Saturday, January 8, 2011

Another NEA Obscurity

Nature's Wonder Book

When looking after my mother in Washington, I had a few spare moments to browse an antique mart. There I found this interesting little book, "Nature's Wonder Book," which consists of panels reprinted from a nature feature syndicated by NEA. The copyright date is 1928-29 and the artist is William Ferguson.

From Lambiek I learned that Ferguson made a career of nature-oddity strips like "The Great Outdoor World" and "This Curious World." His last work was in the 1960s. I speculate that the feature reprinted here was "Mother Nature's Curio Shop," which Lambiek says ran with NEA from 1928 to 1931.

Ferguson's art is quite good and his humorous vignettes are drawn in a pleasant style.

The oddest thing about the book are the redundant captions above each page. Some make lame jokes about the content of the panel while others merely repeat the information. My theory is that when assembling the book NEA used a standard paper size and felt a need to fill the empty space at the top of each page.

1 comment:

Paul Chadwick said...

Completely charming. Nice style. I wish I could letter half as well.

So many great old artists, forgotten!

I would've treasured that book as a kid.