Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hilary Mantel limited editions, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies


Here are two recent additions to my library: 4th Estate's limited editions of Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Both titles are the product of some relentless internet searching, as it's grown quite difficult to find these two at reasonable prices. While these aren't the most collectible states of both these titles, they'll make a striking collection once Mantel concludes her Cromwell-era series. I'm confident that 4th Estate will continue these limited editions in the same format for the rest of Mantel's series, and a full set will be quite a collectible item.

If I remember correctly, the cloth-bound limited edition of Wolf Hall came out after the novel won the 2009 Booker. Reportedly printed in a run of 2,000 copies, each book is signed on the title page. These originally appeared in stores with a list price of 35 GBP. So, not as rare as the first edition first printing that I had and sold (it was a lined copy, too!) but one that's rising substantially in price. Abebooks currently has its cheapest copy at 250 GBP. But, go on eBay, right now: there are a handful of sellers who are curiously selling copies at around 50-60 GBP ($100).

Bring Up The Bodies is approaching a similar rarity level: the clothbound edition was released with the first printing of the book, so a lot of copies have been snatched up already. There ARE still copies out there at the 35 GBP list, though: ignore the $100+ listings on eBay and head over to www.foyles.co.uk while their stock lasts.

Currently reading:
Umbrella by Will Self
The Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King
The Heart of Thomas by Moto Hagio

Currently listening to:
The State of the Union

Sunday, February 3, 2013

B.u.L.B. Comix: a Swiss publisher of limited edition mini-comics

B.u.L.B. Comix is a Swiss publisher who prints limited edition boxed sets of mini-comics by an impressive range of international artists. As of this post, B.u.L.B has printed 25 different sets in their '2W' series, each lettered A-Y and in editions of around 500 pieces each. Using my rudimentary French, I stumbled through their site and picked up two sets, one with a mini-comic by Chris Ware and another with one by Charles Burns. These were around 15 CHF each (about $16) and are really lovely little pieces. I'd say they're roughly 3 x 2 x 1.5 inches.

Set M includes comics by Chris Ware, Max, Nicolas Robel, Philippe Petit-Roulet and John Porcellino. Set Y feature Charles Burns, Xavier Robel, Aisha Franz, Mat Brinkman, and an artist/group called It's Raining Elephants. It's nice to get exposed to some international comic artists through my interest in Ware/Burns collectibles. If the price of a widely distributed Acme Novelty Library can spike on the secondary market, who knows what's in store for these little things.

Here's a peek at Chris Ware's mini:

And Charles Burns's fascinating "Cut Up: Random Fragments 1977-1979":

I think B.u.L.B makes a great product and would love to see the publisher get better distribution in the U.S. I was recently stunned to find them at Bergen Street Comics (my local Brooklyn shop), and atke it as a good sign that things might be looking up for B.u.L.B. Every so often I check in to see what's new with them--they're certainly worth checking out, and if they keep pulling in big names like Ware, it's only a matter of time before collectors swarm their stock.

Currently reading:
The Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King
The Invisibles by Grant Morrison
...and about to start Umbrella by Will Self

Currently listening to:
Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin's "Instrumental Tourist"