Printing of the PotVQ
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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:14 pm 
 

A short investigation into the printing of Palace of the Vampire Queen 1st Edition Without Cover

I have had my PoVQ on a light table and under a UV blanket.

Here is what I've found.

There is a differentiation in the black buildup in the large areas of scrollwork, and it follows a blocky stroke pattern, but both black inks reflect the same quality of light. They are made from the same ink, just laid down in different densities. To the naked eye, they both look jet black, so what we are talking about here is differentiations in the density of that black, and the paterns formed within the black.

In the larger black areas of scrollwork, the black is less dense, and it increases in density at the edges as it reached the drawing detail.

This manifestation within the blacks cannot be produced in a pressed printing process. It can only be produced as a result of light interpretation of a document. You see what has been produced is a facsimile of a man made artifact within the drawing buildup.

The artist has a sheet of paper, tracing paper or vellum (most likely paper in this case), and he does a lot of detailed scrollwork around the border. This is done in indian ink (or some other high density high black ink) with a fine pen (most likely a drawing pen as used by Architects and the likes).

He is left with a large expanse of white in the middle of his page that he wants to fill in with black, so he lays down an equally black fill with a magic marker in slow even parallel strokes. He has to stop short at the edges so he doesn't hit the detailled scrollwork. The size and shape of the magic marker nib create a castelated blocky edge (like saw teeth) and he then fills these in with his fine detail pen in indian ink.

The naked eye sees only black because he's been very careful. But when it is printed from his master, it is Xeroxed (to coin an American phrase). The Xerox machine can see the difference between the two inks, because it sees the difference in the reflect lights returned from the different inks, and it reproduces that effect in the toner it deposits on the page.

Now, to the naked eye, it still seems jet black, but on the light table I can see that the toner has been deposited in diferent densities in the patern described, and under the UV bed, I can tell that the ink is uniform in quality.

So here's an hypothesis.


You have a single master artwork sheet with scrollwork, a blacked out centre panel and a blank scroll on the bottom.

You then photocopy this master to produce half a dozen scrollwork blank border sheets. You fill in any degradation in the photocopy with black ink and put the individual level titles into the blank scrolls at the bottom.

Then you paste the maps of the individual levels into the centre of the appropriate sheets.

Add these to the type written test, content and copyright pages, and you have a master copy of your module.

There are other manifestations in the layout of the module that support this hypothesis, but I imagine people may be getting bored with this now.

From this master you can then run off endless copies. However, the paste-ups with the scrollwork do not lend themselves to either manual or automated duplexing. They are thick and probably not pasted at the extreme edges.

There weren't that many photocopy shops in the Mid '70s. Xeroxing was expensive and considered the new and more efficient technology for printers. The economics of putting photocopiers in shops had not been realised.

Side Note: I don't think we can differenciate between the single sided 1st edition copies and the double-sided versions either. So we're left with '1st edition with' and '1st edition without' black folder. It's most likely that these were exported to the UK as well.

Now I come on to the 3rd printing (which should IMO be labelled the 2nd printing).

2 years on, and Xeroxing has become more mainstream. They are in offices and they are in copy shops in big cities. They now colate and duplex automatically.

So TSR want to run PoVQ and re-market it. You don't want the expense of the black folder because in all probablility it was published at a loss. You can't auto duplex from the original master, so you have to auto duplex from a 1st generation copy instead. Combined with a cheap looking cover, the slight degradation of the 2nd generation photocopies results in a slightly cheaper copy all round, dispite better quality photocopying and thinner smoother papers.

Also, publishing from a 1st generation copy meant that they were no longer restriced to the single master paste up, and UK releases could be printed in the UK. It wouldn't surprise me of there is a difference in the paper quality, or even colour between the UK and US copies (although if that were the case I'd have expected the UK copies to be A4 size).

I suspect the second print run (3rd as per Acaeum) was very small to meet local demand and test the water before committing resouses to publishing the gazette sized books. The gazette size is a complete re-draughting and retyping of the entire module, whereas the 2nd printrun is a producion of the original 1976 manuscript.

Well, that's what I believe at the moment. I am now looking for evidence to disprove this.


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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:50 pm 
 

Very interesting.  Have you seen the photos of Bella's copy, and if so, any thoughts on it?



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Stephen

  

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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:07 pm 
 

hey ian and you said you were busy working eh  :wink:  of course you were my friend!  :P



  

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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:16 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:hey ian and you said you were busy working eh :wink: of course you were my friend! :P


Hi Alan.

How's your Judges Guild warehouse coming along?



I wrote that about a fortnight ago.

I just thought I'd kick of the conversation with David and Stephen receiving their copies shortly, and the others owned by those on the board.

I'd like to see if my print theory is true. Would be useful if I could find someone in the UK with a confirmed 3rd printing (2nd printing) for comparison.



As regards the copy Stephen bought, if it looks like a duck and sound like a duck...

It's certainly the right colour as bclarke so subtly noted.


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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 3:20 pm 
 

well with all the useful investigative work you did there on your one - if we can get some information similar to that from the others, it might finally give way to some sensible scenario with regards to order of print etc?



its a very interesting road ahead here i think....looking forward to any further comments that might be forthcoming about the others.



  

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Post Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:37 pm 
 

I already gave my info. As far as I am concerned, there is only one 1st print, the foldered version.


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:54 am 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:I already gave my info. As far as I am concerned, there is only one 1st print, the foldered version.


What I was offering here was an evaluation of the printing methods used to produce the early PoVQs and hoping for other opinions on that matter.



With/Without folder is a different matter. I doubt there is anyone here who would argue that the foldered version was not the original intended presentation of PoVQ, and I believe the foldered version will ultimately be the one that attracts higher prices because of it.



As a side note, Deadlord. If you lost the folder to your PoVQ, would that then make it a 2nd printing, or would it remain a first printing with no folder?


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 5:36 am 
 

Unfoldered 1st. The 2nd printing was the one with the yellow cover sheet.


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 7:30 am 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:The 2nd printing was the one with the yellow cover sheet.


We have seen no evidence of this other than the recollection of some guy who told a story about someone he knew wanting to buy one once in the mid to late 70's.



We should not consider such hearsay and rumour as evidence or fact.



On to the question in hand. Do you think your copy was printed on a printing press, or run off on an early Xerox?


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:28 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:On to the question in hand. Do you think your copy was printed on a printing press, or run off on an early Xerox?




How would you be able to tell?

  

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 11:29 am 
 

Wait a minute, now I'm confused. You say that the Acaeum version is correct, yet you consider the yellow-cover version a 2nd print.... If someone with a black folder version performs your test, and the pages are the same, then it would probably mean a single run.

We shouldn't consider it as evidence or fact? What "evidence or fact" has ever been presented to say that the "unfoldered" version is the first print? It wasn't "a friend of a friend", it was a man I spoke with personally.

Gah, this is why I was not even going to bring up the conversation I had with him. Now everyone with an unfoldered version will chirp in and insist that it was the first. Next time someone asks me why I say the black-folder is a 1st print, I say nothing.

So what you are looking for is for someone with a 1st print, I mean black foldered version, to subject it to the same test?


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:16 pm 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:Wait a minute, now I'm confused. You say that the Acaeum version is correct, yet you consider the yellow-cover version a 2nd print.... If someone with a black folder version performs your test, and the pages are the same, then it would probably mean a single run.

We shouldn't consider it as evidence or fact? What "evidence or fact" has ever been presented to say that the "unfoldered" version is the first print? It wasn't "a friend of a friend", it was a man I spoke with personally.

Gah, this is why I was not even going to bring up the conversation I had with him. Now everyone with an unfoldered version will chirp in and insist that it was the first. Next time someone asks me why I say the black-folder is a 1st print, I say nothing.

So what you are looking for is for someone with a 1st print, I mean black foldered version, to subject it to the same test?


I suspect there were two separate printings of the 8.5"x11" version of PoVQ. I believe the first generation prints were printed from a single master paste up, and that any selecation of coloured paper of duplexing was done by hand. I suspect ther second print run (labeled as 3rd printing by Acaeum) was a small print run done to test the waters to see whether the product was worth remarketing, and that this print run was done with auto-dupleexing on more advanced Xerox machines than the first.


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 12:19 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:
Deadlord36 wrote:Wait a minute, now I'm confused. You say that the Acaeum version is correct, yet you consider the yellow-cover version a 2nd print.... If someone with a black folder version performs your test, and the pages are the same, then it would probably mean a single run.

We shouldn't consider it as evidence or fact? What "evidence or fact" has ever been presented to say that the "unfoldered" version is the first print? It wasn't "a friend of a friend", it was a man I spoke with personally.

Gah, this is why I was not even going to bring up the conversation I had with him. Now everyone with an unfoldered version will chirp in and insist that it was the first. Next time someone asks me why I say the black-folder is a 1st print, I say nothing.

So what you are looking for is for someone with a 1st print, I mean black foldered version, to subject it to the same test?


I suspect there were two separate printings of the 8.5"x11" version of PoVQ. I believe the first generation prints were printed from a single master paste up, and that any selecation of coloured paper of duplexing was done by hand. I suspect ther second print run (labeled as 3rd printing by Acaeum) was a small print run done to test the waters to see whether the product was worth remarketing, and that this print run was done with auto-dupleexing on more advanced Xerox machines than the first.




So where would that place the black-foldered version?

  

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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:06 pm 
 

I think that sounds logical. The yellow-cover version is much rarer.


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:21 pm 
 

afoolandhis$ wrote:So where would that place the black-foldered version?


I believe the black folder is the presentation packaging of choice for the first print run, with the ziplock bag being used to deal with either late delivery of the black folders, or excess stock of the first edition.


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:48 pm 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:I think that sounds logical. The yellow-cover version is much rarer.


Do you mean the yellow cover first or the yellow hand drawn cover 3rd?

I believe that what Acaeum presently call the first and second printings are in fact the same printing, the first print.

That would make the one Stephen just bought the second printing, probably the rarest, only being produced before TSR decided whether or not to commit to typesetting and printing the module in booklet form.


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Post Posted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 4:10 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:
That would make the one Stephen just bought the second printing, probably the rarest, only being produced before TSR decided whether or not to commit to typesetting and printing the module in booklet form.




Uhhh, this is what I have been saying for years.............. Two printings of the non-booklet version, two of the booklet.


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