Friday Book Review
Hardware – The Definitive SF Works of Chris Foss – By Rian Hughes & Imogene Foss
I don’t recall being much of a science fiction reader when I was a kid. I certainly wouldn’t have attempted to tackle the complexities of an Isaac Asimov or Arthur C.Clarke novel back in those days as I’d have much better things to do like play Nintendo or try to teach myself karate in the back garden. But I do remember looking at and loving the cover art of these classic paperbacks, featuring dramatic scenes of huge, strange-looking spaceships and dangerous, uninhabitable planets. All long forgotten memories until I happened to pick up this recent title from Titan Books offering a career defining retrospective on the science fiction artist Chris Foss. For a moment I was a teenager again sporting a big smile in enjoyment of the stories these pictures told with no need for words, only an active imagination required. What really impresses me about these paintings is the vertigo inducing sense of scale he achieves in his scenes of planets peeking over the horizon, massive spaceships hovering over a city or alien beings going about their destructive plan. The work is great and there’s lots on show here, supported with text from the artist himself, plus contributions from Rian Huges, Imogene Foss, Moebius and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Essential for all science fiction art fans.
The Walt Disney Archive Series – Story
Story, the first in a series from The Walt Disney Archives is a beautifully produced book packed full of storyboard art and pencil tests from the earliest days of Mickey Mouse to later animation projects such as Tarzan. There’s plenty here to please general Disney fans and those more interested in seeing working drawings from the studio’s talented collection of artists. I was admittedly disappointed by the absence of anything from Sleeping Beauty, a film I consider to be one of Disney’s finest achievements and a missed opportunity to feature some sketches from the excellent Eyvind Earle. Another criticism would be the absence of any supporting text. I was expecting more information on their story development process, i.e. how the studio crafts their initial plots into fully formed stories, but only a short introduction from John Lassester is offered with the remainder of the book text free. Some may consider this a plus as it leaves more room for artwork, but it left me wanting more from a book I felt should have had this subject covered. Enjoyable and recommended for the artwork alone, but those looking for a more in-depth look into the studio’s development process should check out The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.