J-C Forest “Barbarella”, Editions Kesselring

April 2020 I participated in my first online auction. The item I was after (and won!) was the original art used on the cover of Asimov’s Lucky Starr paperbacks from the late 70s. Today, I’m in the middle of another auction, this time for a beautiful portfolio of Barbarella prints signed by Jean-Claude Forest. No. 543 of 777 produced. It’s listed at €60 – €80, but based on how the first 70-or-so lots have gone so far (2 hours in) it will be much more than that. Auction started at 8 AM and at this rate my lot won’t come up until later this afternoon. I’ve set hourly alarms to remind me to check the progress.

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East German movie posters

I’ve been collecting movie posters for almost exactly three years and recently finished acquiring and framing a set of five distinctive East German posters. The poster mania started 1 Nov 2020 (according to my catalog notes) which was of course eight months into the pandemic when we were all finding new interests with our idle hands. It started with me describing the Italian sci-fi movie Wild, Wild Planet (I criminali della galassia, 1966) to Lisa with way more information than anyone would care to have who doesn’t love quirky, 60s, European sci-fi (“ok, so it’s directed by Antonio Margherita and is part of a loose four film cycle centered around the crew of the space station Gamma One…”). In my waxing about the movie I looked up the poster and made the fateful statement of how amazing it would be if I could find an original copy.

Well apparently it’s easy to find. And reasonably priced.

And as soon as Lisa saw the purple boots she didn’t care how boring it is that “Margheriti was otherwise known as a Giallo director and went by the name Anthony Dawson for this film to appeal to American audiences. Not to mention that he’s slyly referenced in Inglourius Basterds.” After I ordered it I was worried I was getting a reprint, but the back of the copy I received looks aged and has a stamp that looks authentic. And anyway, who wouldn’t want this on their wall:

Laser-Ray Girls? Count me in! There’s not one square inch on that poster that isn’t bonkers.
One section of the back of the poster, folded. 67-201 is the NSS number: it was released in 1967 and was the 201st film to be assigned a number. More info that, for some reason?!?, Lisa didn’t care about
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Getting introduced to the Barbarella canon

A month or so ago a picture from one of the Barbarella comic books came across my feed and it was graphic design catnip. There was an unexpected clarity from something I would have expected to be garish at best. I’ve learned that there is a legacy that she has left that is more respectful and appreciative than I would have thought. I mean, how can I be blamed…

Yes, she is in a clear vinyl outfit while lying in a shag-carpeted aquarium.
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The availability of a vintage pulp magazine

Updated 12 Mar 2024

On Mastodon (as I had done on Twitter), I follow various pulp accounts that post old books and magazines (and less frequently, albums) that have covers of some interest, often grouped together in a theme. Vintage computer ads, Harlequin romance, ridiculous robots from 50s sci-fi, pin-ups, magazine illustration from mid-century, etc. Site’s like Pulp Covers and Pulp Artists are also good sources for such wonderful nonsense and from those I found the cover artists for many of the pulp sci-fi books I’ve read. The Mastodon accounts are a good way to break up your feed with something visually interesting, kindof like a pop culture museum exhibit.

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Michael Heizer’s “City” and land art

Back in August I had read about a recently-completed land art work in Nevada created by Michael Heizer called, simply, City (found in the Artnet article After More Than 50 Years, Reclusive Artist Michael Heizer Is Finally Ready to Unveil ‘City,’ His Life’s Work. Here’s What It Looks Like). It is a sprawling, 1-1/2 mile by 1/2 mile area in the desert consisting of several large-scale and widely-spaced concrete abstractions, precisely sculpted mounds, and wide paths. I immediately reacted to images of it with an ineffable and religious awe. I imagine walking through it would be like being transported to a city 10,000 years in the future. The structures and intents would be beyond understanding but still intimate a hidden meaning. That feeling hasn’t gone away.

A section of City, taken from the Artnet article
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