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W.A. Dwiggins, aka William Addison Dwiggins

w.a. dwiggins William Addison Dwiggins, also known as W.A. Dwiggins, is one of those severely unrepresented crossmedia obscurantist polymathic creators from the midcentury. His work as an artist and author and printer was primarily overshadowed by the fact of his commercial work who studied under the type designer Frederic W. Goudy, as the proselytizer of a rebirth of the Gothic in typeface. A clear font-nerd, he was an outspoken critic of the trendy (circa 1920’s) sans serif typefaces. But his career in advertising and as a typeface designer for the Mergenthaler Linotype Company overshadows the most important part of his life: his authorship of volumes of a blend of science fiction plays and melodrama. A case in point being Millennium 1, A Meldorama by W.A. Dwiggins. Printed during the war years in 1945, the front flap copy states: “Millennium I opens with ‘Homogrub’ living in caves, hiding from the rational machines which are not only in complete control but possess new and almost incredibly powerful means of destruction. But rebellion among men grows – first in the form of individual acts of sabotage, and then in a daring expedition by a small group into the very HEART OF THE MECHANIZED WORLD.” [emphasis mine]. Further on, the flap-copy continues, “This highly original little play has implications for our technologically-minded age. It is also extraordinarily vivid and stimulating to the imagination.” The cast list has characters named such things as: ∞, Action 5, Δ15, .33+, N77, and Peter. The illustrations he did inside are exotically wonderful. Can we PLEASE get some of this stuff out of the out-of-print bin? grumble grumble grumble.

March 1, 2008
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