Erotic Fantasy Art/Comic Art Now (books, various, 2008)


Magazines never have enough space to run reviews of every book they receive. One way around this is to cram two or more books on a similar subject into one review. This example of said is from Death Ray 13.

Erotic Fantasy Art

Aly Fell and Duddlebug/Ilex/£20.00

THREE AND A HALF STARS

 Comic Art Now

Dez Skin and Mark Millar/Ilex/£20.00

THREE STARS

 SF illustrations handsomely bound and presented

Two more tomes from Ilex, who seem to be pumping out these collections at a prodigious rate. how many more can they do, before the reservoir of paint runs dry? Who knows; but for now at least their books mostly please us, and are building up into a nice little collection.

The production values on these is, as usual, very high. Top notch paper, varnish that is neither too matt nor too gloss, they have a very pleasant tactile feel to them. They follow Ilex’s standard format – foreword by famed chap connected with the subject matter, short intro by the editor – both necessarily laudatory – and then oodles and oodles of lovely pictures annotated with brief though informative pictures, broken into a number of sub-genre themed chapters.

The choice of artwork in these is better than that in Fantasy Art Now, their last book. Erotic Fantasy Art is the tighter collection, having as it does a narrow purview – sexy chicks with swords, pretty much – and thus a more highly focussed beam of scrutiny, whereas the comic art book, even though it restricts itself to the contemporary, is tackling too wide a field to be more than a cursory examination of its subject matter. As well as the vast range in styles and intent of comic art, its actual execution makes it difficult to showcase: At what stage do you look at it – raw pencils, inked, coloured or finished? Do you show character studies, pages or covers? Who, indeed, is acknowledged the artist? Comic Art Now tries to get round this by concentrating on the penciller, and featuring all kinds of art. It is only partially successful, again simply because of the vast scale of the field. Comic art has a further drawback in collected form – it is designed to tell a story, meaning you are left repeatedly frustrated as you turn the page, wanting to know what happened next, and not being able to find out.

Nice books, but not the definitive word on their subjects they could have been.

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