Friday, April 16, 2010

MHP on CSI at S&H Museum: April 17

If you're in shouting distance of the Museum of Science & History in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday afternoon (2 p.m. April 17), drop by and catch Mike Price's open-to-all program on the "Prehistory of CSI," a tie-in with the CSI: The Experience interactive exhibition at the Museum. Mike will be covering a concise history of forensic detection in popular fiction from E.A. Poe and Conan Doyle in the 19th century through such last-century benchmarks as Chet Gould's Dick Tracy and Seabury Quinn's Jules de Grandin tales. Click for more:

Mike has, meanwhile, just finished final edits on his chapter for The Complete Chester Gould's Dick Tracy, Vol. No. 10 -- forthcoming from IDW Publishing of San Diego.

John Wooley Weighs In...

Just now received John Wooley's chapter on The Man from Planet X as a key element of Forgotten Horrors 5. A significant piece, indeed, in view of the book's concentration upon otherworldly science fiction as an emerging, ultimately dominant, element of the indie-horror genre of the postwar 1950s.

Genuine pride-of-place, here, in that the modest but aggressively positioned film beat both The Thing and The Day the Earth Stood Still into play as a cautionary space-intruder yarn. About which, more presently.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Iger Comics Sweatshop Scenes

Back to woik on Forgotten Horrors 5, following this digression (below) into another stage of the pre-Code comic-book parody project. Essentially, a Theatre of the Absurd takeoff on the Farrell companies' Fantastic Fears magazine of the 1950s.

But enough such foolishness. Good productive story conference today with co-author John Wooley on Forgotten Horrors 5, which is falling nicely into shape despite real and imaginary distractions on this end of the assembly line. The book should be completed (manuscript and art selections, that is) by summer's end for shipment to Baltimore's Midnight Marquee Press.

Meanwhile: Fantastic Frogs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

And So Where Was All This Art when the Books Needed It...?

No telling where, that’s where… When George Turner and I pooled our respective archival resources in 1975 to begin building the first Forgotten Horrors book, we found ourselves in possession of plenty of pertinent movie stills and advertising images — materials we hadn’t considered since we’d first stashed ’em away, years before.

Even so, we also turned up subject matter for which no illustrations existed in either collection. We found a photo dealer in Oklahoma (long since defunct) who could provide much pertinent material at a reasonable rate that nonetheless gobbled up our $250 advance from England’s Tantivy Press. This source had a huge collection of movie-still negatives: Our 5- by 7-inch prints were darkroom-fresh. Elsewhere, the 16mm inventory of Cable Films of Kansas City, Mo., yielded not only many rare prints for the viewing but also a wealth of frame enlargements. (Cable Films’ Herb Miller provided a particular rarity in a screening copy of Dwain Esper’s 1934 Maniac.)

Other illustrations came to hand as if by chance: A complete set of lobby cards from Sherman Krellberg’s The Lost City (1935) turned up, for example, at a movie-buff convention in midsummer 1977 at Dallas — a chump-change transaction, and all the better for it. This was our last major art acquisition for the book before we shipped the manuscript to the publisher in October of 1977. A few stragglers fell into place at random.

And of course Tantivy Press and A.S. Barnes & Co. dawdled about at bringing Forgotten Horrors into print. The Tantivy edition surfaced in England before the Barnes edition appeared in America. George Turner and I learned of its arrival not from the publisher — which was struggling with internal conflicts, we learned eventually — but from a hometown librarian who called our newspaper office in Amarillo, Texas, to inquire whether we were the authors of this new book that had just come in: “It’s got your bylines on it, anyhow,” said Librarian Olive Melin. Whereupon George and I telephoned Barnes & Co. to inquire, in turn, whether we might have something due besides a blank stare.

But I digress. So what else is new? Anyhow, the starting point here was a discussion of the wealth of Forgotten Horrors art that has turned up in very recent years. Here are a few such pieces from the earlier years of the survey, each keyed to the title of its pertinent chapter in Forgotten Horrors: The Definitive Edition (Midnight Marquee Press; 1999). The present selections serve to expand upon coverage of Mascot Pictures’ King of the Wild (1931).

More will follow. In due course, of course.