Walter Koessler 1914-1918 – WWI photo book is one of the top-selling publishing Kickstarter projects of all time
Walter Koessler 1914-1918: The personal photo journal of a German officer in World War I
by Dean Putney
2013, 140 pages, 17 x 11 x 1 inches
$78 Buy a copy on Amazon
Dean Putney is Boing Boing and Cool Tools software developer. His great-grandfather, Walter Koessler, was an officer in the German army during World War I. A gifted artist and photographer (he was drafted into the army in 1914 when he was studying architecture), Walter carried a camera with him everywhere he went, taking pictures of daily life in the German army. He even went into hot air balloons to capture the destruction of bombed-out German towns.
These photos do not show dead or wounded soldiers. Instead, they show young men working and relaxing in trenches, self-assured pilots, military parades, the hauling of equipment. They offer a fascinating glimpse of a way of life 100 years ago, making it seem like today.
Dean decided to share Walter’s photo book with the world. He launched a hugely successful Kickstarter to self publish it, and gave himself a crash course in book publishing. His hard work paid off. The result is a stunningly handsome, very large-format book, with 670 photos and many interesting anecdotes written by Dean about his great grandfather. — Mark Frauenfelder
From Russia With Doubt – Missing masterpieces or fantastic forgeries?
From Russia With Doubt: The Quest to Authenticate 181 Would-Be Masterpieces of the Russian Avant-Garde
by Adam Lerner
Princeton Architectural Press
2013, 176 pages, 9.4 x 6.9 x 0.6 inches
$21 Buy a copy on Amazon
A thrilling true story with a mystery that may never be solved: In 2004, two amateur art collector brothers from Denver began buying paintings on eBay from a German dealer who described the art as being produced during the Russian Avant-Garde period (1910-1930). The paintings were being sold for between $600 to a $1200 each. The paintings had all the markings, cracks, and other signs of age expected from paintings of that era. They looked very much like the work of Kazimir Malevich, one of the leaders of the Russian Avant-Garde school.
Acting on a hunch that they’d stumbled onto a treasure, the brothers ended up buying 30 paintings for a total of 40 thousand dollars. They were sure that the paintings were masterpieces. They hired a professional appraiser with 20 years experience, paying her $10,000 to appraise the collection. Her 111-page report concluded with the following statement: “Based on a reasonable degree of appraisal probability, it is in my opinion that the total fair market value of the 30 paintings is $50,101,909.
Of course the story doesn’t end there. Soon, the FBI gets involved to investigate whether or not the paintings were stolen. A noted Malevich expert declares the paintings to be fakes, but his reasons for making that decision are proven to be bogus. Because the paintings have no historical provenance, no one in the art world is willing to declare them authentic. But the question remains — if they are fakes, why would someone go to the considerable trouble of making excellent paintings, spend time aging them so precisely — and then sell them for a pittance on eBay? It makes no sense.
Adam Lerner, the author of the book, is also friends with the brothers (Ron and Roger Pollard). Lerner is also the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, and he decided to exhibit the paintings at the museum. When the exhibition opened, he wrote:
Is there really something here? On the walls of the museum, they looked so much like authentic works of art that their inscrutability became almost painful.
During the exhibition, it became even more clear to me that my ongoing feelings of doubt about the exhibition were part of its higher purpose. I came to understand that these works have a rare power that flows from something unknowable and provoke a sensation of drawing close to something ungraspable. Despite not being authenticated “art,” the paintings in the collection accomplish what art aims for but rarely achieves: the feeling of having come from a world beyond.
The Super Book for Super Heroes – An activity book for the superhero in all of us
The Super Book for Super Heroes
by Jason Ford
2013, 128 pages, 11.4 x 8.3 x 0.7
$13 Buy a copy on Amazon
I never had a coloring/activity book as good as this one when I was a kid. Illustrator Jason Ford has created a truly interactive book that invites you to complete drawings of robots, costumes, monsters, secret lairs, zap guns, sidekicks, superpowers, utility belt gadgets, weapons, vehicles, and secret messages. It also has punch-out masks and figures, and two pages of colorful stickers.
I suggest buying several copies of The Super Book (along with crayons, watercolors, and markers), turning off all electronics in the house, and having a blast with your family designing your own superhero universe.
— Mark Frauenfelder
Good morning and welcome to free comic book day!!
Head to your local comic book retailer, right now, today, and pick up your free copy of a brand-new issue of guardians of the galaxy by myself and Nick Bradshaw. cover by Sarah Pichelli
Portland people if you head over to Excalibur comics I have personally signed every single copy of guardians of the galaxy
sometime in the afternoon, I will also be bicycling around to other local stores to support my friends signings and if you happen to catch me I will have free comics on me.
I might even have a couple of copies of Miles Morales number one
Very cool candid photograph captured by a man out fishing:
Check out this amazing photo sent to REPTILES by Angus James! He caught this jungle perch in North Queensland, Australia…”As I was pulling my lure from the fish to release back into the water I noticed two little eyes looking back at me from inside the fish’s mouth. After capturing this picture, the little green tree frog leaped straight past my head onto the nearest tree. It was one of the coolest things I have seen in my life! This is one lucky frog!”
text from Reptiles facebook page