Some (somewhat) Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Are your dust-jackets marked as facsimiles, replicas or reconstructions?
Yes. I have always made sure to mark the jackets in order to be bibliographically accurate. When I started this project in 1999 there were not a lot of high quality facsimile dust-jackets on the market, though there were a lot of people using color photocopies that were taped together and wrapped around the book. The color reproduction on these was pretty garish, but for someone who had never seen an original it was probably very hard to tell. I believe that all reputable book dealers have always been very specific about whether a dust-jacket was a facsimile or not. There are a number of sites on the web that try to explain how to tell an original from an inkjet or other digitally printed reproduction. I'm thinking of adding such a visual comparison page on this site.
2. Why do you use white paper for your jackets? Shouldn't they be sort of yellowish to show that they are old?
There are a few reasons, actually. The yellowed paper on original jackets just shows that they have aged. When the dust-jackets were new, the paper was white. My jackets are new, they are not masquerading as antiques. In a number of cases, since they have been reconstructed with clean scans of the original paintings, my dust-jackets are sharper and show more detail than the originals. In only one case, for THE RETURN OF TARZAN jacket, do I print a tone to simulate a cream stock and that is because the sample which I have personally held and studied was of a darker cream than any of the other A.C. McClurg jackets I have seen.
Another reason is quality. In order for the Epson inks to look their best and last a long time it is important to use the right paper for printing. Most inkjet papers are made to be used by photographers and, consequently, are too thick to wrap around a book. So I use Epson's Premium Glossy Photo Paper (170) a 44lb., 7 mil. paper which, as far as I've tested, maintains it's whiteness and gives a high degree of color brightness and stability while being flexible enough to work as a dust-jacket.
Finally, printing on traditional coated or calendared offset papers is unfeasable for inkjet printing. The resin-coated base of a paper designed for inkjet ensures color fidelity and maximum fade protection. The matte paper which I am making available for the four Metropolitan Books dust-jackets is also optimized for the inks I use and is able to reproduce the colors of the art as it is intended (something that Metropolitan themselves had problems with from the variety of printings that I've seen).
3. What is the difference between the Regular Edition TARZAN OF THE APES LETTERPRESS dust-jacket and the Signature Edition?
When I finished the TOA Letterpress dj I asked the late Danton Burroughs, Edgar Rice Burroughs' grandson, who had supplied me with a high resolution scan of his first edition jacket, if I could issue a special edition with ERB's signature on it. Danton had the original signature stamp that ERB used to endorse all his checks and that was what was used on the front flap of 100 jackets of the print run. The Regular Edition is only lacking that signature stamp. Out of a press run of 500, 100 were stamped with the signature (the Signature Edition), 300 were not (the Regular Edition) and 100 were left untrimmed to be offered as framable fine art prints.
4. Do you have dust-jackets for any other authors besides Edgar Rice Burroughs?
Right now I don't try to do any others, although I do have a number of other fantasy, adventure and science-fiction jackets in my collection. It's always worth asking.
5. What is Digital Restoration?
One of the chief directives of document and art restoration is that the materials and techniques used be reversible in that the original object should not be harmed by chemicals, inks or substances that will damage the piece in any way. Over the years I have seen many a dust-jacket and book "repaired" with every kind of tape, or "touched up" with everything from felt markers, wax crayons, acrylic paint and colored pencils. These unfortunate techniques only serve to destroy the object in the long run and certainly reduce its value. Professional conservators and paper restorers can charge thousands of dollars to painstakingly touch up a dust-jacket cover, matching the paper to fill in missing pieces and redrawing or painting the art to match flawlessly.
Since the advent of high resolution scanners and archival inkjet inks, the technology has become available to make very exact reproductions of any kind of printed ephemera, from photographs to posters, prints and dust-jackets. DIGITAL RESTORATION is the use of computer imaging and printing technology to bring back to life the impact and intention of the original art without in any way compromising the original. There is certainly a market and a desire for reproductions of all kinds of art, but often the quality is less than what one might expect. The technology is here, but very often the skill is lacking.
I rely on my over 40 years of hands-on drawing, painting and computer skills as an artist and designer to guide me in the restoration and reconstruction of these dust-jackets to provide those who cannot afford an original to be able to present the books in their collection at their best.