Over at the Believer Logger, the first part of an extended exploration of the the never-published-in-full creative co-construction between Malcolm Mc Neill and William S. Burroughs, known as Ah Pook is Here, has just been published (October 28, 2014).
There were two smaller works that also profiled the Mc Neill- Burroughs collaboration prior to Mc Neill’s memoir, Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook and Me, and The Lost Art of Ah Pook: Images from the Graphic Novel (Fantagraphics, 2012). The text included in both volumes was virtually identical, though the formats of each were quite different.
In 2009, the artwork designed by Mc Neill to accompany Burroughs’ text was exhibited at Track 16 Gallery in Los Angeles. This is where Gray Groth, co-founder of Fantagraphics Books, first saw Mc Neill’s art and consequently expressed an interest in publishing Mc Neill’s work in a more extensive publication. A hardcover volume called The Lost Art of Ah Pook is Here was published to accompany the show.
The Lost Artwork of Ah Pook is Here was published in a limited run of 125 copies in chapbook format by The Beat Scene Press.
Here is the description of that work taken from the website:
Coventry, England: The Beat Scene Press, 2012. Limited First Edition. Staplebound. “In 1970 Malcolm McNeill [sic] received a phone call from a man who asked to meet “the guy who knows how to draw me.” The caller was William S. Burroughs. McNeill had recently illustrated a Burroughs text called “The Unspeakable Mr. Hart” for the underground paper Cyclops…(WSB & McNeill) discussed extending their collaboration into a book. McNeill was just 23, Burroughs was 56, and the project- tentatively titled Ah Puch- would last for seven more years.” (from the introduction).
In this booklet, Number 36 in the Beat Scene Press Pocket Book Series published in the UK by Kevin Ring, McNeill looks back on his experience working with WSB. The collaborative project ultimately failed, “but knowing and working with Bill Burroughs was above all characterized by its humor…he was simply the funniest guy I had ever met.” Published in August 2012 in an edition of 125 copies, this is copy #12. As new, a most important piece of the WSB puzzle for the scholar-collector. As New. [Item #1696]
Many thanks to Malcolm Mc Neill for drawing my attention to these works.