From whence the comic comes

I received a lovely email recently from Joanne, a reference librarian in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Joanne had a problem: her library had to get rid of some old books, and she had to find homes for them! Well, as you might imagine, this is hardly a problem for me, as I told her to send them on over.

And send them she did! Look at this delightful packing job. These books arrived in amazing condition and I eagerly flipped through them hunting for jewels.

Comic #648, the latest as of this writing, was created entirely from images taken from the book on the right, 1896′s Kate Carnegie by Ian MacLaren. Here’s a closer view at some of the original images.

Thank you very much, Joanne! And thank you to Toni, who just sent me a CD full of scans from 1882′s Collier’s Cyclopedia of Social and Commercial Information. Thank you to the kind chap whom I met at Comic-Con and who gave me an illustration of a man’s leg being amputated — that is just waiting to find a home in Wondermark somewhere. Thank you to Douglas who alerted me to a particularly great eBay find; thank you to Conch in Portland who brought me a whole stack of books at last year’s Wordstock (from whence came this); and to David in Colorado who sent me a massive box of 1880s Scientific American that I’ve been mining for years.

Guys I get the best mail


  • http://www.talesofmaora.com adAm

    Wow. There seems to be NO END to these old books. Who thought they were so busy in the 1800′s?

  • Pip

    I will send you a million trillion engravings on the joyous day when you say “whence” without making it “from whence”.

  • David Malki !

    I’m going to play the “idiom” card on that one:

    http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-fro2.htm

  • Toni

    I’m glad you got the CD. I’ll keep a sharp eye out for more curiosities!

  • cait

    jealous~ lucky you! older books are neat and silly, I have myself a little growing collection, although, non from 1880, just one from 1901 and a few other from turn of the century <3

  • http://reallifeartist.wordpress.com Chloë

    I was jovially but honestly accused (and it was quite a compliment) of being responsible for this beautiful envelope, mostly because I am sometimes a calligrapher/illustrator, I heart Wondermark, and I too live in Halifax, NS. What I want to know is: where are you Joanne, and can we be friends or what? :)

  • Margaret

    Delightful, David! And I know Chloe and it does remarkably resemble her work!!!
    (btw, “from whence” is redundant.)

  • http://sigg3.net Sigg3

    Toni, any chance you could put it on a torrent tracker?
    I assume it is public domain.