Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sketch of superhero-like dog inside Encyclopedia Brown book

Pictured above is little pencil sketch — about 2½ inches wide — that was tucked away inside a copy of Encyclopedia Brown Solves Them All.1

What do you think? To me, it looks a little bit like Underdog mixed with Rambo. The dog is walking upright on its back legs and appears to have a belt of bombs or grenades around his waist. He's clearly involved in an intense battle. A cloud, or perhaps a levitating tribble2, with a smiley face is shooting a bolt of lighting at the dog's nose. And there's another small bomb in front of our hero; either he just threw it, or it's coming at him. Zoinks!

It's possible the superhero dog has some sort of protective shield or cloak around him, but that might be taking the interpretive analysis a bit too far. (Not that I didn't already go too far with the gratuitous tribble mention.3)

I'm not sure what the two objects on the left-hand side of the drawing are. Those will have to remain shrouded in mystery.

I suspect this book has had multiple owners over the years, as it is the 1968 paperback edition from Scholastic Book Services. But one owner, and a possible identity of the Underdog artist, was Blane Hammond, who wrote his name on the book's title page and also crossed out and changed part of the book's name so that it became Encyclopedia Blane Solves Them All.4

For nostalgia's sake, and because I clearly don't have enough books, I'm going to start collecting Scholastic titles that were issued in the 1960s and 1970s. I'm hoping that, as an added bonus, I'll find some more gems like this drawing tucked away inside some of them.

1. There were 29 Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown books published between 1963 and 2012. This was the fifth in the series.
2. Levitating Tribble would be a good band name.
3. Gratuitous Tribble would also be a good band name.
4. Another encyclopedic Blaine was the sentient train from The Dark Tower saga.

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