ARTFULLY DONE

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Hyperluminal_coverTitan Books have been a part of British comics for decades now and at one point, they were best known as bringing DC’s output to the UK. When Titan lost that DC content, it wasn’t certain how they would continue. But the company has reinvented itself, generated new comic content and also bringing out an increasing line of Art Of books. The two latest titles are The Art of Jim Burns: Hyperluminal and The Art of Greg Spalenka: Visions From The Mind’s Eye. Both books are lavish hardcovers but the two artists couldn’t be more different in terms of their style. The Art of Jim Burns takes a look at the impressive career of British science fiction genius Burns, whose work has graced book covers by the likes of sci fi and fantasy giants like George R R Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Joe Haldeman and Robert Silverberg, to name but a few. The book has a commentary running through it, which does help to contextualise Burns’ work and gives the readers an idea of which point in his career we are talking about. Reproduction here is magnificent and it really shows off just what a master of science fiction art Burns is, able to create new worlds of imagination with his  brush strokes. His work on fantasy covers is slightly less accomplished as he seems to be a little less comfortable in the fantasy world. But this is a very minor quibble. Burns is a uniquely talented artist and it is great to see a book that celebrates that…

Greg Spalenka is a very different artist indeed to Burns. He is an American illustrator who is more in the painterly traditions of the Old Masters, the Pre-Raphaelites and also the hordes of talented 20th century American illustrators and artists. His work follows the lineage of the Wyeths, Dean Cornwell and the British Victorian painters. The Art  of Greg Spalenka shows off the versatility of this man, who is as comfortable drawing Mike Tyson as he is working on Narnia film The Voyage of The Dawn Treader. There is a beautiful elegant simplicity to Spalenka’s work and this format, a slightly oversized hardcover, does do his magnificent paintings full justice. There is a little commentary here but perhaps the work speaks for itself a little more here. The design here manages to reflect Spalenka’s approach as an artist and it does give you a feel of the way he works.

So while I am reviewing both books together, I am in no way comparing the works of the two artists. They are both exceptional practitioners in their own fields and both of these books are welcome additions to the library of anyone who is an aficionado of modern illustrative art…

Pockets

UNBOUND: A MONTH IN
TRIPWIRE 20 has been up at Unbound for around a month and it’s 5% into its pledges. So it’s a decent start to proceedings and I thought I’d talk about the process so far and share the images I’ve had in for the book. It’s been very interesting so far: TRIPWIRE 20 is the first project I’ve ever done through crowdfunding and so I have had to think of something to say every day on Twitter and Facebook to keep people interested. Because TRIPWIRE has such a rich history (with 55 back issues to dip into), I’ve been putting up whole classic features in the author’s shed, a place on the Unbound website that you can only access if you pledge on the specific book. I’ve also been plundering my contacts book to get publicity for the book. Having worked as a journalist and a sub editor for fifteen years have proven to be very useful. I have also been writing guest blog posts for people like my friend Stevyn Colgan and genre figures like Christopher Fowler have been kind enough to give the book a plug. The other thing, just like when we did the tenth anniversary book but perhaps moreso, has been the joy of getting images in to run in the book. As of this writing, we have art in from Drew Struzan, Henry Flint, Phil Hale, Walter Simonson, Dave Dorman, Ben Templesmith, Mike Mignola, Frank Quitely,  Roger Langridge, Jon Haward, Chris Weston, Duncan Fegredo, Dave Taylor, Joe Kubert, Mike Perkins and Howard Chaykin. This is an amazing list and one that keeps on growing. I have also come to realise that people don’t check Twitter and Facebook religiously so I have to keep informing them about the book. So here’s some of the images that I have in already. Please feel free to pledge on the book by going to www.unbound.co.uk/books/43 (also until 12th June, there’s £5 off pledges and that includes US residents. All you have to do is get the voucher code from here: http://eepurl.com/mddlX)Hope you enjoy the images…
TRIPWIRE 20th Unbound

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SOMEDAY MY PRINTS WILL COME
I have decided to bite the bullet and offer a selection of my photos as A3 prints for people to buy. So you can choose from a photo of a mysterious woman on the Brooklyn Bridge in the Autumn sunshine, the entrance to Lewes Castle in Sussex or a classic American car in North Beach in San Francisco. There are PayPal buttons on the side of this very blog, making it easy to order. Each print costs £9.99 including postage and packing for UK customers or you could buy all three for the bargain price of £25. You can also PayPal the money to my email address (joelmeadows@btinternet.com), specifying which print(s) you’d like. At some point in the next month, I shall be working out how much it will cost to send to the US, so any American or Canadian visitors here interested in buying, please bear with me. So why not grab one?
Here are the images…