Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a new edition of Fabulous Finds! I’m feeling in the mood for a little Barry Windsor Smith artwork, so I’ve pulled from it’s place of honor, on my shelf, the 1975 Gorblimey Press Shelf Stuff sketch book from the incomparable Barry Windsor Smith!
This was published in 1975. It sold for $4.50 at the time and was limited to 3,000 copies. At least the first printing was limited to that many copies. My copy has a black cover with gold foil lettering, though I have seen other copies that are green with silver foil lettering. They seem to be first printings, too. So I do not know if together, the black and green editions were limited to 3,000 copies, or if each colored edition was printed at 3,000 copies. Anyone know? Frankly, I do not know of a second printing, but I’m always learning things, so let me know if you have further knowledge about this sketch book.
Here is my front cover:
The cover itself, is pretty classy and makes the whole thing look special. The interior of the sketch book is made up of various Barry Windsor Smith fantasy sketches that are spread over twenty-four (24) pages. Often there are more than one sketch per page, but there are a number of single page drawings, as well.
The first interior page of my edition is inscribed; “To Greg – Barry Smith” in matte gold marker. I had forgotten this was autographed until I pulled it out and opened it. Cool!
I’ll go ahead a show a couple of pages here so that you can get an idea of what is contained in this collectible:
As you can see, this page has multiple sketches; a Conan like figure lifting up a body , ready to toss it. A Pirate or Corsair, at sea and even a self-portrait of Mr. Smith himself!
Page five features a female warrior with multiple swords, as well as, a shield. A nice peacock, various shadowy male figures and some close up detail studies, including a hand gripping a chair and an sun dial.
Here on page thirteen, we have a full page Smith Barbarian, i.e. Conan, but since it’s not authorized by Marvel Comics, not Conan drawing. So let’s just call it your basic unnamed barbarian.
Here on page sixteen, we have a couple of nice female characters. The top left sketch is said to be Linda Lessman, who Barry met while at Marvel Comics. The bottom female character was for a book plate and the right hand side of this page was a preliminary sketch for a proposed bookmark, featuring a generic knight.
Hopefully that gives you a taste of what this sketch book is like. As I said earlier, I paid $4.50 for it back in 1975, and I just checked on eBay, and there are a couple listed for anywhere from $75.00 to $120.00, both the black and green editions. Though they may not be signed, I didn’t check closely.
Oh, for those that really care, here is a scan of the rear cover to my Gorblimey Press Shelf Stuff book:
So there you go, another one of my comic book ephemera from my collection. I enjoyed sharing it with you and hope you enjoyed taking a look at it.
I’ll be back next week with a new RETRO REVIEW and again in two weeks for another Fabulous Find. Hope you come back for those and if you haven’t been with me for the last eight years, feel free to poke around in my older posts, as they are still all available.
So until next time, be seeing you …