Comic artist Doug Skinner aims his poisoned pen at 52 works of classic literature—from The Iliad to Ubu Roi—whittling them down to four cartoon panels. It’s a constraint worthy of Georges Perec — an OuBapoian*collection of black humor guaranteed to set funny bones on fire.
Shorten the Classics is brilliant — albeit abbreviated — fun. If you want to read the classics, but don’t have time, this book is for you.
Grab a copy before it’s too late!
Shorten the Classics Doug Skinner Absurdist Texts & Documents #43 paperback; 116 pp.; 5.06 x 7.81 inches; $14 ISBN 978-1-7373711-3-7
*Oubapo: Ouvroir de bande dessinée potentielle: ”workshop of potential comic book art”)
“…one of his finest collections to date.” –Ceri Shaw
BLAZING TALES OF COWPOKE LIT!
Rhys Hughessaddles up & blasts his way across the vast plains — kickin’ up trouble in this hog-wild collection of Western Weirdness. Using various forms (short stories, a play, lonesome poems — even a garsh-dang essay!), he roasts the genre & serves up some hearty, avant-garde grub — fresh as a dew-dappled Texas rose.
“Rhys Hughes seems almost the sum of our planet’s literature. He’s as tricky as his own characters. He toys with convention. He makes the metaphysical political, the personal incredible and the comic hints at subtle pain.” — MICHAEL MOORCOCK
“A dazzling disintegration of the reality principle. Raises the bar on profundity and sets a comic standard for the tragic limits of our human experience. Like Beckett on nitrous oxide. Like Kafka with a brighter sense of humour.” — A.A. ATTANASIO
“If Hughes ever stops writing fiction I will shoot him.” — JEFF VANDERMEER
“If I said he was a Welsh writer who writes as though he has gone to school with the best writing from all over the world, I wonder if my compliment would just sound provincial. Hughes’ style, with all that means, is among the most beautiful I’ve encountered in several years.”— SAMUEL R. DELANY
WEIRDLY OUT WEST Rhys Hughes Absurdist Texts & Documents (No. 42) paperback; 141 pp., $14 ISBN 978-1-7357646-1-0
In honor of Donald Trump‘s historic election loss we’re bringing back an out-of-print classic from our Absurdist Texts & Documents series:
The thirteen poems penned by screenwriter/director Ed Wood during his lifetime will not to be found in the Ed Wood, Jr. Collection at Cornell University. Cornell is home to the original draft of Wood’s screenplay “Grave Robbers from Outer Space” (released in 1959 as “Plan 9 from Outer Space”), as well as his rare novels Killer in Drag (1965), Death of a Transvestite (1967), and others. There is not, however, a single shred of Wood’s poetry. The only evidence that “the world’s worst filmmaker” was also a poet of equivalent talent are several dozen rejection letters, including one from The New Yorker for a poem entitled “shreik” [sic].
According to Wood’s second (?) wife, the poet renounced his efforts as “pure crap” in 1968, and buried these thirteen unpublished works at the La Brea Tar Pits in California. A few days later, she attempted to retrieve the pages, but they had vanished from their unmarked grave. Wood subsequently coined the term “poesy-snatchers” to explain what had happened to his missing body of work.
Nearly 30 years later the poems were discovered inside an abandoned flying saucer that landed in Lodi, New Jersey. In 1996, the poems were published privately in a limited edition by a small press in Coronado, California under the title Selected Poems — despite the fact that the book represents Wood’s total poetic output.
Black Scat is proud to bring these lost odes back from the dead in a glowing, unexpurgated chapbook. We have erred on the side of caution and retained the original title for—who knows?—perhaps the bard will revisit our planet and dump some more gems.
The Pope’s Mustard-Maker (Le Moutardier du pape) was the last work that Alfred Jarry finished, a few months before his death in 1907. It is a bawdy three-act farce loosely based on the medieval legend of Pope Joan, with a huge cast and lively songs bubbling with rhymes and wordplay.
Readers who know Jarry only from Ubu or his novels may be surprised that he wrote operettas, but his are fully Jarryesque, with his usual gusto for smutty jokes, legend, folklore, puns, wild invention, and popular theater. In his hands, Pope Joan becomes Jane, who runs off with her lover and disguises herself as pope. How will she pass inspection on the slotted chair? What will she do when her husband shows up? And has there ever been another production number celebrating the spiritual virtues of enemas?
This is the first translation of this major work; it also includes an introduction and notes by the translator, Doug Skinner.
All hail The Pope’s Mustard-Maker!
THE POPE’S MUSTARD-MAKER
by Alfred Jarry
Translated from the French by Doug Skinner
Absurdist Texts & Documents #37
135 pp., paper, $12.95
“Charles Cros was a being miraculously gifted in every way, a strangely personal and charming poet, a true scientist, a disconcerting fantasist.” —Alphonse Allais
Charles Cros and Émile Goudeau were quintessential Bohemian poets of the 1880s. Cros also experimented with the phonograph and color photography; Goudeau founded the Hydropathes, who met to declaim poetry while not drinking water. Cros and Goudeau’s only collaboration was a series of five exuberant stories published in 1880, which satirized such hot topics as divorce and capital punishment with bawdy humor and wild flights of fancy. All five stories are included here, plus four solo stories by Cros that complete the series, translated and annotated by Doug Skinner.
“Émile Goudeau was a fine man, and he had a lot of talent, an original talent as flavorsome as wine.” —Maurice Donnay
It’s back to cool with the great French monologist, humorist, poet, and inventor—in a trenchant translation by Doug Skinner.
***FIRST PUBLICATION IN ENGLISH!***
Born in1842, Charles Cros was one of the most brilliant minds of his generation, equally adept at poetry, fiction, and scientific inquiry. He wrote smutty verses with Verlaine, synthesized gems with Alphonse Allais, contributed wild prose fantasies to Le Chat Noir, and experimented with color photography and sound recording, only to die young, poor, and alcoholic. Not incidentally, he also invented the comic monologue for the actor Coquelin Cadet. In these strikingly spontaneous and modern sketches, he introduces a gallery of fools and obsessives—The Clean Man, The Fencing Master, The Capitalist, The Friend of the Family—all nattering away, assaulting the audience with trivia, and blithely unaware of their own failings.
This edition collects all 22 of Cros’s monologues—masterfully translated & introduced by Doug Skinner—and includes performance notes by Coquelin, plus two biographical essays by his friend and colleague Alphonse Allais.
“Pell’s satire doesn’t lack for sharp edges. His twisted humor is sure to appeal to crime-fiction lovers.” —THE RAP SHEET
Black Scat proudly presents Derek Pell’s MISSING MYSTERIES — the most baffling and hilarious reference book ever published. This special collector’s edition features a complete history of nonexistent mysteries (1840 – 2015) in one deluxe, large format paperback.
Packed with pulp, crimes, dicks, dames, thugs, puns, gumshoes and stoolies. Loaded with laughs, maps, gaffs, noir, conundrums, puzzles & quizzes. 196 pages crammed with over 100 full-color cover reproductions, plus startling excerpts, scathing reviews, outlandish blurbs and mysterious synopses.