Friday, 30 November 2012

"The Devil In Texas" by Wolf Mankowitz, illustrated by Ralph Steadman - Part 2 (Published by Robert Royce Ltd, London 1984)

The inimitable and striking Steadman illustrations enhancing the story. Wolf Mankowitz (1924-1998) is better known for his screenplays for the British film industry. Titles include "A Kid For Two Farthings(1955), The Millionairess(1960), Expresso Bongo(1958), Casino Royale(1967) and many others.  By the way, he was also responsible for bringing together the two original producers of the James Bond films, Cubby Broccoli and Harry Saltzman in 1962. He was then asked to work on the writing team for the first Bond film, Doctor No. Somewhere along the way he became convinced that the film would be a disaster and withdrew from the project, asking for his name to be removed from the credits. Hindsight is a great thing as they say... Here's the Independent obituary:

Thursday, 29 November 2012

"The Devil In Texas" by Wolf Mankowitz, Illustrated by Ralph Steadman (Published by Robert Royce Ltd, London 1984)

The death of Larry Hagman a few days ago reminded me of this book for some reason... I've had it for twenty odd years now but never got around to reading it despite the exciting illustrations...

Sunday, 25 November 2012

"Down With Skool" by Geoffrey Wilans and Ronald Searle, Part 3, (Published by Max Parrish, London 1953)

To this day, it's hard to find any illustrator that hasn't been influenced by Searle's extra-ordinary work. This book is full of these characters (120 drawings in all!), each one so unique and real - you can't help thinking that you've met people like them or seen some in a movie. His deceptively loose and simple line is so descriptive of the character's appearance and soul yet distorting and exaggerating their shape for comical effect.
There's a very good review of this book to be found on Matt Jones' Ronald Searle tribute blog together with many more illustrations.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

"Down With Skool" By Goeffrey Willans and Ronald Searle (published by Max Parrish, London 1953)

Picked this Ronald Searle 1953 classic a couple of weeks ago from a bookshop in Edinburgh (Till's brilliant second-hand bookshop is full of treasures like this, comics, old film posters and much more... here's their website if anybody wants to check them out). 
The main character, Nigel Molesworth, had already been created by Geoffrey Willans for Punch magazine before Searle was approached to produce the characters for the story. Following its huge success (which, incidentally, surpassed the sales of "The Terror Of St. Trinian's"(1952) that Searle is more famous for) there were two more books published in the same series before the author's death in 1958. More details on wikipedia here:

Monday, 12 November 2012

"It Happened In Melgrove Square" by John Hunter, Cover by Eric Parker (Amalgamated Press, London 1951)

Brilliant suspense and craftsmanship by illustrator Eric Parker - I'd love to see any of the original paintings for a closer look at the brushwork and colours. These books were being published every two weeks so there wasn't much time for the artist to design each issue - he may even have been in charge for the titles as well!