Tuesday, November 23, 2010


With William S. Burroughs being arguably the most important figure in the 23 Enigma and its following. Here is an article about ole Willie for today. For those regular followers...sorry this week has been a bit of a trial for me and my blog. Enjoy and thanx for all of you devoted friends and enemies.

Ah Pook is Here by William S. Burroughs

Ah Pook Is Here is the last unpublished work from the innovative Beat artist and author of Junkie, the Western Lands, and Naked Lunch - William S. Burroughs. Fantagraphics Books has made official its acquisition of this lost masterpiece, which William S. Burroughs created in a collaboration with artist Malcolm McNeill. It will be published in the summer of 2011. It is being released and sold as a two-volume-set, the complete Ah Pook is Here, along with a memoir by McNeill titled Observed While Falling.
Ah Pook Is Here first appeared in 1970 under the title The Unspeakable Mr. Hart as a monthly comic strip written by Burroughs and drawn by the British cartoonist and painter Malcolm McNeil in the English magazine Cyclops. Burroughs was 56 at the time, McNeill 23.
When the publication folded, Burroughs and McNeill decided to develop the project into a full-length, Word/Image novel. The book was to be constructed as a single painting in which text and images were combined in whatever form seemed appropriate to the narrative. In concept it was conceived as 120 continuous pages that would fold out. Such a book was, at the time, ground breaking and unprecedented, and as such no publisher was willing to take a chance and publish a graphic novel - a term that Burroughs can be credited for to this day.
Burroughs and McNeill finally abandoned the project after collaborating on it for 7 years.
Ah Pook Is Here is written as a consideration of time with respect to the differing perceptions of the ancient Maya and that of the current Western mindset. It was Burroughs' contention that both of these views result in systems of control in which the elite perpetuate its agendas at the expense of the people. They make time for themselves and through increasing measures of Control attempt to prolong the process indefinitely.
John Stanley Hart is the principle character, being a billionaire newspaper tycoon obsessed with discovering the means for achieving immortality. Based on the formula contained in rediscovered Mayan books he attempts to create a Media Control Machine using the images of Fear and Death. By increasing Control, however, he devalues time and invokes an implacable enemy: Ah Pook, the Mayan Death God.
The second book in the set is Observed While Falling, written by Malcolm McNeill, an account of the personal and creative interaction that defined the collaboration between the writer and the artist, the events surrounding it, and the reasons for its ultimate demise. The book offers new insights into Burroughs' working methods.
"Fantagraphics is honored to bring this major work into print and to publish what is quite possibly the last great work from one of America's most original prose stylists. Burroughs once said that 'The purpose of writing is to make it happen.' We are proud to make Ah Pook Is Here finally happen." said Fantagraphics Publisher and acquiring editor Gary Groth, as quoted on the Fantagraphics Books website.
Fantagraphics Books ( www.fantagraphics.com ) has been a leading publisher of comics and graphic novels since 1976, with titles by R. Crumb, Charles Schulz, Joe Sacco, and Daniel Clowes to their credit. The acquisition of the rights to become sole publisher of Ah Pook is Here, will be a fine new feather in their publishing cap. For the late William S. Burroughs, it will likely be the last published work. A legacy ending an era from a modern American master of the literary art form.

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