Vampires, Chimps, Ellis, Trains and Automobiles

We have a variety of subjects this week ranging from the auction of vintage conveyances and magical devices to an exciting new comic from Vertigo to a new way of looking at Dracula. We've also got the surprising results of last Saturday's Kentucky Derby and a peek at an interesting art auction.

The estate of philanthropists Hugh and Clara Holbrock is up for auction through Saturday in Hamilton, Ohio. The 60-piece collection of antique modes of transportation has been valued at one million dollars and has some terrific items. Click here for a pdf auction flyer with some lovely images. The carriages portion of the auction includes a surrey that belonged to Ulysses S. Grant and a restored medicine wagon from the 19th century complete with remedies of the times. The Skeleton Boot Victoria is simply dreamy and the Omnibus looks like loads of fun. The antique cars are gorgeous. I saw a Metropolitan last week at the Sheep and Wool Festival that is similar to the one in this auction and it was super swoony. The 1925 Ford Dump Truck is too cute for words.

Mr. Holbrock didn't just collect these cars he also drove them. He and his wife sponsored a group of neighborhood kids they called the Get Along Gang. They gave the children a home away from home and when these kids had something important going on at school, a prom or graduation, he would put on a uniform and drive them in the vintage automobiles. Mr. Holbrock was a stage magician as well as an attorney and his collection of magician's gear includes his trunks, tricks, props, equipment, books and magazines from the 1940s. I got a look at the list of books and they are wonderful. Are you into card tricks, ball tricks, silk tricks, coins or ropes? Do you dig Blackstone and Howard Thurston? Are you fascinated by Houdini? Do you want books about patter and how to talk the talk? Do you want to read about presentation and mind reading? Then you owe it to yourself to take a good look at this fabulous collection and get to bidding.

A circus collection is also going under the hammer including animated life sized clowns (how's that for terrifying?), posters, a carousel horse and a fiberglass circus lion. The train collection is a nice segue from the circus collection as it includes a Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus train complete with two engines and four passenger cars. Oh there is so much more to this auction including some positively delicious top hats, bowlers and driving gloves. The whole thing makes me wonder why I don't have a spare million to spend on this extravaganza.

When Bram Stoker wrote Dracula he chose to write it as a series of letters, transcripts, a ship's log, journal entries etc. How well this actually works is up for debate as it leads to images of protagonist Jonathan Harker pausing as he flees from the monster to jot off yet another note to his beloved Mina. Some brilliant soul has started to publish the book in blog form and it’s working beautifully so far. The author states

This blog will publish Bram Stoker's Dracula for the next six months. Individual pieces of the novel will appear on the calendar dates indicated in the text, starting with Jonathan Harker's May 3rd Bistriz journal entry, and finishing up with November 6 and the final Note.

I'm planning on two categories of posts. First, and primarily, will be the novel's text. Secondarily I'll post about the novel, or reflections on this project.

Comments are most welcome!

I am exceedingly curious to see where these comments go. So far they are mostly scholarly and "how cool is this" types of replies. I am wondering if anyone will start to post comments like "No you fool, you can't give her a blood transfusion, blood typing hasn’t been invented yet! You're going to kill her!" Will the comments devolve to the sort of chatter you hear in the movie theater or will they remain relevant? Whatever happens this is a splendid undertaking and I will enjoy reading along as though it is all happening now.

Warren Ellis ( Transmetropolitan, Planetary) and J.H. Williams III (Promethea!) have teamed up to create a new bimonthly comic called Desolation Jones. If you're like me and you missed the beginning of groundbreakingly wondrous series like Sandman or Hellblazer you're going to want to make very sure you get a copy of issue number one of Desolation Jones. You can download the beginning of the comic in pdf format here and get a feel for the script and the art.

Protagonist Desolation Jones is the only survivor of a terrifying experiment called the Desolation Test. When we meet him he's trying to get by working as a private detective in a bizarre world of ex spooks living in an open prison version of Los Angeles. Jones will only take cases that meet his exacting standards but he looks to me like he's the one who needs help. Help and a nap that lasts about six months. This looks to be an interesting and provocative new book and I am very much looking forward to watching it unfold.

Famous chimp artist Congo has some work up for auction at Bonhams. It's slated to sell on the 20th of June. Although some people scoff at his work it is rumored to have been good enough for Picasso and Congo was able to master three elements of making art. He knew enough not to eat the paints, he didn't paint or draw over the edges of the paper, and he knew when his work was done. When he felt that a painting or drawing was completed he would not work on it again. He also appears to have been passionate about his work. What else is there?

Long shot Giacomo came from 18th place in the home stretch to win the Kentucky Derby by half a length. He paid $102.60 to win, the second highest payout in Derby history. Favorite Bellamy Road was seventh with second favorite Afleet Alex coming in third. Giacomo is off to the Preakness, the second jewel in the Triple Crown where he will once again face Afleet Alex who arrived at the Baltimore racetrack on the 11th. We'll have more on the Preakness next week.