Monday, March 17, 2014

Meet Percy...

Well, you may have noticed there has been something of a hiatus here of late (again), this time it was occasioned by the need to deal with all your orders from Callum James Books latest catalogue so thank you all so much for taking the time to look through it and especially, of course, to those who brought from it (which you can still do of course!). Apologies to those I have had to disappoint, there were numerous items in this catalogue which could have been sold many times over.
So to make up for absence I thought I would share this amusing recent acquisition. The Gay Coloring Book sounds like it ought to be one of those books which are just vaguely amusing because they come from a time before Gay meant Gay. But no! In this instance we have full on campy, kitsch colouring opportunities as we are introduced to Percy and his friends and asked to colour them in. This quirky little item was published by Guild Press in Washington in 1964. There doesn't appear to be any signature nor any credit given to the artist. I've never seen another.
UPDATE: I am very grateful to my friend Hans from The Netherlands who has been recently reading 1960s Gay Pulp Fiction: The Misplaced Heritage, edited by Drewey Wayne Gunn & Jaime Harker (University of Massachusetts Press 2013) and so has been able to tell me that the artist for this book was George Haimsohn (1925-2003): “As a widely published physique photographer, he was known as Plato, in homage to the Greek philosopher. As a writer of gay fiction, he choose the name Alexander Goodman," The same collection of essays also has one on The Guild Press itself and this book gets special mention therein: “One of the first Guild Press books that explicitly depicted gay community sites was The Gay Coloring Book (1964). Combining snippets of text with illustrations of scenes from the life of Percy, an effeminate young man, The Gay Coloring Book brought readers inside all-male social spaces, including gay parties, a gay bar, and the sexual cruising scene in a public park, a public toilet, an alley, and a bathhouse. In this way, it served as its own kind of guidebook to gay community sites.” Thank you Hans, much appreciated.


Self-effacing ghost said...

Hans obviously knows what he's talking about. But it seems to me that the images you've posted vary widely in style, as if they're the work of two different artists. In particular the "This is my uncle" picture strikes me as stylistically identical with this NSFW early drawing by Dom Orejudos (1933-1991), aka Stephen, aka (most famously) Etienne; especially the way the face is sketched, the treatment of muscle and body hair, and the detailed attention to the lacing of the heavy boots. I wonder if, in however small a way, Orejudos collaborated with Haimsohn on this book?

Callum said...

Hi Ghost,

I'm not in any position to comment on the art, I really don't know anything about either of these artists but thanks so much for taking the trouble to get involved with the blog like this. I wish I could provide a definitive answer but on this occasion I can't, sorry.



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