SURE AS DEATH Willyum Rowe (1986)
The book is about the onset of the AIDS epidemic. Willyum Rowe cut up an old Victorian book and rearranged the type and pictures to make a poetic and tragic story about the decimation caused by HIV in the gay community in the early nineteen eighties. With different subject matter, Tom Phillips did similar things with his book Humument but unlike Phillips' book which was originally a screen-printed unique copy, later reproduced to make a book, this volume was always designed to be an offset artists' book.
Sure as Death is an artists' book published by Spaceheater Editions. Printed by offset lithography by Kevin Begos Printing in Rhinebeck, NY. Cased-in by hand by Phil Zimmermann in an edition of 500, though only about 150 were actually bound because of production problems. (Because of press issues, some of the beige second color was misregistered so the actual run that was bound for sale is significantly smaller.) The book was smythe-sewn by Fort Orange Bindery in Albany NY. I added foil-stamped spine material and then cased in the books. At the time that I published this book, no one I knew had ever seen this type of binding with the boards set back away from the separate spine material. I had seen a copy of a book like this at the Newberry Library in Chicago that had been bound in Germany in the 1930s. By now this type of binding has almost become a cliché but at the time it seemed quite radical and somewhat appropriate to the nature of Willyum's text.
The book is 7.25" x 5" with foil-stamped black Iris binding cloth spine and offset printed on Mohawk Superfine with board covers. Signed by Willyum Rowe and numbered. $60 plus shipping and applicable sales tax.