"Around the year 1910, a patient at State Lunatic Asylum No. 3 in Nevada, Missouri, who referred to himself as The Electric Pencil, executed 280 drawings in ink, pencil, crayon and colored pencil. These beautiful drawings of animals, people and buildings were executed on both sides of 140 ledger pages, each bearing the name of the hospital in official type across the top, thus dramatizing the interface of the institutional and the creative. The Electric Pencil's drawings were sewn into a handmade album of fabric and leather, which shortly afterwards was lost--for a century."
In its heyday, THE POLICE GAZETTE was a goldmine of weird news. It was recently revived by Steven Westlake, son of the famous crime novelist Donald Westlake, and he has now compiled a book of the best Hitler articles from the magazine. Looks like a winner!
Here is an old British toy that had a lot of good intentions, but also some unanticipated drawbacks.
Buildings were constructed on allegedly waterproof waxed card bases. The bricks etc. were stuck together with a mortar made from a mixture of flour and chalk powder. It required a great amount of skill to erect buildings accurately, very time-consuming and beyond the patience of most of the children it was aimed at (8 to 14 years). Especially so in cold houses (as most British homes then were) it would take several days for the building to 'set'. Reusing the components involved a process of dunking the entire model in a large bowl of warm water. After the model fell apart the bricks and plaster pieces required lengthy rinsing to remove all organic traces to prevent mould growing on them.
I wonder how well they sold in the USA, as touted in the ad below, from Boys Life for September 1948.
I have not seen a copy yet, but I am betting this book will be a winner, based on the description.
For every superhero hitting the big time with a blockbuster movie, there are countless failures, also-rans, and D-listers. The League of Regrettable Superheroes affectionately presents one hundred of the strangest superheroes ever to see print—from Atoman to Zippo—complete with backstories, vintage art, and colorful commentary.
Drawing on the entire history of the medium, the book celebrates characters that haven’t seen the light of day in decades, like Natureboy, Dr. Hormone, Thunder Bunny, and more. It’s a must-read for comics fans of all ages!
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Chuck is the purveyor of News of the Weird, the syndicated column which for decades has set the gold-standard for reporting on oddities and the bizarre.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.