Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Truly spooky stories

The mostly free online magazine Byliner has rounded up myriad tales of ghosts and ghouls from its impressive archive, including fiction and nonfiction. (In their Spotlights section, they also have selections by Nobel Prize and National Book Award winners.)
And to complement the fabulous deaths-head hawkmoth above, here are a few more lighthearted Halloween images from vintage postcards.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Frankenstein's incarnations

As a bookend to our overview of Dracula portrayals, we'll delve today into depictions of Mary's Shelley's monster, often erroneously dubbed Frankenstein. At left is how he was shown in the original novel, and below is a copy of the first edition of Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus, dedicated to Lord Byron by the author (recently discovered and put up for auction). Shelley was only 19 when she wrote this enduring and influential work of fiction, aspects of which came to her in a dream.
The sellers are "inviting" offers starting at $350,000.
Page from Mary Shelly's original draft,1816–17; the opening of Chapter V. Oxford, Bodleian Libraries
All hell broke loose when pop culture got a hold of her creation. Below, original poster of the film starring Boris Karloff, a French poster of the famous James Whale sequel, the cover of a vintage children's book depicting the "monster," and a Classics Comics cover.

Her hairdo makes me swoon!

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Please God, let no one give out Mary Janes"

That was my prayer as a child. Who eats those things? They could yank a tooth out faster than you can say "dental insurance."  (note to self: ask dentist sister-in-law to save teeth for attaching to chiffon dress and glitter crown for demented Tooth Fairy outfit).
If you're stumped for a costume, Abe Books has some good literary suggestions, including Thing 1 and Thing 2 from The Cat in the Hat ("Matching red jumpsuits [or long johns?], blue wigs, and white face paint.") Their comments section has some wicked supplementary material.
What were your favorite candies/costumes as a kid?

By Kim Murton, here's the runner-up from the "Blown Covers" website's Halloween illustration contest. Quite dramatic!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pre-Halloween goodies

TV Guide Canada #230
TV Guide Canada #230 (Photo credit: trainman74)
My countdown to All-Hallows Eve begins with two highlights from one of the funniest shows ever to hit the airwaves: Canada's SCTV. Even when it was on re-runs at 1 a.m., I rarely missed it. The first is Joe Flaherty's turn as the host of "Monster Chiller Horror Theater." Like the fantastic Catherine O'Hara, who stars in the Ingmar Bergman parody, he just tickles my funny bone no end!

Rick Moranis and John Candy were two more comic geniuses who contributed to the hilarity at SCTV.  You can sample their later work in Little Shop of Horrors. "Scary!"
If you've got more time for video viewing, Flavorwire has some swell Halloween cartoons, starting with Disney's Skeleton Dance and Lonesome Ghosts, featuring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. (Take that back: Disney has already blocked #2. They are so not fun.)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Intriguing German fairy tale illustrations

These illustrated initials come from a 1919 edition of Deutsche Märchen seit Grimm (German Fairytales since Grimm). It's hard for me to make out what the letters are, but the illustrations are cool! An online copy of the book can be found at the Internet Archive, courtesy of the University of Connecticut Libraries. (Hallelujah for digitization!) I love the kid on the rooster and the flying Cupid, and I think I found a "J" on the windmill. How about you?
Looking for alphabet books? Click here for ones featuring Curious George and Fairies in the Garden. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A vintage satirical rhyming alphabet

Because you Daily Glean readers are demonstrably off the charts in the visual (not to mention traditional) literacy scales, I know you'll enjoy this piquant discovery. Published in 1899, Oliver Herford's clever and polyglot concatenation of historical personages is still LOL-worthy, even if we have to strain our brain cells a bit to contextualize all of them! As one baldfaced purpose of this blog is to show the breadth of our wares, I have whipped up a set of links at the end to some of the people depicted in the Alphabet, which can be seen in its entirety here.
One of the book's endpapers
D is for Diogenes, Darwin, and Dante, 
Who delight in the dance of a Darling Bacchante.
H is for Handel, who pours out his soul, 
Through the bagpipes to Howells and Homer, who roll, 
on the floor in an ecstasy past all control.
L is LaFontaine, who finds he's unable, To interest Luther and Liszt in his fable,
While Loie continues to dance on the table.
M is MacDuff, who's prevailed upon Milton, 
And Montaigne and Manon to each try a kilt on.
N is Napoleon, shrouded in gloom, With Nero, Narcissus, and Nordau, to whom
He's explaining the manual of arms with a broom.
O is for Oliver casting aspersion, On Omar that awfully dissolute Persian
Though secretly longing to join the diversion.
T is for Talleyrand toasting Miss Truth, 
By the side of her well with a glass of vermouth
And presenting Mark Twain as a friend of his youth.
Y is for Young, the great Mormon saint, 
Who thinks little Yum Yum and Yvette so quaint,
He has to be instantly held in restraint.
ZolaWagnerTwainRembrandtMontaigneMartin LutherKeatsKiplingHandelDarwin

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Yorker cover aspirants

You all gave such a thumbs up to yesterday's samples from the "Blown Cover" website that I thought I'd showcase some more standouts. From the "cats and dogs" contest come Shelly Davies' orange-and-turquoise creation and Daniel Kondo's clever riff on "the cat that ate the mouse." These are followed by Kim Murton's entry for "fashion week"; Tim Foley's retro take on gay marriage and his wonderful Mother's Day concept; another book-related sketch by Ryan Metlen; and a haunting meditation on the anniversary of Japan's tsunami by Ana Juan.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"New Yorker" cover artist workshop

Jean Tuttle's winning entry for "Fall"
One of my new favorite websites is hosted by The New Yorker's art director, Françoise Mouly, and her daughter, Nadja Spiegelman. Called "Blown Covers," it's a monthly online contest in which gifted artists submit illustrations on a chosen topic and Mouly showcases the best, along with critiques and commentary. Fascinating. (Mouly is also the editor of 2012's anthology of Best American Comics.)
Below are some of my favorites on the theme of the book.
This one says it all!