Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bookstuff--Because, Well, You Know--BOOKS!

Among many, many other things (Hey! I'm eclectic! I contain multitudes!), I'm a big fan of the Lowbrow Art Movement, aka Pop Surrealism, despite the kinds of problems Zippy and Bill touch upon...

(he's referring to Todd Schorr, by the way*) it should come as no surprise that I'm all a-quiver about some recently-published books.

First up, The Tree Show by Mark Ryden.

Gosh, I love Ryden's stuff! These are strange, wonderful, dream-like landscapes and portraits, incredibly detailed, superbly executed, though one wonders what sort of hallucinogens Ryden is partial to. One of my biggest regrets is not buying several copies of Anima Mundi when one could have it for $24.95--a new one, if you can find it, will run you about $350.**

Next, there's Cosmocopia, a combination novel and jigsaw puzzle (!) by science fiction writer Paul Di Filippo and artist Jim Woodring involving a character obviously modeled on Frank Frazetta. I love Di Filippo's short story collections and Jim Woodring is yet another artist who seems to have access to (or produces endogenous) hallucinogens as yet unknown to science ("Woodring once told The Comics Journal that under the right circumstances he is still capable of 'hallucinating like mad' "). I can't imagine a more fitting collaboration.

Finally, there's The Art of Norman Saunders. Now, if you're around my age (53) you KNOW this guy even if you don't know his name--he was an incredibly prolific commercial artist who illustrated pulp magazines, paperback book covers, comic books, men's adventure rags, and trading cards, including the legendary Mars Attacks and (the singularly bloody) Civil War News series.

(I love how the one guy is such a loyal and diligent Party member that though he's removed his shirt, he keeps his armband in place)

(Fairness in media and equal time for the ladies--"Tortured Slave of the Whip Goddesses." You see something like this at age 10 and gain an... interesting... perspective on male/female relations for life)

* Whom I happen to like. I mean, the guy did H. P. Lovecraft's Seafood Cart, fer heaven's sake!

**I almost had one when it was first released. I'd been haunting our local (late, lamented) Tower Books for weeks looking for the damned thing and finally, finally found one, but a couple of pages were torn and I decided to wait for a more pristine copy. BAM! Gone. Online prices soared and my moment was gone. I consoled myself with a couple of hardbound Frank Frazetta compilations.


JSaM said...

Lee! Lee! What about James Bama? Talk about unknown artists! He did the box covers for the Aurora monster models and all them Doc Savage paperbacks. Neat stuff!

G. W. Ferguson said...

I don't know if you're familiar with the Spectrum:The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art series (though I bet Amanda is), but they gave James Bama a Lifetime Achievement Award (or somesuch) a couple of years ago.

It's sad to realize these guys earned doodly-squat for their hard work at time of first publication.

Cathy VanPatten said...

Mark Ryden! Ooohhh, how I covet Princess Sputnik!