Art Book of the Day: GRAPHISTES WORLD ARTBOOK 01! CONTEST– Win this Book!

This is a review of the GRAPHISTES WORLD ARTBOOK 01, subtitled BOOK OF CREATION, it is published by Oracom Editions and compiles selected artwork from a French on-line artists collective.

First impressions, presentation. It’s a sizable SC book at 11″ x 9″, and feels substantial at 220+ pages. Nice striking cover image, on a nice pull out gate-fold cover. It’s a matte type paper stock on both the cover and the interior pages, and utilizes a sewn binding (initially had thought it was glued, but is a sewn binding. Pretty spiffy for a soft-cover.).

The Matte paper stock, I can appreciate its use on the darkly illustrated cover to help minimize finger-prints, however on the interior pages I’m not a fan of it, as I think a gloss paper stock would have better worked to showcase the images on the interior. I’ll go into that in more detail in a bit,

Now getting into the content, the actual images themselves, there’s more than a bit of crossover in terms of style and theme and subject. The images are mostly computer generated imagery, a lot of video game like landscapes. Much of it is a bit dark for me, in terms of actual brightness not content. I think this is the printing job, rather than the images. Because the images viewed on-line look great (as in the ones I post with this blog), but in the actual book the images appear muddy and un-dynamic.

It may be what the artists are going for, but I’m inclined to think it’s printed a bit dark. So that is where a glossier, brighter, higher contrast interior paper stock could have helped the images come alive, and not fade into the background as much.

It’s definitely a preference argument, but generally I feel glossy paper works much better for art books, and that this particular art-book, because the images are so dark, would have benefited from a higher-contrast glossy paper stock.

Mainly because the dark muted images, lots of purples on blacks, one after another tends to reinforce the need for a more varied palette. The detail in the images just get lost. There are a lot of images I think I would like, if I could see the detail in the images.

But just when you think the similarity is getting to you, you turn the page and there is a burst of artistry and an unexpected, thematically intriguing image to bring you back into the book.

Among such standouts are [the creator or studios nickname is listed with the image, but the table of contents gives their full name] :

28162 has a lush and beautiful and vibrant image with PINK DREAM and SANS UN DEFAUT

Kiko has a wonderful, futuristic landscape scene with IN THE MORNING, but I do think it looks a bit dark, muddy

Mr. Xerty has a nice collage like work with JING

Pim does the lovely LIGHT PULSE

3mmi Design has several intriguing images with DELIVRANCE and TONIGHT IN HELL

Maliciarosenoire offers us the nicely composed INCERTAIN

Graphic Traveling bring us the imaginative NYX

Grivetart’s NEW YORK 2030 and EXPLORERS are both quite excellent

Graphaddict’s offers us the well composed and lit SPACE MOUNTAINS

Pezcado’s MAINS DANS LA MAIN is quite ingenious

BeautifulReal brings us the sumptuous and strange LAST TRAVEL

KarimDesign’s offers us the attention getting LAST BREATH

Aiven’s 5 PAR is likewise imaginative and compelling

Todavia’s DEATH OF A SIREN

Lord K’s POLAR SUMMER

So these are some of the ones that stand out, and make the book well worth a viewing, despite my issues with the printing. Beyond the brief French introduction, the book consists of all images, so it can be enjoyed by all. Final Grade: B-.

******

CONTEST! WIN THIS BOOK!

This book isn’t currently available on Amazon US, but is available from Amazon UK and Amazon FR. It’s like $50.

But wait a minute! For being a Heroic times follower, I’ll tell you how you can win it for free.

It’s really, really easy to win this review copy they sent me.

Be the 15th person (follower, you have to be a follower of this blog)to comment on this post, you win the book.

Put contest in the comment, include your email address so I can get in touch with you. Comments do not get posted if you put contest in it, and they come right to me.

The 15th person, maximum of 3 attempts per person and consecutive attempts not counted. 15th person (follower) to leave a comment saying “you want this book and love Heroic Times”… wins the book.

Pretty simple.

Okay, that’s all folks. Go hug somebody.

WEDNESDAYS WORDS!

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.

I’m doing something a bit different for this WEDNESDAYS WORDS, selecting one work to review. This week’s review is on GRAPHISTES WORLD ARTBOOK 01.

So go here for that review.

And yes I am completely exhausted, and this keeps me from missing a Wednesday. 🙂

Can’t put anything pass you guys. Next Wednesday I’ll make it up to you guys and gals with a full WEDNESDAY WORDS.

WEDNESDAYS WORDS

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.

I’m doing something a bit different for this WEDNESDAYS WORDS, selecting an image or a text that moves me, and then pointing you to where you can get the book for your own enjoyment.

We begin with an image.

Painted in 1907 by Carlos Schwabe, one of the pioneers of what today we describe as fantastic fiction, this image is entitled SPLEEN AND IDEAL. He actually painted/etched this image twice, the one you see here, and one that is subtly different, with the nudity obscured a bit, the angel’s loins, are covered, and the siren/succubus’ face is hidden, but oddly still very disturbing.

But the one shown here is the more disturbing of the two. The look in the siren’s eyes, the look of the angels face, caught trying to break away; caught quite literally, between the devil and the deep blue sea.

There is a story frozen here, questions and answers frozen, somewhere between the thrashing of wings, and the beating of tail. A she-god of the sea, and a she-god of the air. An attack? A ravishing? Something between the two?

It is a provocative and sensual pic for 2012, I can only imagine how much more disturbing and shocking it must have seemed in 1907.

There is no English language book on this inexplicably overlooked pioneer of the weird and the wondrous, but there is a large, and lushly illustrated French art-book called CARLOS SCHWABE: SYMBOLISTE ET VISIONNAIRE. While the text is in French, the numerous lushly reproduced drawings and paintings… require no translation. The book is quite large, at 12.2″ by 10.3″, and surprisingly heavy, 260 pages on an extremely thick paper stock. and printed in Paris in 1994.

And lest you think Carlos Schwabe could only illustrate the macabre, some of his most striking images in the book are subtle, nuanced, even lovely and loving portraits. Such as this beautiful portrait he did in 1908 (with crayons if my French is any good. Wow! That is amazing! Look at the level of gradations and detail!) of his daughter, and named after her… it is titled, LOTTE:

So for a chance to see this image and many more reproduced in detail in a huge, lavish tome… get your copy here:

Carlos Schwabe, Symboliste et Visionnaire (French Edition)

Another image. This one does not do justice to the actual printed image, but it’s the best picture of it I could find. It’s wonderfully Gothic, and sensual, and horrific all at the same time. In other words… vintage Wrightson.


Bernie Wrightson is one of the true artistic greats of the modern era. The meticulous detail and line work of his output, specifically of the 70s and 80s, is just awe-inspiring. One of the best showcases of his work is his illustrated FRANKENSTEIN published through Dark Horse.

Bernie Wrightson’s Frankenstein:Get your copy while you can afford it 🙂

I’ve praised that book repeatedly, if you don’t own a copy by now there is just no hope for you. But for those of you who there is hope for, in addition to FRANKENSTEIN you can see some additional stellar work by Wrighton in KNOWING DARKNESS. A retrospective of all the work done for Stephen King’s Books and Portfolios.

In addition to work by Wrightson it includes work by over two dozen other artists. Much of it rare and unavailable, and commanding high prices on the secondary market. This book allows you to have ALL of the sought after artwork created for Stephen King’s lauded body of work, in one huge, heavy, takes two people to lift it book! 🙂 Okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. At 15.6 x 11.6 x 2.4 inches and weighing 13 pounds, it’s one of the biggest and heaviest books I own.

“we are treated to some sumptuous art. Knowing Darkness is worth its price and weight alone for the illustrations which originally accompanied the limited edition of Christine (breathtaking work by Stephen Gervais). The oversized reproductions of Bob Giusti’s It and Misery covers and Rob Wood’s Dolores Claiborne and Four Past Midnight covers get a whole new life when viewed out of the context of book covers. And that is to say nothing of the art original to this volume, the best of which is a brand-new Don Maitz interpretation of Duma Key, which features a ghost ship on an easel overlooking an Atlantic sunset. You don’t notice at first – your eye is so drawn to the ship in the foreground – that the gulls in the distance are flying upside-down.

Of course, this would all amount to little more than a collection of pretty pictures without the binding strength of George Beahm’s essays. Beahm, a Stephen King expert who perfected the companion-book genre with The Stephen King companion before going on to write The Stephen King Story and many other must-haves – is at his most compelling here. He manages to convey his fascination and excitement for the subject in every essay, and pass that onto the reader. The exclusive interviews, especially the one with Bernie Wrightson, are illuminating.

Books about King are legion, and there are many terrific volumes out there which rise above the chaff. There are only a handful, though, that are absolute musts for King fans. Knowing Darkness is beyond a doubt one of the absolute musts, not just for King fans, but for anyone interested in art and illustration. With such a wealth of material to cover – from mass-produced cover art, to limited-edition illustration, to interpretive pieces – it’s an achievement that a project like Knowing Darkness was even attempted. That it is executed so beautifully, then, is phenomenal.”– Charnel House

Get your copy while you can still pick it up for under retail (these were going for $300).
Knowing Darkness: Artists Inspired by Stephen King

And one last image closes out a nice compact, 3 book WEDNESDAY WORDS.

Now a word to the wise… the following image has nipples. Shock! Aghast!! Horror!!

If nipples offend you… then go away.

But the thought of crossing out the nipples just seemed completely idiotic, and like defacing art. Every baby knows what a nipple is. Everybody has nipples, even I have nipples. 🙂 (And they’re real and they’re fabulous :). Sorry have to sneak that Seinfeld quote in, every once in a while).

So yeah, I’m showing the cover sans any moronic editing. I don’t think the world will end.

This is a slight soft-cover art-book. In no way is it the hernia inducing behemoth of my other two recommended books.

But it doesn’t have to be, all it has to be is… great art. And it is that. Pencils and some inks, it’s incredibly impressive work by artist Erik Drudwyn.

Get your copy here:

Art Of Erik Drudwyn (Art Fantastix)


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!

If you’re a publisher, writer, or other creative representative looking to submit items for WEDNESDAYS WORDS, just leave a comment on this post with your email/contact info, comments don’t get posted they come right to me, and I’ll reach out to you with the snail mail details.

And as far as readers, if you see items on WEDNESDAYS WORDS you’re considering purchasing then, if you are able and would like to support this blog, please utilize the attached links.

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!

Sponsored by Ebay Store: Deals of the Day!

Exclusionary TV: Whites Only Television? MADMEN, PAN-AM and REVENGE

Provocative title huh?

Well, it’s not quite as provocative as it seems. The premise of this article isn’t that shows such as MADMEN, PAN-AM, and REVENGE are in and of themselves bad or bigoted shows.

They may in and of themselves be good shows. But shows, dramas or scifi or action, that are predominantly White, when not off-set by any shows that are predominantly Black or colored, true to the definition of predominant… create an environment, a medium, that is about the ascendancy, importance, influence, authority of force of one group.

In such an environment it is impossible for me to buy into, relate, follow, view, or otherwise enjoy such shows. Now in an environment where a show such as PAN-AM is counter-pointed with a show on The forming of AIR JAMAICA or the Black Stuntmen’s Union or the Black Coyboys’ Union or any adventure or thrilling show with a predominant cast of color; then PAN-AM rather than being indicative of a color and ethnic bias in every show in tv, can be seen as one voice in a chorus, rather than the same voice, everywhere.

So that’s the problem I have with shows such as MADMEN and REVENGE they paint everything with the same trite and pale brush (take the series REVENGE, based on a book by the son of one of the most famous Black men, and the cast is all white. Explain that to me? Along with that it always rings false that we have yet to see a THREE MUSKETEERS that represents the ethnicity of the author Alexandre Dumas, or the ethnicity of the inspiration for all Dumas’ heroes, namely his father, France’s most famous and most feared soldier, the elder Alexandre Dumas, (inexplicably called Thomas-Alexandre in recent writings), the Black giant, the warrior Moor, Napolean’s most feared and brilliant General. The COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO is directly inspired by how his father was betrayed by Napolean, imprisoned, and killed. And rather than anyone ever tell that story, it becomes in REVENGE about a blond woman, mad about something. Forgive me if I have no interest in that retelling.)

So, What’s the solution?

We’ll get to it. First indulge me, with a brief trip to yesteryear.

In the late 50s, into the 60s and 70s television and cinema in the US, and indeed throughout the Western World, made great strides in becoming more representative of the class struggle going on throughout the world.

That’s a fact, it just is. So let’s begin there.

As countries from Congo to Cuba to Korea to the West Indies to Brazil all were dealing, at various stages, with the shattering of traditional Colonial ties. With populations of repressed people, embracing the concept, both with artistry and arms, of “not eating at another man’s table” but creating their own table.

It was a staggering period not just of revolution, but potentially evolution… for the world and the west.

Rather than mass media that explored and showcased only the fantasies and the fears of the white and the male you began getting shows that took place in a world reflective of the movements changing the landscape of our cultures and our time. Civil disobedience, and sit-ins, and Black power, and Native American rights, transcendentalism and free love, sexual and religious experimentation, and of course war and the search for peace and self identification.

And all these growing pains, all of this stew of change, could be seen in the entertainment of the age.

DANGER MAN, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, PROFESSIONALS, GOOD TIMES, SANFORD AND SON, the rise of Soul Cinema, and the rise of Hong Kong Cinema, and Neo-Realism in Italy, and the New Wave in France, and the didactic films out of Russia, and Brazil, and Cuba, and Senegal, all of this making its way to newly born film studies programs in the states that gave birth to a whole generation of entertainment makers excited and influenced and inspired by this time of change and challenge.

So suddenly you had Patrick McGoohan in the DANGER MAN TV show 50 years ago globe-trotting and going to different countries and different people, and exploring issues of colonialism, and civil war, and terrorism, and governmental oppression, and doing this with a changing ethnically diverse cast. Dealing with issues of Middle East tensions and modern slavery. And this kind of informed and humanistic film-making came from the creators down. And all the shows of that period, while not DANGER MAN ground breaking, to greater or lesser degrees were that informed and representative of a culturally diverse and changing world.

Move the clock forward 50 years, and suddenly you have no community owned or locally owned cinema, much less production companies. That’s not an accident, that’s a very pointed, and very considered monopolization and marginalization.

You have the end of virtually any locally or regionally owned newspaper, radio, or television station. So you get the end of people and community created movements, and art and music, and you get instead corporate construction of reality and ‘art’ in things like AMERICAN IDOL and its ilk.

You have cinema and television that is in retreat from ideas… like diversity and the rights of man, and instead seeks a return to the exclusionary, blinders on, cinema of the 50s. Not just in terms of content and cast in front of the camera, but talent and crew behind the camera.

As, in reality, the mad military war machine of billionaires undoes the local determinism of countries like Haiti and Liberia and Libya, so too is our entertainment,no less the tool of billionaires, undoing the strides made toward multiculturalism. A return to “Whites only” television from MADMEN to PAN-AM to REVENGE.

And those shows while they hold no interest for me, would be fine if they were counterpointed by an equal number of US made shows with a majority of Black or Brown or Asian or a combination thereof, of actors in front the camera, and talent behind the camera.

And the talent is there, as screenwriters such as John Ridley discuss in numerous interviews. Even more talent than was available in the 60s and 70s is available now, the difference is, the cinemas are bought up, the advertising is cost prohibitive, and quite frankly the doors are closed.

In the 60s and 70s, Hollywood saw the need for an influx of diversity to save them from the rise of Independent Cinema (an outgrowth of viable and healthy local cinemas, local determinism), and there were a good number of people in the studios who were happy and excited for that diversity. They were part of the changing times, and part of changing it.

Today Independent Cinema has no way into the theaters, because the locally owned theater circuit, and indeed the community controlled mass-media circuit that served America, particularly Black America from the 20s to the 70s, has been bought out, legalized away, and generally dismantled.

For what was gained, more was lost in the compromise of integration.

The problem with the doctrine of separate and equal, was the fact that is was NEVER separate and equal, it was always separate and UNEQUAL. The Black Power movement and Black Panther movement was about making it SEPARATE AND EQUAL. Was to make the lie into the truth. And that is the reason we have integration today. Because the idea of separate and equal, scared the powers to be to their very soul.

They saw in the more moderate integration model of Martin Luther and his ilk, a compromise that could become a massive victory. They retreated from Separate and (Un)equal and embraced Integration of a sort, “you can now use our Bathrooms, you can now to an extent come into our house, but… you have to lose your house. You have to lose your radio stations, your movie theaters, your stores, your farms, your wallstreets, your sports teams, your attempt at self determination”.

Of course it wasn’t presented like that, but a few decades later that’s absolutely what has happened. The thriving economic base of Black America that thrived even under the odiousness of Separate but unequal, wherein they could still provide for themselves and be self sufficient, has been completely gutted under the together but even more UNEQUAL system of integration. And that robbing of local determinism has extended to all America. Has shown itself to be the most significant volley in a class-war that has America trillions of dollars in debt, and slaved, to corporations gross and immoral.

And television and cinema is the clearest example of this wholesale pillaging of a peoples economic potential.

So that’s what I see when I see shows like MADMAN or PANAM or REVENGE or SMALLVILLE (past season 4) I see prejudice and bigotry and class warfare… codified.

So you have a television and a cinema environment that has turned back the clock, and is again solely about showcasing the fantasies and the fears of the white and the rich, to the exclusion of all else.

It bores me to go backwards. To learn from the past is a great thing, to repeat the past is not. And we have a whole generation of studio execs and heads, who think they are doing something new by embracing the old, and all they are doing… is wasting time.

In a multi-cultural society, an increasingly multi-cultural society, these dreams of exclusion cannot stand, they will become unsatisfying, they always do. And in the end we will have to waste years just getting back to the same point of diversity as the 1970s. Getting back to the starting point from which we should be… evolving.

So let’s cut out some of the time wasting. Contact these studios signing off on this exclusionary television, the creators and producers, twitter them, facebook em, call’em, even write em, let them know the show doesn’t represent you, and to create a show that does. And let the advertisers know, say “this show boycotts me and mine. Since you are asking me to support your product, I want you to produce a show that supports me.”

It’s economics people. For all their crushing of competition, ultimately the decision makers and gate-keepers still need to create a product you want to buy. Let them know they are failing at that mandate.

Let them know you want to see more shows, that are both smart and diverse.

Day Break – The Complete Series- Do not buy the 2disk version, get the 4 disk version

55 Degrees North – Series One & Two – 5-DVD Box Set ( Fifty Five Degrees North ) ( 55 Degrees North – Entire Series 1 & 2 ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2.4 Import – United Kingdom ]

Kidnapped – The Complete Series

Secret Agent AKA Danger Man: The Complete Collection (Slimline Packaging)

The Philanthropist: The Complete Series

Kings – The Complete Series

Blood & Bone

I Am Cuba: The Ultimate Edition

Let them know you want to see more DAY BREAK with Taye Diggs and Moon Bloodgood, more 55 DEGREES NORTH with Don Gilet, more KINGS with Eamonn Walker more BLOOD AND BONE with Michael Jai White, more James Purefoy and Jesse L. Martin in THE PHILANTHROPIST (the spiritual descendant of McGoohan’s DANGER MAN); more shows that look forward to solutions, rather than backward to evasions.

Challenge the creators, challenge the studios, challenge the advertisers, challenge the performers, and challenge yourself to go not marching backward, but to go forward… into the mystery. And ultimately we will as cities and a nation, have to eschew outside control, and embrace again local production of items and local determinism.

And it starts as simply as recognizing and calling out the prejudiced the exclusionary and the destructive when we see it.

Here endeth the lesson.

Most Intriguing DVD Releases [Reissues, Foreign, Obscure, etc] First Quarter of 2012!

Just finished a post on the most intriguing DVD/Bluray releases for the First Quarter of 2012 for Mainstream US releases. Now here is the more exciting list, including DVD/Bluray reissues, foreign, and Obscure!

Lot’s of really intriguing entries to hunt down. Among them several Jean Rollin films released on Bluray, several never previously released Jim Brown Films are available on DVD, Alfred Hitchcock films on Blu-ray and much more.

Take a look!

Notorious [Blu-ray]
Rebecca [Blu-ray]
Spellbound [Blu-ray]
North by Northwest (50th Anniversary Edition in Blu-ray Book Packaging)
The Iron Rose [Blu-ray]
The Nude Vampire [Blu-ray]
Fascination [Blu-ray]
Lips of Blood [Blu-ray]
Tick…Tick…Tick…
The Split
100 Rifles
El Condor
Dark Of The Sun (Remastered)
Take a Hard Ride
Slaughter/Slaughter’s Big Ripoff
The Slams
Kenner
Aurora
Swastika
The Man From London
Sinners And Saints
Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection (Caliber 9 / The Italian Connection / The Boss / Rulers of the City) [Blu-ray]
My Joy

More specifics on certain titles later.

Most Intriguing DVD Releases First Quarter of 2012!

Most Intriguing DVD Releases First Quarter of 2012!

As of this writing, 3+ months into the 2000 and 12th year of the coming of a Lord, there has been 212 movies released on DVD.

212 Movies released on DVD.

That’s a lot of movies. And a lot of bad movies with just a cursory look. Some intriguing ones (60+, so more than a quarter of the films, less than a third) that with a cursory look, pop out to me are:

A few of these flicks I know I’m going to buy, the majority I’m at least interested in viewing.

If you’re like me and still occasionally stop into video rental stores, or get videos from your library, you’ll find yourself, without fail, trying to decide what you want to watch. So this handy post hopefully will take some of the guesswork out of that for both you and myself.

Enjoy!

Friday DVD Review: Jean Cocteau’s ORPHEUS (1950)


Judgement: Your name?

Orpheus: Orpheus.

Judgement:Your Profession?

Orpheus: Poet.

Judgement: It say’s here ‘writer’.

Orpheus: It’s almost the same thing.

Judgement:There is no ‘almost’ here. What do you mean by ‘poet’?

Orpheus: To write, without being a writer.


I love ambition and audacity.

Not alone. Alone they are bitter and brutal sins, but alloyed to art and humanity, ambition and audacity makes for cinema at its finest.

Cinema such as that of Jean Cocteau.

I’m watching his ORPHEUS, which is very stream of consciousness, an odd mating of deliberation and fancy. The film is not as good as his BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, is a bit plodding and unlikeable, mostly because the central character of Orpheus is plodding and unlikeable.

A few times I almost shift away from it. But I stick, and it’s largely because its story is secondary to its visual poetry; is secondary to the ambition of Cocteau’s imagination and the audacity of his storytelling and effects.

Costumes change colors in mid conversation, mirrors are walked through, death is made life. Just the sheer creativity of this film makes me smile. I couldn’t give it a buy, but it’s a recommended rental. Just be aware going into it, that you have to take the film at its pace rather than yours, and I think you’ll find ORPHEUS a dream…. worth dreaming.

Grade:B-.

Orpheus (Criterion Collection)