For the next two weeks Mr. Goth Chick and I are out of town, for what will sound to everyone else like a really normal vacation. But you lot know better.
I will, of course, tell you every gory detail when I get home, but for now I’m penning a couple of entries ahead of schedule which one of the Goth Chick Interns will gratefully post on my behalf, all the while averting his eyes and addressing me as “Mistress.”
Yes, these are the moments worth opening the coffin lid for.
But I digress.
A couple weeks back I told you about an amusing collection of tombstone writings called Comic Epitaphs From the Very Best Old Graveyards, brought to you by the clever folks at Peter Pauper Press. Shortly thereafter, a Ms. Suzanne Schwalb, an editor from Peter Pauper, got in touch to inform me that though they were grateful for the mention, the book in question was out of print.
I was about to be concerned I had gotten some of you interested in something you’d never get to experience for yourself when I found 42 of them on Amazon.com, starting at $0.99.
But then something really amazing happened.
Quite a large box was delivered to my door (and who doesn’t like getting surprise parcels in the mail?) with a return address of Peter Pauper Press in New York. Apparently, I was way behind the times with regards to the offerings available from the company.
You see, Comic Epitaphs had one printing in 1957 and my pristine, flea-market find – which still had a perfectly intact dust cover – is now a bit of a collectable worth 900% of its original 1957 price of $0.98 (that’s about $8.90, for those mathematically challenged).
Personally I was impressed, and vowed to place my copy in a more desirable shelf location in the library. Perhaps near my Edward Gorey collection would be more respectful.
However, the box which arrived at Chateaux Goth Chick was chock full of more recent offerings from Peter Pauper, each one delightful, unexpected and perfect.
Clearly Ms. Schwalb is an astute fan of Black Gate, as each tantalizing treasure in that box is worth telling you about.
So here goes.
The Gothic Vampire Journal
This beautifully bound 5 x 7 hard cover journal has a cover and inside illustrations by Victoria Frances.
Victoria Frances is an artist from Valencia, Spain whose work is inspired by Edger Allan Poe and Bram Stoker, among others.
The lined pages would be the perfect vessel for all of your soon-to-be-famous song lyrics, your poetry, or any other musings worthy of resting behind the image of a blood-splattered nymph.
I’ve decided to use mine as my newest ghost hunting journal (see “normal vacation” comment above).
If this wasn’t enough, there’s even a matching book mark to tuck between the pages.
By the way, I looked up Victoria Frances and found her at http://www.victoriafrances.es/.
You’ll need to use Google’s translation feature to read the text, or at least I did, as it’s in Spanish but who needs to read the text? You’ll find lavishly stunning, gothic artwork and photos which really don’t require explanation.
The Skull and Crossbone Stationary Collection
This stuff is just plain cute, in a Goth sort of way, and the coordinating bits Peter Pauper didn’t send in my care package are already on order via their web site.
I especially loved the note cards which will be perfect for all of my “thank you note” needs.
Come on, which of you aren’t tickled by the idea of writing your Aunt Irma to thank her for those lovely wool Christmas mittens using these notes?
Oh, and I forgot to mention you can write on your skull and crossbone note cards while using your skull and crossbone pen.
This is the perfect way to adhere to your Mom’s etiquette rules, while simultaneously sticking out your tongue; an utterly priceless experience for $8.99 per box of cards and $14.95 per pen.
However, the very best item in the box was at the bottom (and isn’t that always the case?).
The Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies Compendium Monstrum
There, wrapped in bubble paper was The Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies Compendium Monstrum (with Fold Out Maps and Record Pages). Let us pause here for a moment of reverence.
The term “compendium monstrum” is Medieval Latin for “a list of monsters.” This little, pocket gem is literally a travel guide for the supernatural and the perfect size to fit into your backpack as you venture into Highgate Cemetery in search of Nosferatu.
This book is chock full of useful information such as an English-to-Romanian dictionary containing helpful phrases like “go faster!” (Da-i din bascheti!) and “do not go in the castle!” (Nu intra in castel!)
There is a “Zombies Around the World” map showing all of the vacation spots to avoid if you don’t want to be sharing your beach blanket with the undead (and apparently this means you, Western Coast of Africa).
My personal favorite tidbit deals with how to tell the difference between the tracks left by each major monster group; vampires (pigeon-toed foot prints – who knew?), werewolves (human footprints becoming dog tracks is the dead giveaway there) and zombies (footprints that resemble mine after one too many cocktails by that same name).
And if this weren’t enough, the book comes with a “Professional Vampire Hunter” ID card which I’m planning to accidently whip out at the airport when I’m asked for identification.
The Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies Compendium Monstrum (with Fold Out Maps and Record Pages) is a hilarious ride cover to cover and will certainly be accompanying me on my upcoming travels. In addition to the company web site, you can find it at Amazon and in your local bookstore.
However, these items and more, too numerous to list, are all available at www.peterpauper.com so enjoy! And if you do go have a look, drop a line here in the comments and let everyone know what you think.
Now I have to nip off to verbally abuse the Goth Chick Intern one final time before heading out. But rest assured, he lives for it.