Tag Archives: Art Books

Review: ‘Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences’ by Matthew Christopher

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The immediate impact of these photographs is undeniable: Outrageous oblivion. Everything torn apart, inside and out. Nothing spared. Nothing redeemed. You quickly draw your own conclusions despite what your more sober thoughts might tell you. This is a book about total destruction, along with numerous more measured considerations. “Abandoned America” takes you on a most unusual journey with this collection of photography by Matthew Christopher, published by JonGlez Publishing.

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Filed under Art, Art books, JonGlez Publishing, Photography

Review: ‘World War 3 Illustrated 1979-2014,’ edited by Peter Kuper and Seth Tobocman

"War in the Neighborhood" by Seth Tobocman

“War in the Neighborhood” by Seth Tobocman

There is a stark beauty to be found in the 320 pages of this full-color special collection of comics, “World War 3 Illustrated 1979-2014,” published by PM Press and set for release this July. I call it a stark beauty for good reason. I think it is the most economical way to express the urgency and the severity of the issues being confronted. It’s also a quick way to say that this is thoughtful and vital art that you’ll find in this collection of some of the best work to appear in the semi-annual anthology, “World War 3 Illustrated.”

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Filed under Activism, Anthologies, Comics, Peter Kuper, World War 3 Illustrated

Book Review: ‘Art & Sole: A Spectacular Selection of More Than 150 Fantasy Art Shoes from the Stuart Weitzman Collection’ by Jane Gershon Weitzman

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David, a new assistant at Comics Grinder marched right into the offices of CG. He had a rather sheepish grin on his face. I wasn’t sure what to make of his quick familiarity. Like past friends of CG, he had a treat for us to consider. But he wasn’t going to give it up until he gave me a little grief. “Alright then,” David said, “you have a thing for feet, don’t you?”

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Filed under Art, Art books, Book Reviews, Books, Design, Fashion, Feet

Boom! Studios: Sergio Toppi’s ‘The Collector’ To Be Published in English

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The late Sergio Toppi, a legendary cartoonist, is being introduced to a whole new generation, thanks to Boom! Studios and its award-winning imprint, Archaia. Last year, SHARAZ-DE: TALES FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS was released. And now, we have the English translation to Toppi’s classic, THE COLLECTOR. It will be released in September. Details follow.

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Filed under Archaia, Boom! Studios, European Comics, Sergio Toppi

The Power of Comics: A Review of VINCENT by Barbara Stok

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VINCENT is an inviting look at Vincent Van Gogh, the epitome of the tortured artist. In this new graphic novel by Dutch illustrator Barbara Stok, we have a new look at this icon. Published by SelfMadeHero, as part of their exciting new Art Masters series, we find in these 144 pages another way to appreciate Van Gogh’s life and art and even get some clarity regarding the myth surrounding Van Gogh. The most infamous moment during his life is, of course, the cutting off of part of his ear. Popular belief has it as his strange way of proving his love for a local woman. However, we find here that is not the case.

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Filed under British Comics, Comics, European Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Self Made Hero

Review: ‘Legends of the Blues’ by William Stout

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You may know more names in blues than you think. There’s Billie Holiday, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters, to name a few. And, if those names don’t ring a bell, well, that’s alright. This collection featuring 100 profiles of all-time great blues musicians, big names or not, will give you a look at the big picture.

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William Stout has picked up where R. Crumb left off some years back in creating “trading card” portraits of blues legends. This has led to this beautiful and intriguing book published by Abrams ComicArts, “Legends of the Blues,” complete with Bonus CD! Here you have a very accessible guide to American blues with each portrait interconnected with the other. Each profile has an exquisitely drawn portrait, biography, and recommended songs attached to each performer.

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Read the profile of B.B. King and learn how the electric guitar made its way into blues, ushering in rock ‘n’ roll. It was thanks to T-Bone Walker, the first blues musician to use an electric guitar. That fact is just as fascinating as viewing Michael J. Fox, as Marty McFly, in “Back To The Future,” accidentally inventing rock ‘n’ roll. Read further and you learn about how King nearly lost a beloved acoustic guitar to a fire that started from a fight over a woman named, Lucille. As a reminder to never fight over a woman, each of King’s Gibson guitars has been given the name, Lucille.

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The stories here range from the tragic to the comical. Many are stories of lost childhood, like Billie Holiday; scrambling to carve out a career, like Robert Johnson; and ultimately finding fame fleeting and cruel, like Bessie Smith. And there are no end to interesting facts. One fine example is the story of Robert Petway. His claim to fame was his song, “Catfish Blues.” It was reworked by Muddy Waters and retitled, “Rollin Stone,” the namesake to one of England’s greatest rock bands of all time. As for Petway, the authorship of his hit song has been questioned and it is still unclear as to when he was born and when he died! Such is the life of a blues musician.

“Legends of the Blues” is a 224-page hardcover, with CD, priced at $19.95 U.S., published by Abrams ComicArts. You can find your copy here.

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Filed under Abrams ComicArts, Art, Art books, Blues, Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Illustration, Music, Rock 'n' Roll

Review: PEPITA: TAKEHIKO INOUE MEETS GAUDI

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I was introduced to the work of Gaudí in a very Woody Allen way. This was many years ago and I was on a date. We were very young and full of energy and dropping various names and titles to all the art we had consumed thus far in our little lives. “Oh, Gaudí!” It was the biggest name drop of them all for her since she had just returned from Spain. At the time, the best I could find was a book in the library. I put two and two togehter pretty quickly after that. And I have admired the work of Gaudí ever since.

If you go to Barcelona, you can’t help but find the enormous cathedral of Sagrada Família, the iconic Roman Catholic catheral which is regarded as one of the great wonders of the modern world even if, one hundred years since it was begun, it continues to grow. The legendary Spanish Modernist architect Antoni Gaudí continues, in spirit, to oversee construction.

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Today, the works of Gaudí hold their own very well with contemporary giants like Rem Koolhaus and Frank Gehry. Experimental and expressive architecture are more acceptable these days, even if you may still find an old guard of resistance. Artist Takehiko Inoue makes for a wonderful tour guide, with an open and animated spirit, in his recent book about his pilgrimage to the world and art of Gaudí, “Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudí,” published by VIZ Media and offered under the VIZ Signature imprint, priced at $24.99 U.S/ $28.99 CAN.

Takehiko Inoue is in a unique position to share his views on master architect Antoni Gaudí (1852 – 1926), the famous Spanish architect and leader of Catalan Modernism. An accomplished artist in his own right, Inoue is known for landmark manga titles, SLAM DUNK, REAL, and VAGABOND, all published by VIZ Media. Inoue approaches his subject with great enthusiasm and the insights of a fellow artist.

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What readers will find striking about this book is the various ways that Inoue comes to his subject: sketchbook drawings, notes, journal entries, more formal prose, photographs, and his own inimitable hyper-realistic artwork.

Above all, this is a refreshingly honest and open book. Inoue makes no claims to a lifelong affinity to Gaudí. In fact, he admits that the first time he saw the work of Gaudí, in 1992, it was as part of a rushed tour and he did not have a chance to develop any significant impressions. However, it was in 2011, that Inoue was determined to learn about the great master.

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What you’ll find in this book is such a variety of information from someone you quickly connect with. I’ve always been attracted to these type of books that present you with more than just the facts. You get the facts, to be sure. There is full documentation on Gaudí’s career, family, and where he lived and worked. What’s great is when you have a unique guide that will bring in a variety of unexpected facts. For instance, just consider the title of this book. Pepita? Who are what is that? Well, buried within the book is the answer. Not to spoil anything, I think it helps a lot to go ahead and know what that means. The definition of “pepita” is “fruit seed” and that is meant to describe Inoue’s journey, to find the fruit seed to Gaudí’s creativity. It is also the nickname of Gaudí’s one and only sweetheart! Now, try finding that in your typical book on Gaudí.

“Pepita: Takehiko Inoue Meets Gaudí” is a 108-page hardcover, priced at $24.99. You can find it here.

For more information on other Takehiko Inoue titles available from VIZ Media, please visit www.viz.com.

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Filed under Antoni Gaudí, Architecture, Art, Manga, Takehiko Inoue, Travel, VIZ Media

SHORT RUN: Seattle Indie Comics and the Start of a New Seattle Tradition

Curators Eroyn Franklin and Kelly Froh, pictured above, did it again with the second annual Short Run Small Press Fest. Held at The Vera Project in Seattle Center, Small Run was an awesome gathering of artists and writers: comics, zines art books, animation, independent talent from the Northwest that you just know is good. What follows is a sampling of what Short Run was like this year.

As a cartoonist, I definitely felt at home with this crowd. The Vera Project is a cozy venue for this event providing an intimate yet ample space, the size of a higher end club or restaurant. At times, it got a bit crowded but nothing to worry about, especially if you’ve gone to any convention-type setting. Here, you’re talking a laid back vibe that will see you through very nicely.

For me, Short Run already is quintessential Seattle, bringing together the unique creative spirit of this area. It is on track to becoming a new Seattle tradition.

Randy Wood, pictured above, was one of a number of stellar talent at Short Run this year. Here he is showing off one of his collected books of his “Kitties!” comic strip.

Here is a copy of “The Intruder,” a free newspaper full of local comics talent.

Stefan Gruber was here this year, along with other animators. This is a flipbook of his entitled, “Tiger Wave,” based on a dream. Check out Mr. Gruber and Seattle Experimental Animation Team.

Breanne Boland has a new comic out, “Drawing Bitchface,” a guide on how to make the most of putting on a proper, “bitchface.”

Aron Nels Steinke had his new collection out, “Big Plans,” published by Bridge City Comics. “Mr. Fox” is one of his self-published gems.

The Vera Project is a fascinating place with much to offer like its silkscreen classes and use of its silkscreen studio! Here is Eric Carnell, who helps to keep things moving along at The Vera Project’s silkscreen studio.

Cartoonist Nicole Georges provides much needed advice.

A great time had by all. See you next year at Short Run.

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Filed under Art books, Comics, Comix, Eroyn Franklin, Indie, Kelly Froh, Seattle, Short Run Small Press Fest, Zines