Archive for the Book Category

Spell Bound, 2011

Posted in 2000+, Book, PSFW on 9 July 2011 by redwitch1
[Palaez, cover and p. 43]

Spell Bound (2011) follows Coven: Sisterhood of the Dark (1998), Coven 2: A Gallery Girls Collection (2002) and Coven 3: A Gallery Girls Book from SQP Inc. (See my posts here, here and here).

[Bob Larkin, p. 15 (2009)]

When I did my post on Coven 3: A Gallery Girls Book I said that the SQP Inc. volumes were improving and this is another instance of that. In fact, this collection is awesome! And, unlike the previous collections, all fifty artworks are in colour. It was difficult selecting only ten images for today’s post.

[Scott Lewis, p. 41]

For me, the stand out artists are Scott Lewis (three pieces) and Palaez (two piece). I have limited myself to one each below because I was trying to show the variety of styles. And I have included as many as I felt I could without spoiling the fun of buying a copy.

[SQP Art Books 2011 calendar by James Hottinger, "Spellbound" (2010)]

Each SPQ collection is quite cheap (this one is only USD14.95), so do yourself a favour and buy this one, and any of the others you missed, immediately. When I bought mine I got, as an extra added bonus, a super-sexy witch calendar for 2011 (above) by James Hottinger. You might be lucky too!

[Brian Leblanc, p. 42 (2010)]
[Adrian Velez and Dave Dunstan, p.19 (2010)]
[Carlos Valenzuela, p.30 TEXT]
[Carlos Valenzuela, p. 25]
[Diego Grego, p. 16 (2010)]
[Dave Dunstan, p. 35 (2010)]

Emerald City Comicon Artbook, 2011

Posted in 2000+, Book, SFW on 29 May 2011 by redwitch1

Twixraider has sent me a link to this fabulous witchy artwork.

I know nothing more about the Emerald City Comicon Artbook that appears on this page [but see UPDATE below], but if you look here you will see that brandstudio have published, among many other things, an Emerald City Comicon Artbook in 2009 and 2010 as well. They all look great, and the price seems very reasonable … and if anyone buys one they can tell me who should get the credit for this fab artwork!

[UPDATE 29 May 11: Thanks to the all-knowing Skott I can now identify the artist as "Adam Hughes, comic pin-up artist extraordinaire." The artist's DeviantArt gallery is here; the page for this image is here.]

Gunthar James, The Witch’s Spell, 1969

Posted in 60s, Book, PSFW on 9 February 2011 by redwitch1

This is a title in the long-running Liverpool “Rear Window Series.” There are plenty of self-explanatory titles in the series, including Mother Loves Brother, A Sister Sandwich, Teacher’s Bonus, Sex-Education Class, Every Gal Has One, Oriental She-Devil, etc etc.

On vintage erotic book sites and auctions books in this series change hands for well over USD100. (See here for some examples). I got The Witch’s Spell pretty cheaply and—unlike most of the supernatural sleaze that I have bought—actually read it. And, having read it, I thought I’d write a review of it here.

* * * * *

Unusually, the book contains an explanatory Foreword in which “The Publishers” mention “the recent motion picture” Rosemary’s Baby (1968) as a prompt for the book. The story concerns “what might happen were one or more ‘witches’ to infiltrate a community and place it under the dominion of ‘The Devil'” (8). The story is based “in our own times in any middle class and middle size city or town” in the USA (7).

What this means that the “witches” in this story are really Satanists. They are not Satanic witches of the Anton Le Vey variety either: they are supernatural beings, agents of the devil. The main witch is Natas (= Satan), though she is using the name Mrs Georgiana Carter. The reader discovers by the end of the book that she is many hundreds of years old and that she owes her stunning looks to the devil. Her assistant, Mrs Fenley, a witch-in-training, has been in service a lot longer than she would like: “she had almost served out her time as a Devil’s Disciple and was shortly to be rewarded with the same beautiful face and figure” as Mrs Carter (29).

[Mrs Carter (the witch), Charles and Julie Simpson]

The victims of this story are introduced in the first lines: “It was, as they say, ‘a lovely wedding.’ It was made doubly lovely-lovely because the groom was not only taking a bride, he had just been elected Mayor of the town.”

The inexperienced and awkward Charles and Julie Simpson are set upon by Mrs Carter. She uses magic to ruin their wedding night, then seduces Charles—with the help of a potion—then uses the film of his humiliation to blackmail Julie into having sex with a local thug, and then uses the films of his and her humiliation to blackmail Charles.

Charles must allow the thug to act freely in the town, which soon becomes a haven for vice and racketeering. He must also invite all the power-brokers of the town to a series of sex parties, each of which offers opportunities to gather more film, giving greater scope to Mrs Carter’s blackmailing operations and her control of the town.

The local thug, Garson, has promised his lieutenants sex with Julie; Mrs Carter organizes it; Charles is shown in at the point that Julie is experiencing (of course) multiple orgasms with multiple partners; he leaves in despair and she is marched off to work in a local brothel.

At this point Dag Ehrling arrives: he is the answer to Mrs Fenley’s prayers. “Here was a Witch of the highest order … he was one of the Devil’s right hands” (200). Ehrling tells Mrs Carter that “You have displeased our Master”—by not preparing Mrs Fenley for her transformation and for going too far with Charles and Julie Simpson. The Devil is concerned that the open humiliation and degradation of the couple will make the pursuit of new souls more difficult, and that the open depravity of the town will lead to a religious resurgence!

Mrs Carter is sentenced to be raped by seven devils, goblins and gnomes (201). The resulting pregnancy will result in “another Witch—a son-devil who will carry on the work of debasing mankind and enrolling souls in the Devil’s army” (203). She is also transformed into a hag, and becomes the servant of Mrs Fenley, who gets her pinup looks. They leave the town, the local thug and his boys are “taken care of” (via evidence of narcotics, prostitution, etc.) and Julie is rescued from the brothel.

* * * * *

So, in this book, “witches” are supernatural beings—the spawn of witches and demons—whose job is to debase mankind and enroll souls in the Devil’s army. There are male and female witches; and the female witches can either be “beautiful and voluptuous” (see the cover art!)—and eternally 25—or old hags. The witches cast spells and use potions (53: “Natas, of course, was privy to all kinds of ‘potions.’ She would have been a pretty poor excuse for a Witch if she wasn’t.”).

Chances are, this isn’t your idea of a witch. But you have to wonder how widespread this idea was after Rosemary’s Baby (1968), because most of the stories I have encountered with “witch” in the title from around this period are based on a similar idea—which is why I have not reviewed many of the stories on this site.

The Witches Dream Book, 1914

Posted in 10s, Book, Lithograph, SFW on 12 January 2011 by redwitch1

This little volume (127 x 105mm; roughly 4 x 5 inches) is from a series of “Joke Books” published by I. & M. Ottenheimer in Baltimore, MD. The title is The Witches Dream Book and it is no. 31 of at least 45 titles that includes New Irish Jokes, New Hebrew Jokes, New Coon Jokes, even an Italian Dialect Joke Book—something to offend everyone! (**see below)

The only other titles I’d want to see from this series are Saucy Jokes and Funny Epitaphs, indicating that my weaknesses are for sex and death. But the titles are probably the most creative and interesting part of these ten-cent “Pocked Editions”; just as the cover art is the most interesting part of The Witches Dream Book and Complete Fortune Teller: The Correct Interpretation of Dreams. Together with Fortune-Telling, Etc., Etc.

The Witches Dream Book contains seventeen pages of dream-symbols (“Water. If anyone dreams of water it signifies abundance and fruitfulness”—an interpretation which was obviously not written with the Brisbane floods in mind), there follows seventeen pages of “The Oraculum; Or, Napoleon Bonaparte’s Book of Fate,” then twenty-two pages of the “Science of Foretelling Events by Cards” (“The Five of Diamonds. Shows you a well assorted marriage with a mate who will punctually perform the hymenal duties …”—which, of course, everybody desires).

Hymenal duties aside, our witch seems to be a slightly more decently-clothed version of the Pears’ Soap Witch of 1899, with her billowing veil, although this off-the-shoulder piece is still distinctly risqué for 1914. The rose-bloom patterned hennin (high-pointed witch’s hat) is delightful, as is the unflappable cat. It is a shame that the printing is so poor and that the artist was working on such a small scale, but we should be grateful that the artwork is so much better than the contents!

(** Remember, this is 1914, almost a century ago now. It was the era of vaudeville, silent films and Charlie Chaplin—see the back cover advert below—and it was the eve of WWI. Tempus fugit.)

The New Pagans by Frederick Adams

Posted in 70s, Book, SFW on 9 September 2010 by redwitch1

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have returned. There is still a fair bit of stuff in boxes, and the internet connection is cobbled together with cables running the length of the house, but it is time for me to return to my task of exploring—and exposing—the endless variety of truly-awesome witchy art.

And I so I present you this gem: Hans Holzer, The New Pagans (New York: Doubleday, 1972); the artwork is by Frederick Adams.

This is one of the many books that I packed (and unpacked) and—while doing so—thought: “Now that has got to go on my blog!” It has everything going for it: the artwork, the date (1972. What a year), and the author. And it is about wicca and witches. (The first sixty pages are “The Heirs of Wicca”.)

Hans Holzer was a legend. Wikipedia claims that he “wrote well over 100 books on supernatural and occult subjects”. Of these there are five every self-respecting witch should have The Truth about Witchcraft (New York: Doubleday, 1969); The New Pagans (New York: Doubleday, 1972); The Witchcraft Report (New York: Ace, 1973); Confessions of a Witch, as Told By Heather (London: Star Book, 1976) and Witches (New York: Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 2002).

In terms of the best cover-art, it would be a near thing choosing between Confessions of a Witch and The New Pagans. You will get to see both, but I am saving Confessions of a Witch for another day.

Ron Turner Witches, 1959, and Pedigree Books

Posted in 50s, Book, Painting, SFW on 17 April 2010 by redwitch1

The “wonderfully lurid cover” of this book masks the serious nature of the text, as the Lilly Library notes (here). So does the advertising copy: “Weird Rites of the Middle Ages and the Black Mass.” The artists is—apparently—Ron Turner (1922–98), but no sources are cited for this on Wikipedia.

As for the date, almost everyone gives the original copyright date, 1957, which is actually the publication date for the first edition of the book (London: Chatto & Windus, 1957). (Which has a very boring cover by Paul Hogarth.) But this book clearly came out after the Pedigree edition of Jules Michelet, Satanism and Witchcraft: A Study in Medieval Superstition—which was issued in May 1959—because Michelet’s Satanism and Witchcraft is advertised on the back of this edition of Hole’s Mirror of Witchcraft (below).

The Pedigree reprint of Gerald Gardner Witchcraft Today was first published in 1960 and it is not mentioned on Hole’s Mirror of Witchcraft, so perhaps the latter dates from late 1959 (between Michelet’s Satanism and Witchcraft of May 1959 and Gardner’s Witchcraft Today of 1960).

It certainly must be at least a few years later than 1957. As it states on the rear cover: “This is an original PEDIGREE BOOKS reprint, Complete and Unabridged, of a book hitherto available only in full cloth-bound form and priced at 21s. net.” As you can see, this Pedigree Books paperback is only 3s 6d. I can’t see the publishers licensing a reprint until their ugly hardcover had sold out.

Looking around, I could not find any copies of this edition in any library on Copac or Worldcat (each of which is a kind-of Google for books held in major libraries around the world) and only three copies for sale via AddAll and eBay: none provide any useful details about the artwork, the date of publication etc.

I must say I was really surprised that there wasn’t a list of Pedigree Books publications online somewhere. They all have such outrageous covers that someone must be collecting them! I only have the three I mentioned—the cover to Mirror of Witchcraft is the only one with sexy witches—but I have seen three others. The lists is:

[1] Gerald B. Gardner, Witchcraft Today (London: Rider, 1954; repr. Pedigree Books, 1960). ¶ Cover art by S. R. Boldero. For more on S. R. Boldero, see here.

[2] Christine Hole, Mirror of Witchcraft (London: Chatto & Windus, 1957; repr. London: Pedigree Books, n.d. [1959?]). ¶ Cover art by Ron Turner.

[3] Donald McCormick, The Hellfire Club (London: Jarrold, 1958; repr. Pedigree, no date). ¶ Details here.

[4] Jules Michelet, Satanism and Witchcraft: A Study in Medieval Superstition, trans. A. R. Allinson (Paris: Carrington, 1904; repr. London: Pedigree Books, May 1959). ¶ Reprinted July 1960. Cover art by S. R. Boldero.

[5] H. T. F. Rhodes, The Satanic Mass (London: Rider, 1954; repr. Pedigree Books, 1957). ¶ Cover art by Ron Turner.

[6] Gerald Verner, ed., Prince of Darkness (London: Rider, 1946; repr. Pedigree Books, 1960). ¶ Cover art by S. R. Boldero

Hex Appeal, 2004

Posted in 2000+, Book, Painting, SFW on 10 April 2010 by redwitch1

Last weekend I picked up this very pretty book at a remainder warehouse: Lucy Summers, Hex Appeal: Seductive Spells for the Sassy Sorceress, illustrated by Lucy Truman (Sydney: ABC Books, 2004).

The same book was issued at the same time with different imprints in the UK, US and Canada, but all copies were printed in Singapore. It is a lovely printing job, sharp, vibrant colours, with sparkles, holograms and a mix of gloss and matt finishes. But it is the fabulous Brady-Bunch artwork by Lucy Truman that sent me reaching for my money.

The text is pretty much what you’d expect, the sort of breathless enthusiasm about mating that only a hormone-addled teenager would find appealing. The book is totally devoid of politics, or rather, it demonstrates no political awareness whatsoever. Witchy-wise it is no better, but I’ll get to that.

An example: what do you do if you want to talk to a boy? Not ring him, apparently. You wait for him to ring you, and if he doesn’t do that you cast a spell to get him to make him do it. You might wonder, like I did, why shouldn’t a girl make the phone call herself? In what sexist backwater is it wrong for a girl to indicate she has any will, opinions or options of her own?

Then there are instructions on how to be a Goddess in the Bedroom, which will enable a woman to fulfill a man’s every desire (Which goddess isn’t clear—presumably not Kali [काली].) So, what do you do if he is not satisfying your desires? Not tell him, apparently. You cast a spell to get him to do the right thing. What!? Looks like we have really slipped into Lucy Truman’s 50s-inspired bizarro-world again.

And if your man has bad habits, bites his nails, complains all the time etc, and it has got so bad you are ready to leave him, what do you think you should do? Not tell him, apparently (though it is implied that dropping hints is okay). You cast a spell to get him to do the right thing. Why exactly would a sassy—meaning impudent, outspoken, provocative, self-assured, spirited, bold, vigorous—Sorceress not tell her partner that his nail-biting was giving her the shits?

At this point you will understand why I have only dipped into this book long enough to admire the artwork. Read it and you’d find yourself saying something like “Grow a spine you pathetic maggot” while throwing the book through a window.

Then there is the whole witchy thing. The book is full of spells, but none of the pictures show anything like serious spell work. It is all pretty candles, washes and lotions. Oh, and shopping. And though the instructions include an alter there are no gods and goddesses. (“the names of gods and goddesses associated with love have purposely been avoided where possible”). In fact, there is a reassuring note explaining that “None of the spells in this book could summon harmful forces.” Damn strait they couldn’t.

Still, the book encourages you to cast a spell for the most frivolous reasons, and to cast a spell to do things which you should probably get off your arse and do for yourself. It is like the Weasley twins apparating across a room to grab a cookie.

One of the things that frustrates Ged in The Wizard of Earthsea when he is in the Academy on Roke, learning how to use his magical skills, is that the most powerful Master wizards never do magic. Eventually, and at great personal cost, he finds out why.

In Cate Tiernan’s Night’s Child—the final book in the Wicca (or Sweep) series, Moira is similarly frustrated that she never sees her famously powerful mother, the most powerful witch in generations, do any “real” magic. In the end she wishes she did not know, and had never witnessed, the power her mother wields.

In both cases, the powerful demonstrate their power and their wisdom by knowing when the use of magic is required and when it isn’t, when it is necessary and when it isn’t. It is the whole, “with great power comes great responsibility” thing.

In this book “with great power” comes the ability to place your self-worth in the hands of someone else, to value yourself according to how much attention you generate in a room of strangers, and how well you protect and stroke the ego of “your” man. In other words, the ability of a young woman to mutilate her own soul. This sure as hell isn’t my idea of being a sexy witch, because week and needy narcissism is never sexy.

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