« Certain types of stories make perfect television fare. In the realm of the ghost story, however, I think the printed page has some advantages and I want you to discover them. When you read, you can be alone — absolutely alone. » — Alfred Hitchcock (but likely Robert Arthur in his name and place.)
Today, we feature Fred Banbery’s fabulously detailed and, well, haunting illustrations for « Alfred Hitchcock’s Haunted Houseful ».
Frederick Ernest Banbery (1913-1999) was perhaps the definitive Paddington Bear portrayer, but for me, it’s his Hitchcock-related work that truly sings. He illustrated three Random House Hitchcock books for younger readers: Haunted Houseful (1961), Ghostly Gallery (1962), and Solve-Them-Yourself-Mysteries (1963), plus the covers of a handful of Hitch paperback short story collections. These books can still be had surprisingly cheap to this day (I just checked eBay, and it holds), so keep an eye out. Every picture’s a gem, to say nothing of the stories!
My wife said something about my « stretching the definition of comics » with this one, but, honestly, thanks to the cartoony style, this feels more authentically like comics to me than, for instance, most comics painted in a self-consciously ‘realistic’ style (think Alex Ross, Jon J. Muth or Kent Williams), not that I’m disparaging that approach… it’s just not my thing.
I love Banbery’s art. I remember each one from my childhood days. Still creepy. Even now. Thanks. Re-posted on twitter @trefology
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They do sear themselves into the memory, don’t they? I’ve owned HH since childhood, and was thrilled to discover, much later, the existence of its sequel, “Ghostly Gallery”, which is as good, story-wise, but only has one introductory illustration per tale. Gone is the great luxury of those full-page Banbery masterworks. The full-pagers return with the next one, “Solve-Them-Yourself Mysteries”. Maybe there was an outcry. Oh, and the following *seven* books in the series, while not illustrated by Banbery, are terrific. I’m counting the non-Hitchcock “Davy Jones’ Haunted Locker” and “A Red Skelton in Your Closet”; this last boasts a cover by Al Hirschfeld, which is nice, but the real treasure is a whole bunch of interior illustrations by the one-and-only Jim Flora! Sorry about the detail overload — what can I say? It’s a pet topic of mine!
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