Monday 15 December 2014

Taschen's The Complete Little Nemo: The Missing Strip

Under our Christmas Tree this year, if it fits (it's bloody huge!) will be a copy of this. It was published over a year late, but on all accounts is well worth the wait. If you're unfamiliar with Winsor McCay's masterwork, then hie thee to Google and have a look. Suffice to say it was doing things with the comics genre over a hundred years ago which arguably have still not been bettered.

My copy has yet to be opened, but I see from reviews online that it is apparently annoyingly incomplete to the tune of one strip. Back on January 7, 1906 the US newspapers and European ones for seem reason carried different strips, and the Taschen book reportedly only includes one of them (which one, I don't know, yet).

So, as a public service, here are both strips from that day, as reproduced in the Sunday Press editions (which were also incomplete, but at least did not purport to be).

[UPDATE: Commenter Leonidas II clarifies the history of these strips: "Both pages where published in the USA. Some papers published one, some published the other. Bill Blackbeard tells all the story in volume VI of the Fantagraphics edition." Thanks Leonidas. The Fantagraphics editions (published by Titan Books in the UK) have always been very pricey on the secondary market, so I've only ever owned a volume 3. Perhaps they will become more affordable now the Taschen edition has come out.]

Sunday 7 December 2014

The Forgotten Poetry of William Kean Seymour, With A Binding By Vernon Hill

The Collected Poems of William Kean Seymour arrived on the desk at the Little Shop this week, and sent me scuttling to google to find out more...

It's a first edition from 1946, and features a charming binding and title page design from another name I didn't recognise: Vernon Hill.

Alas, Wikipedia has very little to say about William Kean Seymour (other than revealing his fairly prodigious output), though there's an informative entry on Vernon Hill here.

Seymour's poetry is mostly forgotten today (he's probably best remembered for editing the 1920s anthology A Miscellany of Poetry). You might have heard of his son Gerald though, who is still writing acclaimed thrillers. And even if you've never heard of Gerald Seymour, you've probably heard the haunting feem toon that Haunting-Feem-Toons-R-Us funsters Clannad did for the TV adaptation of one his best known books, Harry's Game.

But back to Seymour senior. The 200 poems collected in the book are, as Seymour says in his Author's Note, "a winnowing of much mainly lyrical verse written and published in the last thirty years." The collection also includes "thirty poems hitherto not published in book form. More would have been included, but enemy action decreed otherwise."

A lot of the poems deal with nature in its many forms; Birds in Rain, Dawn, The Poppy to name but three, but here's a different kind of piece, which caught my eye as I flicked through:


When a dream haunts my path,
Strays in lingering innocence,
Shows the lovely forms it hath,
Tells me never why nor whence,

I with fevered fingers grope,
Sick for permanence, and find
Chaos in the heart of hope
And torment in the mind.

... and here's an animated reading of one of his nature poems, The Snail.

William Kean Seymour then. Ripe for rediscovery, I'd say.