Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ralph Steadman's "Teddy! Where Are You?" (a children's book, signed with chocolate sauce)

At least I think it's chocolate sauce. Let's take a look:

Ralph Steadman, best known for his illustrations to Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Curse of Lono, has a remarkably long bibliography, ranging from books on the Good Doctor himself to strange little children's stories that he both wrote and illustrated. (Many of these have been released in handsome special editions: I remember a version of Fahrenheit 451 that Steadman illustrated that was bound in smokey paper made from recycled paper ashes that looked completely gorgeous.)

Teddy! Where Are You?, published in 1994 by Andersen Press, is one of a handful of twisted little children's books that Steadman wrote in the late 80s/early 90s. It's as inappropriate as you'd imagine from Steadman's demented pen, and the strangest part is that the book means so well. Illustrated by someone else, and the book would be relatively sweet, but it turns into a wonderfully bizarre little piece left entirely in Steadman's hands.

This copy is personalized with a drawing of a beloved stuffed cat or bear, drawn in messy, sticky splatter. Looking at the way the drawing soaks in and stains the page in some areas and feels raised and gummy in others, I suspect it to be some kind of unconventional medium, something like chocolate sauce or an ink-and-sauce mix.

Currently reading:
Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

Currently listening to:
Jordan de la Sierra, "Gymnosphere: Song of the Rose"

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