Okay, it’s taken me a couple of weeks to complete my three part Comic Con wrap up, but we’re going to end on a high note (well, at least for me), with a quick accounting of the wondrous things I was able to purchase and add to my collection of stuff-soon-to-be-featured-in-future-fine-art-photos. This year, though, perhaps anticipating the inability of our elected leaders to agree how our debt should be managed like big boys and girls, I really didn’t buy very much in the exhibition hall.
In any case, let’s start with Really Cool Books.
Over the years I’ve found all kinds of amazing pulps—books, magazines, and periodicals—from the 1920’s through the 60’s. This year, though, very few dealers brought pulps to the show, and I had to hunt and dig to find these lurid gems lurking in the shadows of only a handful of booths. What I found, though, was Pulp Fiction Gold!
The best of the lot is surely Burn Witch Burn, a novel originally written in 1932 by A. Merritt, which was later the basis for the classic Tod Browning horror film, The Devil-Doll (starring Lionel Barrymore… in drag!). Astute readers will also recognize A. Merritt as the author of Seven Footprints to Satan, the pulp paperback that appears in my 2010 photo and stop-motion video, Unbeknownst to her Creator, Eve longed to become a cheerleader.
I like to occasionally work vintage paperbacks into my photos as background context for the scenes I build in the foreground. Close examination of past photos reveal such classic noir titles as Blood On Her Shoe, Illicit Wife, and Eastern Shame Girl. This new batch, I believe, will feel right at home.
It’s becoming much more difficult at Comic Con to find the types of vintage or unusual toys and figures I like to use for my photos, so I did a lot of looking but not much buying. I’m not really interested in using figures with recent movie or series tie-ins, and prefer to use figures that either invoke a connection to the past (e.g. the Universal monster figures I found in 2009) or are obscurely ambiguous in the characters they represent (e.g. “a football player,” “a circus performer,” “a glamor girl”). In any case, let’s see what I did manage to get….
Let’s admit it; all the best toys come from Japan. There’s almost no end to what our friends to the east (well, west for me since I’m on the west coast) will manufacture in tin or plastic and hide away in mystery boxes. Who knows what you’ll find inside, but the glorious box art promises fascination beyond the limits of the imagination!
A couple of years ago I bought two boxes of “mystery women’s apparel” only to find, later in the day, a vendor selling boxes of “mystery body parts.” Drat!! My budget already exceeded, I bought one box, hoping to get the human torso seen above—or at least a big, plump, human heart. Ah, but the fortunes of Japanese mystery box luck was not on my side and I got the human eye. Sure, it was better than the cutaway chunk of epidermis (low organ on the body-part totem pole), but disappointing given the pleasant surprise I’d anticipated.
This year, on my last day at the show, I found a vendor still selling mystery body parts (along with mystery desserts, mystery flower arrangements, and mystery guitars), so I splurged on two packages, and couldn’t wait to get them home to break open the seal and see what laid waiting inside.
Mystery Box One
And what did I find inside mystery box one?
Oh, how disappointing after a two year wait. Well, at least I now have two, and I suppose I can do something interesting with a pair of socketless eyeballs. Actually, I shouldn’t be so hard on the eye. After all, it does have a hinge allowing it to be opened and explored, and the insides come apart so children in Japan can explore the complete anatomy of what makes them see.
But, come on! Another eye?!?!
Mystery box number two had better deliver!
Mystery Box Two – last chance to hit the internal organ lottery…
Inside mystery box number two I was very excited to find the rare, highly coveted, Human Torso figure depicted on the front of every Body Part Mystery Box!! The “cover body,” if you will…. Okay, so I already have a somewhat larger 3D model of a guts-filled human torso that you’ve probably seen in a couple of my past photos. This one is a smaller scale I’ll be able to work into even more new pieces. Speaking of which, I’m pretty sure all the internal organs are themselves “pieces” I can use individually. I’ll know better once I rip off this guy’s rib cage. Stay tuned for the dissection.
The last thing-I-bought-at-Comic-Con (told you I didn’t buy much) is also from Japan: a set of roly-poly wobbling figures from the 1950’s animated series Astro Boy.
Two Astro Boys, one Astro Girl, and various friends and scientists. They (especially the girl, who here looks kind of pregnant… naughty Astro Boy!) will definitely make appearances in future photos.
And that’s it for Comic Con 2011. I hope you enjoyed my three part reports on Famous People, Weird Stuff, and Stuff I Bought. Hang around for another 12 months and I’ll do the same next year. Or, better yet, I’ll be seeing you at the Con in 2012!