n/p (London, England & San Francisco, CA); New York, NY: William S. Burroughs; Malcolm McNeill; Abrams, 1973; 2011. Original Manuscript; Original Artwork; First Edition. Three Single Sheets in One Frame; Hardcover. Original text & artwork by William S. Burroughs & Malcolm McNeill. During the early 1970s, French-Canadian humorist & impresario Michel Choquette planned a compilation of comic strips that would all relate to the just-past decade of the 1960s. He enlisted the participation of 169 artists & writers for this project, including many of the most notable under-&-aboveground figures who defined that tumultuous, eventful decade. Among those contributors was Malcolm McNeill, a British-born artist. McNeill in turn solicited William S. Burroughs, the Beat-&-Beyond writer whom we most revere, then living in London. WSB & McNeill had first collaborated on the series of paneled illustrations entitled "The Unspeakable Mr Hart" which were published in the early English underground comic, "Cyclops." In this series, McNeill portrayed texts by WSB that were not themselves included in the artwork. For the Choquette project, WSB sent a one-page letter to McNeill dated January 15, 1973. The letter begins with this introductory paragraph after the greeting (not including over-corrections of misspelled words): "I have seen Michel Cgoquette's (sic) layout which look (sic) quite good./ I am leaving for Morocco tomorrow for a few days. / Here is my rough script on the page which he proposes which / I think would be good prestige ways." Interestingly, McNeill notes in correspondence with us: "Bill appears to have been somewhat lit when he wrote it." The next, longer & last full paragraph is a quintessential Burroughsian short routine, based on an actual, disturbing scientific experiment (see below). McNeill drew a two-panel artwork, which included the text of the routine in WSB's letter on the first panel & its portrayal through his illustrations. The Choquette project remained unpublished until 2011, when it was finally issued as "The Someday Funnies," a large hardcover volume. Shortly after this collaboration, WSB & McNeill worked together as writer & illustrator respectively on "Ah Pook is Here," which had a similar fate. WSB's text alone was published during the late 1970s in the UK, but McNeill's extensive artwork was not until 2012, as "The Lost Art of Ah Pook is Here" (Fantagraphics Books), where the Choquette-commissioned collaboration is reproduced; along with a companion volume, "Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook, and Me." We are very proud to offer: (1) WSB's original letter to McNeill, typed & with hand-corrections & inscription (unsigned). (2) two-panel original artwork incorporating & portraying the text of (1) by Malcolm McNeill. Both (1) & (2) are mounted in one frame together by McNeill, hand-signed & dated in 2016 by him at lower right margin of front matte. Total size with frame: 36" x 20". (3) A first edition/first printing of "The Someday Funnies" (Abrams, 2011) which has an image of WSB's letter on pg. 20; & of McNeill's artwork on pgs. 44-45, colored-in & with an added illustration by Michael Fog in what is a blank area of the original first panel, part of a series that depicts Choquette's adventures & travails with the project that are interjected throughout the volume as a parallel narrative. McNeil & especially WSB are also mentioned here & there throughout the book, including brief biographies on pgs. 186-187. Also on the former page is this information on the subject of WSB's text & McNeill's art: "In the 1960s, Spanish physiologist Jose Manuel Rodriguez Delgado conducted experiments in which he used radio signals to activate his "stimoceiver"- a device consisting of electrodes implanted in the brains of animals- to provoke emotional and behavioral responses. In his most flamboyant experiment, he stepped into a bull ring at a Cordoba breeding facility and stopped a charging bull in its tracks by switching off its aggressive intent with a stimoceiver embedded in the bovine's hypothalamus." An outstanding group of original, one-of-a-kind productions, the results of mutual inspiration between the greatest Beat-&-Beyond prophet of all time & a gifted, empathetic artist-interpreter. (1) in fair-good condition with two horizontal creases where originally folded into thirds; numerous creases, stains & spotting on surface, moderate wear, bumping at all corners & edges; one small tear-fold at upper mid-right edge; one small, closed tear each at middle-segment areas of left & right edges; two tiny gauges at upper & lower right edges; one tiny hole near right edge in top segment; series of marks & squiggles at lower left area of surface that appear to have been made with watercolor paint, which are not shown on image of letter published in (3), & therefore are likely by McNeill during the creative process in his studio. None of the above effects legibility of typed or hand-written text, & it should be noted that most if not all of the above is the result of WSB's (mis-) handling while "lit" as McNeill put it- the letter has literally been BEATen by Burroughs, so to speak, & therefore aspects of it that would usually decrease desirability do the opposite here in our firm opinion. (2) Both panels in very fine condition with only lightest wear, smudges & spotting at mostly blank margins, edges & corners, possibly partly the result of McNeill's drawing process; discoloration of most of originally white paper surface which is certainly part of the artist's process. At mid-right margin of second panel, there is hand-written, presumably in McNeill's hand: "William S. Burroughs (dot) Malcolm McNeill." Brushed chrome frame, white matte, glass & backing for (1) & (2) all in very fine condition with only very slight bulging at upper edge of stiff board backing, which consists of three segments held together with masking tape. (3) In very fine condition, both book (inside & out) & dust jacket substantially mint.
Additional shipping and handling charges will be required for the framed artwork. Good; Very Fine; Very Fine / Very fine. [Item #2860]