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Giant skull chair with movable jaw
09.05.2017
09:28 am
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Ever wanted a giant skull chair to relax in? Well, have I got just the giant skull chair for you. Chicsin Design on Etsy makes the skull chair for $450 with free shipping worldwide. I’ve never ordered from this shop before, so I can’t vouch for the quality of their merch. I do, however, totally dig it.

According to the listing, it “will require assembling before use.” I hope it’s not complicated. You may want to contact Chicsin Design before purchasing to find out. I mean if IKEA can end marriages, what damage might a difficult to assemble giant skull chair cause?


 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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09.05.2017
09:28 am
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Russell MacEwan’s evocative portraits of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis
08.31.2017
02:20 pm
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Russell MacEwan was a member of the Canadian House of Commons from the late 1950s to the early 1970s before passing away in 2008.

Actually, that is not the Russell MacEwan we’re interested in today. That Russell MacEwan is a Scottish artist who is neither a politician nor dead and has produced a great deal of high-quality work of sci-fi subjects as well as portraits of postpunk and experimental music heroes.

MacEwan is an extraordinarily skilled draftsman, as you can see for yourself, who is currently Professor Emeritus at the City of Glasgow College. Virtually all of his output is black-and white, and he works in oils, charcoal, and pencils—his pencil drawings often resemble sketches that on other days might get “filled out” to form a painting, but he just leaves it as is for the viewer to contemplate.

The artist has mentioned that Joy Division is his favorite musical subject as well as the band he’d most like to be compared to, but he also has an abiding interest in the world of Coil, particularly How to Destroy Angels, the band’s first release from 1984. We’ve selected a few of the images of Curtis (whatever was available online, in fact) for your perusal.

MacEwan has an abiding interest in World War I topics and often draws inspiration from Hollywood and comic books, as his images of Logan, Clint Eastwood, and Catwoman indicate.

MacEwan has a book out called Black Sun: Art of Russell MacEwan and you can see much more of his portfolio here.
 

 

 
Much more after the jump…....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.31.2017
02:20 pm
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Fantastic Beasts: Fabulous illustrations from classic Persian book of fables
08.31.2017
09:47 am
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Once upon a time, in the land of Persia, there lived a very wise old King called Anushirvan who had heard of an ancient book of tales told by animals and reptiles and the birds of the air. The King he decided he would very much like to read this book as he had read all of the other books in his library and he desperately wanted something new to read at bedtime so he could completely relax after his wearisome day ruling and begetting stuff and doing kingly things. The King asked his doctor, Burzuyah, who was the smartest man he knew, to go off in search of this book and bring it back to him. One bright early morning before the birds started singing, Burzuyah left the King’s palace and went off in search of this fantastic book of tales.

The book is called Anvār-i Suhaylī or Lights of Canopus and that is how our story begins. It sets the frame within which we are told a series of inter-related fables mostly involving animals that are intended to offer good counsel to the reader.

For example, one story (which sounds a bit like The Gruffalo) tells of a big, greedy, ferocious lion and a smart, little hare. When the lion meets the hare, he asks him why he is so late as he was due to be the lion’s dinner hours ago. The hare is most apologetic and tells the lion he is ever so sorry for being late but an even bigger, greedier, far more ferocious lion had stopped him on his way and tried to eat him. Thankfully, the hare escaped otherwise he would never have been in time for his dinner appointment. The lion thinks he’s got a rival so asks the hare to lead him to this other lion. The hare does so, taking the lion to the still of a pond where he points to the lion’s reflection on the surface of the water. The lion is so enraged by the look of this other ferocious beast that he jumps straight into the water and drowns.

Another tale recounts how a cat is caught in the net of a hunter’s trap. The rat the cat had been chasing is happy to see his old adversary caught. But then the rat realizes that without the cat’s protection, he is vulnerable to attack from some of the cat’s other prey like the owl and the weasel. Knowing the cat is trapped, the owl circles the sky looking for the rat to feast on. While the weasel sneaks behind a tree waiting for the rat to return home, so he can have him for his dinner. The rat decides it would be best to free the cat and begins to gnaw through the ropes that hold him. All the while, the rat implores the cat not to eat when he is free. The cat agrees but somehow his words never quite reassure the rat. So the rat decides to set the cat free at the very last moment when the hunter returns. The hunter returns. The owl flies away. The weasel runs home. The rat bites through the last rope. The cat flees from the trap and hides up a tree. And the rat goes back to his home knowing he is safe once again.

You get the drift.

And so the stories go with one tale setting up the next and so on. The idea is that the reader will learn something from these stories about human nature and perhaps about themselves…
 
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More fabulous illustrations, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.31.2017
09:47 am
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Anton LaVey, Son of Satan & Vampirella make for fantastically weird ‘Illegal Mego’ action figures
08.30.2017
12:17 pm
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One of Todd Waters’ customized Anton LaVey “Illegal Mego” action figures.
 
Michigan native Todd Waters started collecting action figures made by toy giant Mego in the 1970s when he was just a toddler and simply never stopped. He and his brother were so obsessed with the action figures put out by Mego that they started tricking out their own characters together as kids. In a 2007 interview Waters recalled that his very first custom figure was Spider-Man which he customized with ripped clothing and a removable mask which he still owns.

Eventually, Waters learned to sew which allowed him to make more creative costumes for his action figures, which he also hand-paints. After clicking through Waters’ Flickr, I was delighted to discover the wide variety of action figures he has made that include some cool, fringe characters such as two different versions of Anton LaVey, the supernatural “Brother Voodoo” from Marvel Comics, and his self-proclaimed favorite, a customized “Dr. Zachary Smith” as played by actor Jonathan Harris in the vintage television series, Lost in Space. As I’m sure you may be wondering, yes, Waters does occasionally sell his figures—but only does so to raise the funds to create more of his wacky custom treasures. If you’re interested in trying to acquire one of Waters’ unique figures, he can be contacted via his Flickr page.
 

“Man-Thing” figure. “Man-Thing” made his first appearance in the Marvel comic ‘Savage Tales’ in 1971.
 

“The Son of Satan” figure. “The Son of Satan” made his debut in 1973 in ‘Ghost Rider’ #1.
 
More Mego madness after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.30.2017
12:17 pm
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Meet the Swedish mystic who was the first Abstract artist
08.30.2017
10:27 am
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The artist and mystic Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) never described the 193 paintings she produced between 1906-15 as “Abstract art.” Instead, af Klint thought of these paintings as diagrammatic illustrations inspired by conversations she (and her friends) conducted with the spirit world from the late 1890s on.

That af Klint did not call her work “Abstract art” is enough for some art historians to (foolishly) discount her art as the work of the first Abstract artist. In fact af Klint was painting her Abstract pictures long before Wassily Kandinsky made his progression from landscapes to abstraction sometime around 1910, or Robert Delaunay dropped Neo-Impressionism for Orphism and then moseyed along into Abstract art just a year or two later. But these men were members of voluble artistic groups and Kandinsky was a lawyer who knew the importance of self-promotion. Unlike af Klint who worked alone, in seclusion, and stipulated that her artwork was not to be exhibited until twenty years after her death. Af Klint died in 1944. In fact, it took forty-two years for her work to be seen by the public as part of an exhibition called The Spiritual in Art in Los Angeles, 1986.

And there’s the issue. The word “spiritual.” In a secular world where anything with a whiff of bells and candles is considered irrelevant, contemptible, and generally unimportant, it has been difficult for af Klint to be seen as anything other than an outsider artist or a footnote to the boys who have taken all the credit. Of course, a large part of the blame for this must rest with af Klint herself and her own prohibition on exhibiting her work. It’s very unfortunate, for this self-imposed ban meant that although af Klint may have been (I’ll say it again) the very first Abstract artist, her failure to share her work or exhibit it widely meant she had no or very limited influence through her artistic endeavors.

But now that af Klint has been rediscovered, it’s probably the right time to rip up the old art history narrative about Kandinsky and Delaunay and all the other boys and start all over again with af Klint at the top of that Abstract tree.

Hilma af Klint was born in Sweden in 1862 into a naval family. Her father was an admiral with a great interest in mathematics, who could play a damn fine tune on the violin. Her family were Protestant Christians but took considerable interest in the rapid advances made by science into the world—from medicine and x-rays to the theory of evolution. Unlike today, religious belief and scientific investigation were not mutually exclusive. In the same way, there was (at the time) a scientific interest in the spiritual.

Af Klint was passionate about mathematics, botany, and art. Some of her earliest paintings were detailed examinations of plants. Her father had little understanding of his daughter’s passion for art and would ruefully shake his head when she enthused about painting. Af Klint studied portraiture and landscape at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm 1882-87, graduating with honors. Her paintings are exceedingly good and technically very fine but not extraordinary or even offering much of a hint of what was to come.

The turning point for this great change roughly stemmed from the death of her younger sister. After her sister’s death in 1880, af Klint joined a group of women known who shared an interest in the spiritual, in particular, the occult theories and Theosophical ideas of Madame Blavatsky who promoted a unity of the scientific and the spiritual. These women became known as “The Five.” They held séances together with af Klint often acting as the medium. The group made contact with spirit entities which they called the “High Masters.” Under their guidance, these women started producing works created by automatic writing and automatic painting—this was almost four decades before the Surrealists laid claim to inventing such techniques.

It was through her contact with these High Masters that af Klint began her series of Abstract paintings in 1906. These pictures, she claimed, were intended to represent “the path towards the reconciliation of spirituality with the material world, along with other dualities: faith and science, men and women, good and evil.”

Af Klint detailed her conversations with these spirits including one with a spirit called Gregor who told her:

All the knowledge that is not of the senses, not of the intellect, not of the heart but is the property that exclusively belongs to the deepest aspect of your being […] the knowledge of your spirit.

In 1906, af Klint began painting the images these spirits instructed her to set down. Her first was the painting Ur-Chaos which was created under the direction of the High Master Amaliel, as af Klint wrote in her notebooks:

Amaliel sign a draft, then let H paint. The idea is to produce a nucleus from which the evolution is based in rain and storm, lightning and storms. Then come leaden clouds above.

Between 1906 and 1915, af Klint produced a total of 193 paintings and an outpouring of thousands of words describing her conversations with the High Masters and the meaning of her paintings. Her work depicted the symmetrical duality of existence like male/female, material/spiritual, and good/evil. Blue represented the feminine. Yellow the masculine. Pink signified physical love. Red denoted spiritual love. Green represented harmony. Spirals signified evolution. Marks that looked like a “U” stood for the spiritual world. While waves or a “W” the material world. Circles or discs meant unity. Af Klint believed she was creating a new visual language, a new way of painting, that brought the spiritual and scientific together.

These paintings were often over ten feet in height. Af Klint stood around five feet. She painted her pictures on the floor—the occasional footprint can be seen smudged on the canvas. Af Klint worked like someone possessed. She believed her work was intended to establish a “Temple.” What this temple was or what it signified she was never exactly quite sure. All af Klint knew was that she was being guided by spirits:

The pictures were painted directly through me, without any preliminary drawings, and with great force. I had no idea what the paintings were supposed to depict; nevertheless, I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brush stroke.

All through this, af Klint continued her own rigorous investigation into new scientific and esoteric ideas. This brought her to the work of Rudolf Steiner who was similarly following a path towards creating a synthesis between the scientific and the spiritual. When af Klint showed her paintings to the great esoteric, Steiner was shocked and told her these paintings must not be seen for fifty years as no one would understand them.

Steiner’s response devastated af Klint and she stopped painting for four years. Af Klint spent her time tending to her blind, dying mother. She then returned to painting but kept herself and more importantly her work removed from the world. After her death in 1944, the rented barn in which she kept her studio was to be burnt by the landlord farmer. A relative quickly decanted all of af Klint’s paintings and notebooks into wooden crates and stored them in a tin-roofed attic for the next thirty years.

In 1970, af Klint’s paintings were offered to the Moderna Museet (Museum of Modern Art) in Stockholm which was surprisingly (some might say foolishly) knocked back. Thankfully, through the perseverance of her family and the art historian Åke Fant, af Klint’s work was eventually exhibited in the 1980s. In total, Hilma af Klint painted over 1,200 abstract paintings and wrote some 23,000 words, all of which are now owned and managed by the Hilma af Klint Foundation.
 
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‘The Ten Largest #3’ (1907).
 
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‘The Ten Largest #4’ (1907).
 
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‘The Ten Largest #7.’ (1907).
 
More Abstract art from Hilma af Klint, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.30.2017
10:27 am
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The far out work of Frank R. Paul, the ‘Father of Science Fiction Art’
08.29.2017
07:36 am
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A remarkable black and white illustration by Frank R. Paul.
 
Hailing from Austria, pulp novel and comic book artist Frank R. Paul (born Rudolf Franz Paul in 1884), only attended school until the eighth-grade. At the time, affluent members of Austria received formal education beyond that, but Paul’s family were not a part of that world. So, when Paul turned fourteen, he got his first job working in a paper mill which he kept until the age of seventeen when he left Austria to avoid being drafted into the military. Paul ended up in Paris where he studied art which then led him to pursue studies in architecture in London. Finally, Paul would find himself and his first success as an artist in New York (after a short pit stop in San Francisco) where he was hired by Hugo Gernsback, the editor of The Electrical Experimenter, to create artwork for the monthly magazine in 1914.

Known today as the “Father of Science Fiction Art” Paul’s vivid work has appeared in and on the covers of a wide variety of magazines and pulp novels, most notably Amazing Stories who published a painting done by Paul on their very first issue in 1926. Other influential covers by Paul include the unique illustration of the “Human Torch” (the robot superhero created by Carl Burgos, not Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four) on Marvel Comics #1 in 1939, as well as his terrifying depiction of H. G. Wells’ vision of The War of the Worlds for Amazing Stories in 1927.

Publications containing Paul’s wild illustrations have sold for more than 20,000 dollars in the past, and his work is highly sought after by collectors. I highly recommend picking up the impeccable 2009 book, FROM THE PEN OF PAUL: The Fantastic Images of Frank R. Paul if you are at all a fan of the science fiction genre. I’ve posted some of Paul’s super spacey paintings, illustrations and magazine/pulp novel covers below.
 

1940.
 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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08.29.2017
07:36 am
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Trip out to the wild work of ‘Karaska’ the psychedelic surrealist from Kiev
08.29.2017
07:04 am
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I recently came across the mind-expanding, surrealist collage artwork of Kiev, Ukraine’s Vadim Karasev. Having worked freelance under the pseudonym Karaska since 2013, Karasev’s postmodern vision is the product of several difficult years of personal self-realization and creative discovery. “Generally, I’m an engineer by education,” Karasev explained via email exchange. “I had to study and develop art on my own, which for me is the most amazing journey. The journey into the depths of oneself.”
 
This path toward innovation saw stylistic influences by the likes of Giorgio De Chirico, René Magritte, Jeff Jordan, and other modern artists, such as Maurizio Cattelan. Additionally, many narratives witnessed within Karaska’s work are inspired by classical literature from novelists Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, poets such as Arthur Rimbaud and André Breton, and many others. “I’m interested in the theme of the mystery of dreams and reality, mixing them, moving from one to another,” Karasev highlights. “These two worlds are interrelated and equally important, they exist, complementing each other and forming our reality.”
 
Take a look at some of Karaska’s reality-shifting examples of psychoactive new surrealism below.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Bennett Kogon
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08.29.2017
07:04 am
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The weird fantasy menageries of Hannes Bok
08.29.2017
06:58 am
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Hannes Bok was one of a thousand illustrators who eked out a career making illustrations for magazines, particularly scf-fi magazines, in the middle part of the last century. Born Wayne Francis Woodard in Kansas City in 1914, he grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, and lived in Los Angeles and Seattle as a young man.

His selected pseudonym, which lent his work an air of European sophistication, was a jumbled reference to the greatest of all Baroque composers, Johann Sebastian Bach. (“Hannes” relates to “Johannes,” a variant of Bach’s first name.) Early in his career Bok befriended an unknown writer named Ray Bradbury who would later become an advocate for Bok among sci-fi publishers. After Bok established himself in the late 1940s, he moved to New York City.
 

 
Bok’s work cannily melds the stately art of the pre-Raphaelites and the more cartoonish, fantastical motifs of the sci-fi stories he was illustrating. A good many of Bok’s images resemble those of his exact contemporary Virgil Finlay, but Finlay’s utterly unique output was far more delicate and “three-dimensional,” for lack of a better descriptor. Where Finlay’s work might depict a damsel in thrall to a demon, Bok would be more likely to juxtapose a stolid explorer flanked by two bizarre creatures.

Bok was also a noted astrologer as well as a creative writer. He published two novels, The Sorcerer’s Ship and The Blue Flamingo, which was later retitled Beyond the Golden Stair. First editions of the book Hannes Bok: A Life in Illustration are much prized by fans of midcentury illustration, running as high as $150
 

 

 
Much more after the jump….....

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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08.29.2017
06:58 am
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Contemplating death & turning heads: The strange and disturbing sculptures of Yoshitoshi Kanemaki
08.28.2017
09:34 am
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Yoshitoshi Kanemaki sketches out his sculptures on paper before taking a large chunk of tree trunk and carving out his pencil-drawn designs. He uses camphor wood which is an evergreen tree that can grow up to one hundred feet in height. As he carves and chisels, he draws onto the wood to highlight the details he wants to bring out in each sculpture. He then paints the finished work in soft pastel colors.

And what do the resulting works look like?

Well, Kanemaki’s sculptures include large intricate skeletal momento mori which achieve just what their titles describe—figures gripped by the bones beneath the skin. He also carves strange figures with multiple heads which depict human indecision, ambiguity, the swinging change of mood daily wrought by life like a unmoored boat upon torturous seas. And then we have the split personalities or “glitches,” the two-head figures that capture “the hesitations or inconsistencies” that we can never answer.

“I think that such ‘ambivalent’ emotions can be embodied regardless of whether they are ‘surface’ or ‘deep’ layer by giving the effect of an irregular shape deviating from [the] human figure. The sculpture series created with these feelings is the projection of my own emotions — it may be your figure.”

Kanemaki was born in the Chiba Prefecture of Japan in 1972. He graduated from the Department of Sculpture, Tama Art University, Tokyo, in 1999. Since then he has exhibited his work in group and solo shows across the country, won several awards, and has work in various public collection. See more of Kanemaki’s work here or follow him on here.
 
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More of Kanemaki’s scupltures, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.28.2017
09:34 am
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The hilariously f*cked-up art of defacing kids’ coloring books (NSFW)
08.25.2017
09:09 am
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Looking for a scintillating opening paragraph to begin this piece on hilariously defaced kids’ coloring books, I thought it’d be fun to share a few of the images with a psychoanalyst friend to get his take. Oh boy, was that a bad idea. His eventual response after a few hours of email silence was:

I’d really like to ask the question “Where did the bad man touch you?”

Note to self: Humor and analysis don’t mix.

Second note to self: Never go to an analyst.

But at least I got my opener, well, other than saying:

You’ll never be able to look your favorite childhood cartoon characters in the eye again after a swatch of these Coloring Book Corruptions. Just take a moment to look at what they’ve done to poor Eeyore or innocent little Bambi and darn-it! even Bert ‘n’ Ernie and you’ll see what I mean. (Though to be fair, the Bert ‘n’ Ernie picture does seem somehow kinda likely, though why I’m not quite sure.)

Since the dawn of cave paintings and other cliched tropes, people have been drawing dicks and tits and generally fucking up other people’s artwork with occasional gut-busting results. Admit it. What was more fun in high school? Listening to the calculus teacher drone on about whatever the fuck calculus is or drawing dicks on the pictures in some text book?

The doodling talent behind Coloring Book Corruptions explains how it all started out of “boredom.”

Boredom will produce a wide variety of things. One fine day whilst visiting my cousin, we decided to color. If not for her enjoyment of this hobby, this past time would have never been born. We sat down to begin and I casually flipped through a rather large coloring book. Perhaps it was fated that this particular coloring book was full of slightly deranged looking animals. I could not help but imagine them plotting and feuding with one another. Inspired, I began to turn a seemingly innocent children’s coloring book into something both awful and hilarious (at least to me). I feel this concept should be shared with the world based on the twisted amusement it has brought me.

Coloring Book Corruptions seemed to disappear for a couple of years (or maybe that was just me not paying attention), but now you too can enhance some treasured childhood memory with some pencils or crayons right here.
 
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More comic coloring book chortles, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.25.2017
09:09 am
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