When I was a kid, I remember wanting to be a comic book artist so badly it hurt. Comics had been in my life since before I could remember, and many a day was spent tracing over the art of the greats like Don Heck, John Romita, and Jack Kirby. I shudder to think the number of Bronze Age comics I devalued or destroyed in the name of artistic training. When I got older, I enrolled in every art class I could find and actually became quite good, winning state contests and school shows. The thing that always bugged me though, was how did the people who where published in the comics actually get there, and what was a day in their studio like?
In Image Comics new book STUDIO SPACE, some of those questions are answered. STUDIO SPACE is the creation of authors Joel Meadows and Gary Marshall, originators of the UKâ€™s comic magazine TRIPWIRE. Within the 320 pages of STUDIO SPACE, they interview twenty of the top comic book artist and give you a look at their careers and their studios. They spoke with them regarding how they broke into the business, discussed favorite projects, got their thoughts on various issues, and disclosed some of their artistic techniques.
How does Brian Bolland feel about his work on DCâ€™s The Killing Joke? Who and what does Howard Chaykin consider his real influences? How did the legendary Joe Kubert break into comics? As you read these interviews, Meadows and Marshall make you feel as if the artist is actually talking to you, the reader. There is an intimacy in the telling that conveys the authorsâ€™ love of the medium and the respect of the people they interviewed.
On a more technical side, you also get a glimpse at how the artist works in their personal studio. Want to know the process that Frank Miller goes through to get a page done? How does Tim Sale feel about using photos as artistic reference? What types of music do Jim Lee and Walter Simonson listen while they work? Little things that can help the fledgling artist as well as information that can bring a greater appreciation of the artistâ€™s work are peppered through this volume. You get to see examples of raw and finished art from various stages in the artistsâ€™ careers. The illustration pages themselves are as beautiful to look at as the artistsâ€™ published works.
This book is a must have for fans and comic scholars alike. Physically, the book is available in hardback and softcover editions measuring in at 8.5â€ x 11â€, 320 pages with color illustrations and black and white photography. The photography is a treat, as you get a glimpse of the artist in their studio, and plenty examples of their work.
There is an introduction by Guillermo (Hellboy II) Del Toro, and a foreword by the legendary fantasy author Michael (Elric) Moorcock. Unlike most introductions and forewords, which simply give lip service to a book, Del Toro and Moorcock weave interesting and funny tales which actually fit the subject matter of the book, giving you even more insight into what this book means too many people.
The list of illustrators reads like an awards nomination page. In total the twenty artists areâ€¦
1. Brian Bolland (Judge Dredd, Invisibles)
2. Dave Gibbons (Watchmen, The Originals, Green Lantern)
3. Tim Bradstreet (Punisher, Hellblazer)
4. Howard Chaykin (American Flagg, Mighty Love)
5. Sean Phillips (Hellblazer, Criminal)
6. Duncan Fegredo (Hellboy, Enigma)
7. Joe Kubert (Sgt Rock, Enemy Ace, Kubert School)
8. Mike Mignola (Hellboy)
9. Tim Sale (Heroes, Batman Long Halloween)
10. George Pratt (Batman, Enemy Ace)
11. Tommy Lee Edwards (Matrix, Batman Begins, Star Wars)
12. Adam Hughes (Star Wars, Ghost, Wonder Woman)
13. Sergio Toppi
14. Walter Simonson (Elric, Thor, Manhunter)
15. Jim Lee (Batman, X-Men, Superman)
16. Frank Miller (Sin City, 300, Dark Knight Returns)
17. Bryan Talbot (Luther Arkwright, Alice in Sunderland)
18. Alex Ross (Superman, Batman, Marvels)
19. Steve Dillon (Preacher, Wolverine)
20. Dave Taylor (Tongue Lash, Batman)
I really enjoyed reviewing this book, and could really find no fault with it. The black and white photographs of the artists in their studios fit the feel of the book perfectly and adds a layer that a regular magazine interview might have missed. Each interview also includes examples of works from the artist. From published work to raw sketches, they also give the book an even more complete feel. The only complaint that I could even begin to raise is that I wanted more. Although I am hesitant to give a â€œratingâ€ to a book such as this, I give STUDIO SPACE 4.5 out of 5 stars. There always needs to be a little room for improvement, but this book did not leave much.