Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hunter S. Thompson, "Mistah Leary He Dead" lettered edition chapbook from X-Ray Book Company

I finally took the plunge and picked up this ultra-rare Hunter S. Thompson chapbook Mistah Leary He Dead. As I've mentioned elsewhere on The Oxen of the Sun, Thompson's cult following was what initially opened up the world of book collecting to me. Like a lot of people, I got into Thompson in high school and I remember the moment I learned that the used HST books I had been voraciously reading were first editions and potentially worth some good money. This started me checking number lines for first printings and I've been doing so ever since.

I've long considered there to be a "trinity" of HST collectibles: the first issue of Screwjack, the eulogy for Timothy Leary Mistah Leary He Dead, and the ultra-rare Fire in the Nuts that was made with Ralph Steadman and Joe Petro. Years ago, I found Screwjack and featured it here. Now I have Thompson's Heart of Darkness-referencing Timothy Leary eulogy and its absolutely incredible. 

This was handmade by the X-Ray Book Co. from San Francisco and printed in New Orleans at the School of GlassWorks and Printmaking Studio. There are only 300 numbered copies and 26 lettered ones -- the lettered copies were intended to be signed by the Good Doctor but they ultimately were not. The eulogy is only two beautifully written pages with thin white sheets bound in before and after.

And finally, a surprise inside the back cover:

Tipped into the back flap is an un-dipped sheet of blotter acid, with a grid of Leary's grinning face over the sheet of tabs.

This is one of the lettered copies ('M') and as a bonus, the seller sent on the promotional flyer from X-Ray with the book's initial specs. Such a great find and I'm thrilled to finally call it my own.

Currently reading:
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami

Currently listening to:
Slowdive, "Slowdive" (2017)

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