Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Super World of Poetry

The following gallery consists of the only remaining pages of a peculiar coloring book I owned as a child. Entitled The Super World of Poetry, it was published in 1970 by Japco, a British publisher of whom I can dig up very little on the internet, other than their having also produced a brief line of “magic paint” books that featured updated versions of fairy tales, drawn in a positively mod fashion.
The Super World of Poetry was given to my brother and I as a gift from our great aunt and her husband, Larry. I clearly recall us both having the same fat edition, probably over a hundred pages thick. We received these the summer before moving to America and I’m quite sure only mine made the journey across the Atlantic. It was a well-loved book, treasured along with the giant-sized Star Trek coloring book I’d received that same summer. The pages shown here, lovingly colored and otherwise doctored by yours truly, only exist due to my having removed them from the book in 1981, to utilize in a show-and-tell demonstration for a class in art school. I cannot quite remember the point of the demonstration, but I think it had something to do with the “potential” of the comics form – a lecture that went out to mostly deaf ears in Pittsburgh back in the early 80s.
I can only now feverishly imagine the rest of this strange attempt at imbibing classical (read: stodgy) poetry with DC super heroes, especially such odd choices as Wildcat, and The Challangers(sic) of The Unknown – who took a truly bizarre ride through Leigh Hunt’s Jenny Kiss’d Me.
The section I salvaged, Green Lantern doing William Blake, is weird enough, especially in its queer shift in tone in the latter half, the car crash pages as intoxicatingly “off” to me now as they must have been back in those blurry days of adolescence. The art, as usual for such quickly knocked-off productions, is a clear amalgamation of the work of Silver Age artists like Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane and Sid Greene, all who worked on Green Lantern at one point or the other.
Having searched fruitlessly for any evidence of this unusual publication (I vaguely recall a cover over-flowing with juxtaposed heroes, framed by vine of roses) I now present what little I have left, a testament to its inscrutable production. I hope you enjoy!
- J.W.E.