Sunday, August 14, 2016

Playboy Magazine

The running joke about Playboy Magazine, the ubiquitous men's magazine founded in 1953, is that one purchased a copy to read the articles. While other distractions were included in every issue, Playboy actually featured the prominent writers, thinkers, and artists of the day. Playboy was also known as a place to see the kind of cartoonists not featured in the Sunday papers.

Like many other illustrators of his day, Edward Gorey had a long association with Playboy.  The December 1963 issue features an illustration by Mr. Gorey for A Corking Evening by Lawrence Durrell. This black and white illustration illuminates the joys and perils of too much Christmas cheer. A color illustration for Ukridge Starts A Bank Account by P.G. Woodhouse appeared in the July 1967 issue. Mr. Gorey's final contribution to the publication appears to have been in the November 1988 issue.

Most of Mr. Gorey's illustrations for Playboy were done in color. A surprising number of original pieces of artwork from Playboy have come on the market over the years. Of the ten contributions I know of, five have been sold through dealers or at auction.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Brooklyn Railroad

Published in the July 1962 issue of Friends Magazine, this drawing by Edward Gorey illustrates the article, On Brooklyn Streets And Subway Tracks, It's A Fine Place To Run A Railroad. This is one of my personal favorite pieces of original Gorey artwork in my collection.

This beautifully rendered image shows a train slowly passing through a neighborhood on a summer day. The children are playing with their animal companions on the steps of a walk-up and all are transfixed by the passing train. This is obviously the event of the day; even the large black dog is all attention, while the scrappy striped cat atop the fence is leaning to peer at the train. I find it interesting that the drawing has a warm, nostalgic feel even though the neighborhood it is passing through appears to be in disrepair and the copious amounts of smoke belching from the train would make it a most unwelcome visitor.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Summer Bathers

A lovely frolic at the lakeside, Summer Joy is the fifth print from a series of ten created by Edward Gorey in the early 1990's for the Signals Catalog. This image was available as a framed print in a hand signed edition of 850 prints or a numbered edition of 1750 prints.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


During the summer cycling season, watch out for Daffodil.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy Holiday Weekend!

Happy Independence Day Weekend from Figbash!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Glen Emil Presentation for the Library of Congress

A recorded webcast presentation by Glen Emil at the Library of Congress from February 2016 is now available on line. In the forty minute presentation, Mr. Emil discusses aspects of Edward Gorey's career as well as the collection of material he donated to the LOC in 2014. To listen to the webcast, go HERE.

Mr. Emil's collection was also visited earlier this month for a private viewing organized by ComicsDC. Photographs from the visit are presented on their blog HERE.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dracula In Depth

Little Shop of Horrors, The Journal of Classic British Horror Films devotes issue #36 entirely to the 1979 movie Dracula. The road to the movie begins with a Nantucket revival of the 1924 play in a high school auditorium, a production that would transfer to Broadway and make a star out of Frank Langella in the title role. The Tony Award winning revival also made a star of illustrator Edward Gorey, who designed the sets and costumes, and opened the way for his involvement in Mystery! for PBS. Even though the magazine's focus is the film, this is the most in-depth and complete recounting of how the play was conceived, produced, and produced that has been recorded.

Featuring 100 pages of in-depth, fully illustrated articles and interviews, the magazine tracks the progress from a cocktail party where, "An old drunk stumbled up to me and said, 'I hear you're going to do Dracula. You should get Edward Gorey to design it.'" (John Wulp interview), through the ultimate premier of the British-made film with its star from the Broadway production. As can be expected, there are many plot twists and turns before the stage productions or movie come to fruition.

A must for any fan of the movie or the Gorey-designed play, this magazine can be obtained from Little Shop of Horrors