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Queen of Hell: Metalhead stylist & artist takes on ‘The ‘30-Day Corpse Paint Challenge’ and WINS!
11.01.2017
08:39 am
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A photo of Lady LeananSidhe taken during her “30 Day Corpse Paint Challenge” during the month of October 2017.
 
Lady LeananSidhe is a self-described “metalhead fantasy-nerd” based on the east coast who among many other things is a contributor to the excellent Pagan-loving website, Modern Valkyrie. LeananSidhe took it upon herself to create what I pray to Satan will be the next big thing “The 30 Day Corpse Paint Challenge.” Every day during October (except the 31st of course), the multi-talented LeananSidhe filmed a time-lapse video of her applying a different corpsepaint look then took a sinister photo of the finished product. And I have to tell you; the results would make the mighty Abbath himself jealous.

A while back, LeananSidhe did another corpsepaint-themed photo series in which she applied corpsepaint looks to “normal” everyday folks (or “non-metally” people as LeananSidhe calls them), like receptionists and football fans hanging out at the bar which was pretty fantastic itself. However, it just pales in comparison to her triumphant 30-Day Corpse Paint Challenge—something I think you will agree with once you see the some of the photos the very metal LeananSidhe took anti-religiously during October below. You can see all of the photos over on LeananSidhe’s Instagram and on Modern Valkyrie.
 

 

 
More metally looks to look for, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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11.01.2017
08:39 am
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Beatniks, Bugaloos, & Astro-Spooks: Vintage masks made by the High Priest of Halloween, Ben Cooper
10.31.2017
01:57 pm
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A mask by Ben Cooper Inc. of the cyclops Rell from the 1983 film ‘Krull.’
 
After launching his company, Ben Cooper Inc. in 1937, Brooklyn native Ben Cooper Sr. would help make his costume business hugely successful thanks to their prolific production line of kooky plastic masks. If you owned a plastic mask anytime in the 1940s through the 1980s or so, it was probably made by Ben Cooper Inc. or their closest competitor, Collegeville which was founded in 1923.

I’m a sucker for Halloween ephemera, even though most of what Ben Cooper Inc. put out would eventually find its way into large chain stores like JC Penney and other discount retailers where you could buy cheap but cool costumes and masks of all varieties for a less than four bucks. Whoever you wanted to be for Halloween, Ben Cooper had you quite literally covered. The company would start production of their costumes and masks as early as the first of the year which would yield a veritable hoard of costumes for the coming season. From famous icons like President John F. Kennedy to hyper-colored riffs on classic movie monsters and other ghouls, Ben Cooper Inc. was a Halloween machine. The company had several licensing agreements with high profile clients such as Walt Disney and George Lucas allowing them access to some of the most popular fictional characters of all time. Cooper even scored a license in 1979 to make a costume modeled after H.R. Giger’s xenomorphs that terrorized filmgoers in Alien that same year.

Political masks were also popular items in Ben Cooper Inc.‘s supply chain. In addition to JFK and his first lady Jacqueline Kennedy, they also made other presidential masks such as Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and even Mikhail Gorbachev. Following Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, the company destroyed its entire supply of JFK and Jackie Kennedy masks. Then, in 1982 the horrific news that a child and six adults died after ingesting Extra Strength Tylenol that had been tainted with cyanide in metropolitan locations of Chicago rocked the U.S. about a month before Halloween. The story quickly fueled mass hysteria based on speculation that Halloween candy and treats might also be poisoned. Costume sales for Ben Cooper Inc. (and every other costume and candy manufacturer for that matter) came to a grinding halt, and for many years following the unsolved incident, the Halloween costume business struggled to recover.

Most of the masks and costumes I’ve featured in the post can be found on auction sites like eBay or vintage Internet purveyors like Etsy. Check ‘em all out below!
 

The rare JFK and Jaqueline Kennedy masks.
 

Beatnik mask.
 

Female hipster.
 
More masks after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.31.2017
01:57 pm
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The power of Christ compels you: This life-sized ‘Exorcist’ prop sure looks like it needs one
10.30.2017
02:28 pm
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Actress Linda Blair posing alongside a life-sized prop of her character Regan MacNeil from ‘The Exorcist,’ created by Silver Lake, California company, The Scary Closet.
 
Last May I posted about a few of the wicked life-sized puppets and props made by The Scary Closet based in Los Angeles. While their huge, 50-inch puppet of the Tall Man played by the late Angus Scrimm in the Phantasm film series was quite the triumph, The Scary Closet has outdone themselves this time around with their transfixing life-sized prop of Regan MacNeil from The Exorcist in full possessed-by-a-demon mode.

The Scary Closet only made ten life-like props of possessed Regan which were all signed by actress Linda Blair. The incredible prop is so spot-on, The Scary Closet says that it would have gotten a thumbs up from the late Dick Smith, the ingenious makeup artist who gave Blair’s face and body the uncanny appearance of being possessed and abused by the devil himself. Blair has said that the prop is nearly impossible to distinguish from the original one used in The Exorcist and that she was “sure” the molds used by The Scary Closet were crafted from the same ones   formed on the then fourteen-year-old actress. As is the case with high-end pieces such as this it comes with a hefty price tag of $3,995. As of this writing there appear to be only four more realistic Regans that could be used to scare the shit out of anyone with eyes, including those pesky house guests that never take a hint that it’s time for them to go home.

I’ve posted photos of the faux Regan below for you to ponder that are slightly NSFW.
 

 

Blair carefully inspecting the eerie Regan MacNeil prop.
 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.30.2017
02:28 pm
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Undead Teds—zombie teddy bears for when your inner child is too fucked up for words
10.26.2017
07:57 am
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Edgily debasing children’s toys is one of my least favorite underground art moves. With vanishingly few exceptions, it’s incapable of provoking any reactions deeper than a predictable OMG A BLEEDING BABY IN S&M GEAR from normals who wandered into the wrong gallery, or seen-it-all shrugs from the jaded. While it may win you kudos from emos on deviantart, crafting strap-on dildos for Bratz dolls or filling a gallery with cigarette-burnt Cabbage Patch Kids mostly just telegraphs a lack of imagination and probably a not unserious mental disturbance—and if you’re going to be disturbed, why be disturbed in the most boring way possible?

AND YET, despite all the foregoing, I’m absolutely loving UK artist Phillip Blackman’s zombified teddy bears, which he calls “Undead Teds.” I haven’t seen one in real life (though I’m strongly considering giving one a home as soon as I can), but judging from the MANY, MANY photos the artist has posted of his creations, the effect is jarring, and his workmanship looks top-drawer.
 

 

 

 
Blackman detailed his inspiration and process in a Daily Mail interview:

[T]he inspiration came from a rather obscure in-joke between my partner and I. She had a terrible cold at the time and we’d been talking about a gift for a friend’s baby. With a very stuffy nose “teddy-bear” kept coming out as “deady-bear”, and we joked about zombie teddies that creep from under your bed at night to feast on your brains while you sleep.

I individually hand-sculpt the bones, teeth and other organs from polymer clay or latex, then open the bear’s carcass, scoop out as necessary and glue the bones into place.

Each UndeadTed takes in excess of eight hours to make, not including the time it takes for glue, paint and varnish to dry, and I price them individually depending on size, complexity, materials used and time taken.

They’ve all been great fun to make but of all the ones I’ve made so far, my favourites are the Valentine ones, holding their torn-out hearts aloft as a grisly gift to their lovers. Horrible.

 

 

 
Blackman only releases Undead Teds every few weeks, and if you were hoping for one in time for Halloween, you’ll likely be disappointed—a batch released on October 1 is already long gone. However, if you’re very quick, there’s a new batch going up for sale today. If you miss this opportunity, you can be apprised of further releases on the Undead Teds’ Facebook and Tumblr, and if you absolutely MUST have one, Blackman takes custom orders.
 
Even more Undead Teds after the jump…

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Posted by Ron Kretsch
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10.26.2017
07:57 am
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Check out this Medieval Wonder Woman battledress
10.25.2017
01:25 pm
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This armor battledress for Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta, aka Wonder Woman, is certainly something to behold. Made from intricate, handcrafted leather by Samuel Lee at Prince Armory, this superhero outfit is “truly one of a kind.”

I recently saw the new Wonder Woman movie with a girlfriend who thought the most impressive thing about it was the way Princess Diana’s hair and makeup stayed immaculate throughout. To be honest, I never noticed, being too busy contemplating why this Amazonian superhero needed the irritating Captain Kirk and his gaggle of geeks along for the ride. As any fule no, Wonder Woman don’t need nobody to beat-up the bad guys—though this leather battledress would definitely add to her coolness.
 
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More after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.25.2017
01:25 pm
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‘Monograph’ is the ULTIMATE Chris Ware tome
10.25.2017
12:24 pm
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Just released, Chris Ware’s Monograph is a hardbound book with a 13"x18” format and weighs more than 8 pounds. One of the most enduring messages of Ware’s oeuvre is that he doesn’t give a hoot about the specifications of your bookshelf because hardly anyone has a media storage/display system that can capably accommodate his output. Another Ware entry in my possession, the 2005 edition of The Acme Novelty Library (aren’t all of his books called that, somehow?), has a similarly shelf-denying 9"x15” silhouette, although that volume was not nearly as hefty.

Chris Ware’s output is so excellent and so extreme in various ways that the critic is faced with a set of questions that wouldn’t apply to anyone else. With any other writer of comix, a question one might ask is, “What made her come up with that plot point?” With Ware, common questions include, “How on earth did he find the man-hours to execute all of these incredibly meticulous pages?” and “Isn’t he actually a squadron of artists instead of just one man?” and “Will he ever feel better about himself?” Nobody packs as many brilliant, deadpan jokes per square inch, and damned few are as gifted with the written word, which is an odd, yet apt compliment for an artist whose assets are so thoroughly absorbable without access to any human language at all.

The point is that Ware is operating on a higher level than just about any other comix artist. In many ways his career appears to be a relentless assimilation of all comic book history for the entirely generous purpose of homage and regurgitation in an enhanced, late 20th- or early 21st-century format. The overweening complexity of Ware’s layouts means that he is more likely than your average goat to accomplish multiple tasks at once. So in the same image Ware can (a) invent a form that nobody knew was there to invent, (b) depict the nature of temporality in a way that advances the comix medium, (c) appropriate and rejigger an old-school comix hero like George Herriman or Winsor McCay, (d) crack wise about any number of publishing conventions, (e) tell an honest-to-goodness gut-wrenching & tear-inducing account of a fictional human being’s lonely progress on this planet, (f) deplete you of any spare hope you may have entered the transaction with, and (g) probably a few other things too.
 

 
When I was a kid I owned a book called Peanuts Jubilee that served as a kind of coffee table biographical portrait of Charles Schulz as filtered through his work. That book blended documentary artifacts (report cards, old photographs) with an evolutionary account of the development of Peanuts. Monograph is Ware’s Jubilee, one might say—a detailed survey of Ware’s life and career, with intensive input from the artist, featuring a look at every stage in his career up to this point.

Early in his career, Ware’s work found a place in Art Spiegelman’s RAW, and more recently he has become a frequent designer of covers for The New Yorker. He ran an ambitious series for the New York Times Magazine called Building Stories. His work has often escaped from the parameters of “comix” in the form of this animated short for This American Life, that “Date Book,” that other mural for Dave Egger’s literacy project 826 Valencia. All attest to Ware’s breathtaking range and daring, and all are lovingly examined in Monograph.

If you enjoy Ware’s work, there can be no doubt that this volume is an absolutely essential purchase. It’s selling on Amazon for $37.42, which is frankly a ridiculous steal if you consider what you get, in a world where hardback novels routinely list for $30.

The emphasis on the sheer size of this book is necessary to reference the somewhat contradictory nature of almost everything Ware has put out. Jamming hundreds of lush, text-heavy images into a massive, 9-pound book in a bewildering variety of formats (many are situated sideways and much of the text is actually upside down) ensures that vanishingly few people will ever read the lovingly honed prose—and indeed, that anyone who actually tries to do so runs the risk of throwing his or her back out. Seriously, this is a book that well-nigh demands its own custom-fashioned furniture in order to consume it—and it would surprise me not at all to learn that Ware has actually mass-produced that furniture already, complete with sardonic koans etched into the woodwork. Rather like the forbidding plinth in 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Monograph glancingly reminds one of, it’s there as much to be worshiped as anything else.

It’s often been noticed that Ware’s work is more depressing than a busful of Idaho widows, a trait that connects to his evident self-loathing. It’s not actually true that the best art is the bleakest, but at least there’s little doubt that Ware sincerely hews to the notion as a strategy for producing good work.

One fact that Monograph imparts is Ware’s incredible facility with three-dimensional, constructed, wooden artifacts—boxes, dolls, toys, hand-made booklets, and on from there—a habit Ware picked up on very early and surely influenced the complexity of his two-dimensional work as well. (By the way, one of the many incredible aspects of Monograph is that there are several stapled, multi-page mini-comix actually affixed to the pages for you to read.) A doll of an early potato-shaped character who is frequently blinded in the panels is given the following description: “When the string is pulled, the toy gouges himself in the eyes with a pair of scissors,” which is about as epigrammatic a summation of Ware’s approach as I could ever find.

Like David Letterman and a few other midwestern pop geniuses, you will seldom, if ever, find Ware praising himself in any way, to an extent that is distracting. His favorite adjective for his own output is “awkward,” and one accomplished oil canvas is titled simply, Bad Painting. The juxtaposition of this self-abnegation with such obviously accomplished work is off-putting to say the least, while also being the evident pre-requisite for the production of such obviously accomplished work. It’s annoying that Ware can never be caught admitting that he is good at what he does, but we’re the better for it, because we are the ones who get to consume his lacerating stories about the authentically Kafkaeque crew of Jimmy Corrigan, Quimby the Mouse, Rusty Brown, and the rest.

Fortunately, if you can get past the tripwires designed to prevent you from consuming Ware’s work (and they are surely there), one is (of course) rewarded with the endlessly entertaining output of the dominant comix artist of our time.
 
Check out several incredible Ware images after the jump….....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.25.2017
12:24 pm
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‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’: The gonzo graphic novel
10.24.2017
09:41 am
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I must admit that reading Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream changed my life. A friend gave me a copy during our first year of college saying that it was his favorite book. I was already a big fan of Jack Kerouac—who Thompson hated and referred to as “empty-headed”—so I was a little skeptical at first. That all changed after I read the first few pages of the book, especially the memorable passage below, one of many in the book that leads one to believe that Fear and Loathing might be as far away from a work of fiction as you can get.

“The sporting editors had also given me $300 in cash, most of which was already spent on extremely dangerous drugs. The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. All this had been rounded up the night before, in a frenzy of highspeed driving all over Los Angeles County – from Topanga to Watts, we picked up everything we could get our hands on. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug-collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.”

At the time I was a journalism major but dropped that shortly after reading Fear and Loathing and subsequently learning that there weren’t really any other “journalists” who wrote like Thompson, making the idea of pursuing a career in the field uninspiring to me. I did continue to write and eventually, my years of dedication to the craft paid off. Am I in any way comparing myself to the diabolically druggy writer? Not by a long shot of whiskey and a handful of amyl nitrate, but thanks to both Thompson and my friend who hipped me to him in my youth, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Anyway, let’s get to the point of this post which is the nothing-short-of-brilliant graphic adaptation of Thompson’s book by Canadian author and artist Troy Little. Little discovered Thompson in the late 90s and could barely contain himself when he was granted permission by the HST Estate along with his publisher Top Shelf Productions to take on an illustrated version of Fear and Loathing. Staying true to Thompson’s original tale of his evil twin “Raoul Duke” and his debauchery in the desert with his attorney “Dr. Gonzo,” Little decided to include all of the original text from the book in his graphic novel.

When it came out in 2015, the book was an instant hit leading to a second print run in 2016. Better yet, Little’s version of Fear and Loathing is hardcover bound, which just makes it seem even cooler, and it’s pretty fucking cool, to begin with. Copies of the book will run you $16.95 here. I’ve posted images from the book below—check ‘em out!
 

The cover of Troy Little’s graphic novel adaptation of ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream.’
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.24.2017
09:41 am
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Meet the woman who photographed Frida Kahlo, the Kennedys, Elizabeth Taylor, fashion & war
10.24.2017
09:06 am
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Fashion of a woman, wearing a long gown, floating in water, Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida, 1947.
 
Toni Frissell (1907-88) was one of the greatest photographers of the 20th-century. During her lifetime, Frissell produced a staggering amount of diverse work including fashion photography, photojournalism, and portraiture.

In 1971, she donated her entire photographic collection of some 340,000 items to the Library of Congress. This included “270,000 black-and-white negatives, 42,000 color transparencies, and 25,000 enlargement prints, as well as many proof sheets.” Some of her work has yet to be processed for public use.

Frissell came from a well-established and fairly affluent family. Her grandfather was the founder and head of the Fifth Avenue Bank in New York. Having the stability of a wealthy family allowed Frissell to pick and choose what she wanted to do. She originally trained as an actress then worked in advertising before taking up her career as a photographer. Her brother Varick, a documentarian and filmmaker, taught Frissell the basics in photography. After Varick was killed in a freak explosion (along with 26 others) during the making of his feature film The Viking in 1931, Frissell started her career as a photographer in earnest. She apprenticed herself to Cecil Beaton (whose influence can be seen in her early photos) and began working as a fashion photographer for Vogue.

It was more than obvious from the outset Frissell was a natural photographic talent. Her fashion work pioneered the use of outside locations, often photographing models in a highly cinematic style against famous monuments or exotic locations. She claimed she preferred working outside as she didn’t “know how to photograph in a studio.” Whether this was her being disingenuous or not, Frissell did shoot the majority of her work outdoors using natural light.

When America entered the Second World War in 1941, Frissell volunteered her services as a photographer to the American Red Cross. She worked with the US Airforce then became the official photographer for the Women’s Army Corps. After the war, Frissell still continued with her fashion work but mainly concentrated on photojournalism and portraiture—capturing some of the most famous names of the day from politicians like Winston Churchill and the Kennedys, to artists like Frida Kahlo, and Hollywood stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Rex Harrison.

Unlike many other photographers who find one style and keep reproducing it time and again, Frissell developed, changed, and pioneered many different styles throughout her career. Her work is now rightly regarded as among the most influential and iconic imagery of the 20th-century.
 
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Fashion model Lisa Fonssagrives poses with an English bobby in background on a railway station for Harper’s Bazaar in 1951.
 
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Fashion shoot, Washington DC, 1949.
 
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Back view of fashion models in swim suits for Harper’s Bazaar, 1950.
 
More iconic photographs, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.24.2017
09:06 am
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‘Consumerism cums in your hair’: Hijacking capitalism one advert at a time
10.24.2017
08:23 am
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I suppose some may say, “It’s not big. It’s not clever.” But still, it is quite amusing. Artist provocateur Hogre is waging a war against capitalism, consumerism, right-wing politics, and religion one advert at a time.

Hogre illegally takes over large billboards and bus stop advertising displays across London and reinvents them with subversive messages. Santa Claus is no longer celebrating Christmas with a Coke but preparing to start the revolution with a fiery Molotov cocktail. Neighborhood Watch is really Neighborhood Snitch. And car companies are shitting all over the world because “Why worry about Global Warming? We all die anyway!”

Originally from Italy, Hogre’s been making his presence known for about ten years with his clever, amusing stencils and inventive acts of vandalism. It’s all jolly good fun and thought-provoking to boot but I do wonder if such well-intended artistic anarchy is more likely to result in Hogre’s work being curated in an art gallery than awakening the “sheeple” from their addiction to consumerism. But I suppose one can hope.

See more of the mighty Hogre’s art here.
 
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See more of Hogre’s sterling work, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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10.24.2017
08:23 am
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Morbidly amusing vintage illustrations from a calendar advertising a killer medicine!
10.23.2017
11:00 am
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An illustration done by Louis Crusius for the 1898 Antikamnia Calendar.
 
Here’s a fantastic vintage flashback for you—macabre illustrations done by Louis Crusius, a pharmacist, artist, and surgeon from the late 1800s for a series of calendars put out by the Antikamnia Pharmaceutical Company of St. Louis, Missouri.

Before Louis Crusius’ skeleton illustrations were published by Antikamnia, they were seen on the windows of a local pharmacy where Crusius worked in the early 1890s and later co-owned. Historical accounts regarding Crusius say that he gave away nearly all of his illustrations before he started selling them off to Antikamnia which would use them for their promotional calendars. What makes Antikamnia’s use of the ghoulish illustrations especially odd is the fact that Antikamnia manufactured a pill/tablet named for their company that was classified as an “analgesic” or pain reliever which was sketchy at best. Also morbidly curious is that Crusius would die before he was able to see most of his waggishly whimsical illustrations published in the Antikamnia calendar. Are you following me? Good.

Made with coal tar, Antikamnia was later found to contain a substance called acetanilide which diminishes the ability and even prevents red blood cells from releasing oxygen to tissues which in a nutshell is not good for you unless you’re okay with maybe dying prematurely. This is why acetanilide was illegal then and still is now. The deadly powder could also be mixed with Codeine by request. All that grim history aside, acetanilide would eventually become an ingredient in a little pill called Tylenol. With a bit of judicious digging, I found an old advertisement for Antikamnia (a word that the company invented which meant “Opposed to Pain”) published in 1890 and that provided an interesting description of the “benefits” of ingesting the substance. Here’s more on from an ad (which I have paraphrased below) for the early analgesic from The Phrenological Journal and Science of Health put out by the University of Michigan in 1901:

“Antikamnia has been found to be superior to any of its predecessors in this field in cases of acute pain and all forms of a headache which yield to its influence in a remarkably short time, and in no instance have any evil after-effects developed. The chief claim advanced in favor of Antikamnia over all other products is that its use is not followed by depression of the heart. In short, all headaches caused by anxiety or mental strain will be relieved by two tablets, crushed, followed by a swallow of water or wine. It is also suggested to be used by women on shopping tours and invariably to those who come home cross and out of sorts.”

So did people die after taking Antikamnia? Yeah, they sure did, and it wasn’t very pretty. Since we all now know that acetanilide stopped red blood cells from sending oxygen on its merry way, you should now know that the definately “evil” side effect would cause a person’s extremities to turn blue. Deaths associated with the pain remedy were first reported in 1891—barely a year after the Antikamnia Company started making the sometimes lethal medication. I’ve posted photos (which are even more cryptic now that you know the history of the drug) from various runs of the Antikamnia promotional calendars below.
 

1897.
 

1900.
 
More macabre illustrations by Louis Crusius, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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10.23.2017
11:00 am
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