Kamisaka Sekka - ‘Chrysanthemum boy’ from Momoyogusa (Flowers of a Hundred Generations). (1909)
from Shiohi no tsuto “Gifts of the ebb tide”//”The shell book”. (1789)
Tsuneo Shiroda fl.ca. 1940’s Nude I
Hanko Kajita ‘Violin Player & Dancing Animals’ 1900-1910’s woodblock print
Black Orchid’s debut: Adventure Comics #428 (Aug. 1973). Cover art by Bob Oksner.
Even though her costume is unusual
(as in garish, magenta, and pink…) I like the title lettering and composition here, it’s very “pulp” and seems like she’d be more of a “Golden Age” superhero from the 1930’s and 1940’s as opposed to having her debut in the “Bronze Age”. I also enjoy the character’s supposed shtick as a master of disguise, posing as other people throughout her stories, and leaving behind her calling card, a black orchid with whomever she bound, gagged and impersonated when done sleuthing, as she disappears without a trace. She seemed fun and seemed to give the Joker a run for his money as a character known for their lack of a true origin story for a while, and writers gleefully embraced said enigma, that is until Neil Gaiman gave her one in her series that was sort of a pre-structuring of the DC Vertigo line which incorporated her into The Green, which put her in the same category with other plant based characters like Poison Ivy, Swamp Thing and Floronic Man.
She recently appeared in her “classic” pre Gaiman form in Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode “The Mask of Matches Malone!” rescuing Batman from Poison Ivy (no doubt a nod to Gaiman’s revamp as Black Orchid and Ivy being connected entities via The Green) and her giant man eating plant, ‘Georgia’. Extra tidbit, most of Ivy’s hench-woman’s costumes in that episode are nearly identical to Ivy’s costume from her original comic appearance.
Illustration by Don Freeman from The Human Comedy by William Saroyan (1943).
I found a copy of this book on the book exchange cabinet at my school’s library, where occasionally older books that haven’t been checked out in a long time, usually with beautiful illustrations and or interior patterns, marbled paper and fun covers end up. I have to figure out how to get more of said books because I feel they do it on a more common basis than people think, getting rid of the old books I mean. I tried taking a picture with my webcam but it looked bad, so this is from a posting on Etsy of the same book. My copy has a Bookthing in Baltimore stamp in it, so it must have been from another student or teacher who picked it up there and who didn’t want it after all.
I’m not sure why they’d want to give it up though, even the spine has an illustration on it and the book’s name in hand written lettering I’m also going to assume was done by Don Freeman.
Arthur Rackham - The Questing Beast from ‘The Romance of King Arthur’ by William Pollard
signed ‘Arthur Rackham’ (lower right)
pencil, pen and black ink and watercolour on paper
9¼ x 7 in.