WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.
Gerald Guerlais (Foreword), Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi (Foreword) Sketchtravel
The Sketchtravel is a unique international charity art project. This red sketchbook was passed from one artist’s hand to another like an Olympic torch in an artistic relay through 12 countries over 4 and half years.
A total of 71 artists, over the course of 4.5 years, contributed to this traveling museum, including Bill Plympton, Enrico Casarosa, John Howe, James Jean, Scott Campbell, Dice Tsutsumi, Peter de Seve, character designers Carter Goodrick and Nicolas Marlet, veteran animators like Glean Keane and even Koji Morimoto and Hayao Miyazaki.
Can you say “an easy and essential purchase at the price”? Something of a one of a kind collectible.
The Frazetta Sketchbook [Hardcover]
Frank Frazetta (Author), J. David Sopurlock (Author) The Frazetta Sketchbook
It’s Frazetta, and it’s an artbook. What more do you need?
Big John Buscema: Comics & Drawings [Hardcover]
Publication Date: July 3, 2012 Big John Buscema: Comics & Drawings
John Buscema has been called one of the finest comic artists who ever put pen to paper. His work for Marvel Comics on The Avengers, Thor, The Fantastic Four, and Silver Surfer are all classics, highly regarded by fans from around the world. The same is true for his definitive rendition of Conan the Barbarian – Buscema breathed life into Robert E. Howard’s legendary creation in a manner that has rarely been rivaled. IDW is proud to announce the first American publication of John Buscema: Comics & Drawings, a special edition of the fine art catalog created for the most extensive exhibition of Buscema’s art ever staged. Weighing in at nearly 300-pages, this gorgeous hardcover book is a dream come true for fans of the visual mastery of John Buscema, an artist who’s ilk we are unlikely to see again.
Prometheus: The Art of the Film [Hardcover]
Mark Salisbury (Author), Ridley Scott (Foreword)Prometheus: The Art of the Film
Visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott returns to the genre he helped define, creating an original science fiction epic set in the most dangerous corners of the universe. The movie takes a team of scientists and explorers on a thrilling journey that will test their physical and mental limits and strand them on a distant world, where they will discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life’s ultimate mystery.
With an introduction by Scott himself, this lavish book will be the only publication to accompany Prometheus. Stunning production art and behind the scenes photos will grant the reader a window on the process of creating this astounding new epic.
I’m not really a fan of movie art books. In fact I own a grand total of zero, but I am quite impressed by the visuals on this film. Enough to make this art-book a definite possibility.
Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth [Hardcover]Genius, Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth
Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell continue their comprehensive review of the life and art of Alex Toth in Genius, Illustrated. Covering the years from the 1960s to Toth”s poignant death in 2006, this oversized 9.5″ v 13″ book features artwork and complete stories from Toth”s latter-day work at Warren, DC Comics, Red Circle, Marvel, and his own creator-owned properties, plus samples of his animation work for Hanna-Barbera, Ruby-Spears, and others, as well as sketchbook pages, doodles, advertising art, and other rarities provided through the cooperation of Toth”s family and his legion of fans.
Two of Toth”s best stories are reproduced complete from the original artwork: “Burma Skies” and “White Devil… Yellow Devil.” A full-length text biography will chart the path from Toth”s increasingly-reclusive lifestyle to his touching re-connection to the world in his final years. Fans of comics, cartoons, and all-around great artwork revere Alex Toth. See why Genius, Illustrated – along with its companion volume, 2011”s Genius, Isolated – are being praised as the definitive examination of the life and art of The Master, Alex Toth. Volume 2 of a definitive three-volume series.
Graphistes World Artbook 01- This artbook (223 pages) edited by Oracom Editions is a fine selection of francophones digital artists! The book is available in a lot of bookstores and of course on line via Amazon or FNAC. This is a really handsome object full of inspirations and talented artists. French language book.
Listen to me. Listen to me as if I’m Cerberus, barking with all his heads. Buy this Book. If you love art. Specifically of the Beksinski/dark surrealism variety, this is an art-book for you! (And yes that opening line is from KISS ME DEADLY :). If you have issues finding this book leave me a comment and I can help you with that. )
The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!
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Your helpful purchases through those links, generates much appreciated pennies to keep this blog running. Your feedback and support… just way cool, and way appreciated. Thanks!
I have, much to the dismay of the queasy in my family, framed Walkuski posters in my house. Oddly enough I don’t gravitate to most of Walkuski’s posters, but the following three are very Beksinskiesque which is probably why I like them.
View more of Walkuski’s posters here.
This was a relatively easy list to decide on. My 3 favorite artbook purchases of 2011 were:
3. Zdzislaw Beksinski- I’m putting this on the list even though this isn’t a 2011 publication. Finally managed to pick up this 1992 English Language House Arkady (love that name) printing of BEKSINSKI.
1. REBUS- My number one artbook of 2011 comes from Chronicle Books, and is the drop dead gorgeous James Jean’s
REBUS. Having had this for a month I do not get tired of flipping though those stunning red gilded pages. The book is a work of art just in terms of design, even before you get to the art within, which is masterful, and beautiful, and disturbing. Just simply gorgeous. Trust me, If you at all have an interest in artbooks, you need to own this one. Highest recommendation.
There you go. Come back next installment as I start looking at 2012 artbooks to put on your must buy list! Price your copies by clicking on the links below:
Been listening to episodes of SFF AUDIO, a Science Fiction Feed Podcast that covers all things scifi, from scifi readings to interviews to reviews and much more. Today I caught two episodes that share a common theme… Opium.
The first story is a great reading of WHO’S THERE by Fitz James O’Brien, brought to us by the host of another great short story podcast HYPNOBOBS, Jim Moon.
The second is the H.P. Lovecraft story, THE CRAWLING CHAOS excellently read by Wayne June, (Episode #138)
Far less interesting is the dissection of the latter story, that succeeds it on that particular episode, led by two pedantic hosts.
While it’s nice to hear both Jim Moon and Wayne June as guest commentators on that particular discussion, they are both performers with great voices, the aforementioned hosts, whose names escape me, aren’t that melodious, and while they don’t have to be, I do find their over-analysis of the Lovecraft short story grating rather than enlightening.
But that’s more than likely just me, as I tend to think like many creators that the two most meaningless, tiresome things you can ask of a creative person is “what does it mean” (Beksinski the painter particularly hated this question) and “where do you get your ideas from” (Harlan Ellison among others has had very little love for this question, from those for whom no explanation is enough).
While I am by no means a Lovecraft fan, I do acknowledge him, in his better moments, as a visionary, influenced by others such as the aforementioned Fitz James OBrien, and as such there is an ineffable quality in his work, the nature of the mystery, that to each reader is a bit unique. And to try too hard to decipher or lock down that mystery, to try to cross every ‘t’, and dot every ‘i’, which is what I took away from the post discussion, is to risk cataloging it with their heads, while missing it with their hearts.
It’s that pedantic nature to the dissection, which I find appropriate to accounting or taxes but… inappropriate and indeed anathema to the experience of art.
Perhaps proof that knowledge is not understanding.
That’s my take on it, your mileage may vary.
So great reading, but, my take, avoid the discussion afterwards.
Otherwise both episodes make for great listening.
Listen to episodes here!
What if we’re wrong
What if we’re wrong, about all the plodding dreams of man
What if we’re wrong
If someone held a gun to your, (have always hated guns, a coward’s weapon. But it is a coward’s world… so you play the hand you’re dealt)
If someone held a gun to your head
in this place, in this time, in this moment
And gave you 5 seconds to name your favorite art book, or they pull the trigger
What would you say
What would you say
Which would you name
It’s a question that would only hold terror to a rabid collector of art books, to a lover of art
The uncaring rabble, such a question would not be wasted on
But for you
You happy few
For whom beauty matters
they will come to you, with their shiny boots, and flags of flying, and drums a beating, and torches lit, and guns a ready… and say choose one, to save from this new bonfire of the vanities.
Which would you choose
For me I didn’t even need 3
The title came out of my mouth unbidden
And the dream evaporated
like the remnants of sweet on tongue
I had said Beksinski
And I woke from the dream, neither laughing nor screaming, but listening… to the sound of drums… coming nearer.
“In the medieval tradition, Beksinski seems to believe art to be a forewarning about the fragility of the flesh– whatever pleasures we know are doomed to perish– thus, his paintings manage to evoke at once the process of decay and the ongoing struggle for life. They hold within them a secret poetry, stained with blood and rust.” –director Guillermo Del Toro
I’ve been singing the praise of Zdzislaw Beksinski since 1998 when Morpheus International introduced his art to those outside Poland by publishing THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI.
Twelve years later and Beksinski’s work is more well known to the point where there are films and filmmakers singing his praises, bands doing albums to him, and additional art books produced about him. Sad that this increased exposure couldn’t arrive while he was still alive.
However, that injustice aside, I’m glad the art books and product are, in the wake of his demise, finding an audience. The work of Beksinski deserves to… persist.
One recent art book is BEKSINSKI 1 by publisher Bosz Art. A 2009 printing, which I only recently received. Having loved THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI, (it remains 12 years later, and hundreds of art books later, my essential art book) I had constantly been on the search for more art books by this “master of the aftermath”, and BEKSINSKI 1 fit the bill nicely.
It’s a bit more substantial of a book than Morpheus’ THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI. BEKSINSKI 1 is about the same height as THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI (which is 12″ by 9.6″) while being over an inch thicker, and sporting about 100 more pages.
There’s a very nice forward, both in Polish and English, by Wieslaw Banach, that is quite eloquent and slightly poetic. Beyond those few pages the rest of the books is given over to just a broad selection, listed chronologically, of Beksinski’s art.
The strength of this tome is its size allows it to include a lot of art not in THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI, some of it quite arresting. The weakness of this tome however is most of the tome is given to his post 1990 work, which is in a different less beautiful/fantastic realist style than his earlier work. It gets quite repetitive actually.
A 2nd failing is while the paper stock is thick, it is a dull, matte finish that does not show off the art of Beksinski as well as the Morpheus tome.
The glossy Morpheus paper, really captures the brightness and vibrancy of Beksinski’s colors, it makes the art come alive. An illusion that is lost in the dull matte finish of the Bosz Tome. Also with the inclusion of quotes interspersed, quite thematically, throughout the entirety of the book, as well as framing the art against, mostly haunting dark colors, THE FANTASIC ART OF BEKSINSKI is just a far superior designed book.
So I don’t regret spending the money to acquire BEKSINSKI 1, it’s a nice expansion to the world of Beksinski, but Morpheus International’s 12 year old tome, THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI remains the definitive book on the last great surrealist.
Final Grades: A+ for THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI B+ for BEKSINSKI 1.
As any frequent sampler of this blog knows, I like movies. I also tend to listen to my share of podcasts.
And a few of those podcasts, are about movies. One in particular recently had an episode devoted at least partially to Nudity in Horror films.
I was going to reply to them specifically, but it kicked off a train of thought about horror, and sex, and cinema in general, that I wanted to share… with you. Plus it’s not just their show, seemingly many people put forward this stance that sex and nudity is… uncomfortable or uncalled for, and violence is cool.
The belief that sex and nudity, particularly in genre films… is gratuitous.
Are you guys joking?
Genre/Horror films by definition are gratuitous.
I’m going to get up on my soap box now… 🙂
To say a film “by showing a woman’s boob” or “having a sex scene” is gratuitous, while ignoring the fact the very nature of the film you’re watching be it SCREAM or FRIDAY the 13th or INSIDE is about carving up women, is to have your priorities slightly askew.
I think the argument against “gratuitous nudity” would be far more rational if it was advocating less onscreen violence against women period. (And on the phrase “gratuitous nudity”, I don’t subscribe to it. Do you think Rubens saw his nude paintings as gratuitous? He saw them as works of art. I’d be hard pressed to disagree with him. If nudity was art 400 years ago, why would it be any less art today),
But advocating less nudity, while being completely happy with the violence in a genre film, typically against women, is a suspect argument. While the anti-nude 🙂 argument may be a prevalent mindset in movie going audiences today… I do not think it is a healthy one.
Women are beautiful, so if a filmmaker wants to shoot that beauty, and make it part of his drama, or his mystery, or his comedy, or his sci fi, or his ghost story… and an actress (or actor, don’t want to be sexist here) has no problem being nude, I don’t see the issue with nudity in films.
American cinema (and increasingly World cinema, as other countries adopt America’s misogynistic cinema as their own) can do with more sex and nudity, and less violence. There’s an unhealthy attitude toward sex, that I think is illustrated by conversations I’ve heard from various quarters.
Movie goers are uncomfortable watching nudity or healthy sexual situations on screen, but give them a movie about a rape or a serial killing and somehow, “that’s just good horror fun”.
It’s a bizarre stance to me. The violence should feel like the aberration, the uncomfortable part of a horror film, not the nudity, not the sex.
I like a good thriller as much as the next guy, but I think you have to be cautious about blurring the lines between hero and villain, between sympathizing with victims, and salivating over them.
The word morality is out of fashion, but I think there’s a morality inherent in everything, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Even in genre fiction. And the morality you are prepared to accept from your fictions and your facts, says much about you. It says how you came up, and for what you are prepared to fall down.
One of my favorite Thrillers is Michael Mann’s MANHUNTER. It’s everything I want a thriller to be, and at the end of the day, the monster is put down, and the damsel is rescued. And yes I read the book RED DRAGON by Thomas Harris, and Mann’s film is far superior because of the changes he made, because of its… simplistic morality.
MANHUNTER superior in every way, because it believes… in heroes.
Contrast that to the morality of these early 21st century Thrillers/Horror films, such as DEVILS REJECTS.
DEVILS REJECTS is everything I don’t want in a movie. I mean it is stunningly shot, fantastically constructed, Rob Zombie is a talented filmmaker no doubt. And I really, really wanted to like the movie, but I couldn’t. Because its morality is fundamentally at odds with my own. I do not want to see a woman get raped in real life, and I don’t want to see one get raped on the screen. In DEVILS REJECTS no one comes to save the damsel. No one comes to stop the violations. The films purpose IS the violations, it is to glorify the monsters, and for you to silently participate and condone and revel… in the crimes.
That is the reality of horror cinema in the young years of the 21st century.
And it is not for me.
And I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t seen SAW or IRREVERSIBLE or INSIDE. After seeing DEVIL’S REJECTS and the new HILLS HAVE EYES, I don’t need to see anymore of those movies.
I want there always to be someone arriving in the nick of time to save the damsel. And yes it’s an old-fashioned morality, but it’s the one that I grew up with, it’s the one that leaves me feeling good, and it’s the only one I’m willing to accept.
Horror movies for me, have always been about heroism.
And you take heroism out of the mix, and I have no interest in horror movies.
Today’s films and video games increasingly sublimate the desire for sex, with the desire for savagery. And I fear for the type of children it breeds. As if all of America and Canada and the world, is young serial killers in training.
Increasingly desensitized monkeys, being bred for the mill.
So cinema today, genre cinema, horror cinema; is about a willingness to sublimate sex to savagery. And define the wrong one of those two things… as pornographic.
Just my 2 cents.
This installments picture is from one of my favorite poster artists, and one of the greatest surrealist artists currently working, Wieslaw Walkuski. Quite similar, though not as evocative as the work of another favorite of mine, and another Polish Artist, the late, great Zdislaw Beksinski. If you can pick up any of the posters of Walkuski or the art book of Beksinski, do so. They are the best of the best.