my own recent illustration when it applies original drawn elements to settings constructed from old engravings. For Zeman, combining actors with animated models and pictorial backgrounds was an economical way of bringing to life the worlds of Jules Verne, Rudolf Erich Raspe and others while retaining the feel of the original book illustrations. These films are also closer to the Max Ernst school of engraved collage than they may at first seem. The mansion at the beginning of Invention for Destruction could easily have been an illustration of a single building but Zeman offers a hybrid construction with unrealistically conflicting perspectives; later on we see a desert cavalry of camels on roller skates. It’s no surprise that Jan Svankmajer admires Zeman’s films. And having recently watched all the Svankmajers it’s good to know there are several Zeman features still to see.

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Weekend links 524

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Letter M from Abeceda (1942) by Jindrich Heisler.

• At the BFI: Matthew Thrift chooses 10 essential Ray Harryhausen films. “This is, I can assure the reader, the one and only time that I have eaten the actors. Hitchcock would have approved,” says Harryhausen about eating the crabs whose shells were used for Mysterious Island. Meanwhile, Alfred Hitchcock himself explains the attraction and challenges of directing thrillers.

“Although largely confined to the page, Haeusser’s violent fantasies were even less restrained, his writings littered with deranged, bloodthirsty, scatological scenarios.” Strange Flowers on Ludwig Christian Haeusser and the “Inflation Saints” of Weimar Germany.

• Death, Pestilence, Emptiness: Putting covers on Albert Camus’s The Plague; Dylan Mulvaney on the different design approaches to a classic novel.

• A trailer (more of a teaser) for Last and First Men, a film adaptation of Olaf Stapledon’s novel by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Spotlight on…James Purdy: The Complete Short Stories of James Purdy.

Al Jaffee at 99: Gary Groth and Jaffee talk comics and humour.

Steven Heller on Command Records’ design distinction.

Czech Surrealism at Flickr.

Sisters with Transistors.

Solitude by Hakobune.

Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares (1974) by Tangerine Dream | Mysterious Traveller (Dust Devils Mix) (1994) by System 7 | The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra (2018) by Anna von Hausswolff