Browsing the archives for the art/graphics category.

Re-illustrating children’s books

art/graphics, fiction, kid lit

tin_poky-puppy{The Poky Little Puppy, reimagined by Tin}

The G1988 gallery in San Francisco is about to lauch a new show - artists “re-illustrating” children’s books. Each piece is based on a classic piece of kid lit - incl. Dr. Seuss, the Alice books, The Little Prince, Snow White, Calvin and Hobbes - with new and definitely different sensibilities being brought into play.

You can see some of the work here and here.

The show opens Friday.

The 10,000 inscriptions of Alhambra

archives, art/graphics, history, religion

Wall Inscriptions at the Alhambra (Granada)

Researchers are cataloging and translating the 10,000 Arabic inscriptions coating the walls and ceilings of Spain’s Alhambra palace.

Many inscriptions consist of aphorisms, terse sayings embodying a general truth, such as “Be sparse in words and you will go in peace” and “Rejoice in good fortune, because Allah helps you.”

What the researchers have found so far is that, contrary to popular belief, verses from the Koran and poetry represent only a tiny minority of the messages in classical Arabic that cover the Alhambra, Europe’s finest example of Muslim architecture.

“They do not make up not even 10 percent of what has been studied so far,” explained Mr Castilla. Instead the elegant Arabic script contains a large amount of sloganeering, predominantly praise for the Nasrid dynasty who ruled Granada for two and half centuries.

The Nasrid motto - “There is no victor but Allah” - is the most common inscription found so far.

The next most common messages are isolated words like “happiness” and “blessing” that are thought to be expressions of divine wishes for the Muslim rulers of Granada.

Until now there have only been partial studies of what the inscriptions meant, including one ordered by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella who sought to purge Spain of Muslims after the reconquest of Granada in 1492.

“It seems incredible that there is no exhaustive catalogue (of the inscriptions) in the 21st century,” said Mr Castilla.

Many of the inscriptions are wrapped around arches and pillars, making them hard to read with the naked eye from ground level.

Further complicating the task is the fact that artisans who did the engraving used an elaborately cursive script, which can be difficult to read. Calligraphy was a major art form in a culture that banned human images.

The researchers hope to have 65 percent of the inscriptions catalogued and translated into Spanish by the end of the year and the entire project finished in 2011.

The inscriptions will be later translated into English and French.

A DVD and book have been published containing the findings in the Alhambra’s 14th-century Comares Palace.

Wall Inscriptions at the Alhambra (Granada)

{via the Daily Grail}

{images by cconaty}

“Howl” movie

art/graphics, free speech & censorship, movies, poetry, writers' lives

A movie about Ginsberg’s “Howl” is officially underway:

“Howl” is a genre-expanding feature-length exploration of the courtroom drama of the obscenity trial over Allen Ginsberg’s poem, as well as an animated re-imagining of the poem.

James Franco stars as Ginsberg; Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are directing; Gus Van Sant is co-executive producer.

illuminated-poemsThe Ginsberg Project reports that the film’s animated version of the poem is being done by Eric Drooker, who graphically adapted “Howl” and other works from Ginzy in the book Illuminated Poems.

Moby Books - gone but not … actually, they are forgotten

art/graphics, canon, out-of-print, publishing


Anybody else remember Moby Books? They put out adaptations of classic lit for kids, and the coolest thing about each chunky little book was that the right-hand page of every single spread was an illustration.


When I Googled “Moby Books,” I expected to find at least one site obsessively devoted to them, with a complete listing of titles, cover scans, interior scans, maybe even interviews with the illustrators, a history of the company (kind of like this site devoted to Big Little Books, or this one that zealously chronicles The War of the Worlds) … but there’s almost nothing. Not even a Wikipedia entry. The only info comes from Book Safari, which sells “vintage series books”:

This paperbound series of adaptions of the classics were similar in style to Whitman’s Big Little Books of the 1930’s and 40’s. These tiny books measure 5.5 inch by 4 inches and feature an illustration on every other page. The artwork depicts the action described on the facing page. At least 41 titles were available in this series during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. The books were published under the Moby Books logo by Playmore, under arrangement with Waldman Publishing Corporation. In 2002, selected titles were reissued by Playmore without the Moby Books logo.


I’m cobbling together this little page as placeholder, a reminder … hopefully it’ll spur a fan of the series to put up a full site.

Sources for images:, The Lady Jane Grey Internet Museum, War of the Worlds Book Cover Collection, The Time Machine Project





Graphics/comics goodies


the-beats-pekar* Two new titles from Harvey Pekar due soon:

The Beats: A Graphic History

Studs Terkel’s Working: A Graphic Adaptation

* Also arriving in the near future:

Best Erotic Comics 2009, edited by Greta Christina

Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? by Neil Gaiman

Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? by Alan Moore

Pogo: The Complete Daily & Sunday Comic Strips, Vol. 1: Through the Wild Blue Wonder by Walt Kelly

* And who could resist Wilde About Holmes by Milo Yelesiyevich, based on the description?

Sherlock Holmes, in the absence of Dr. Watson presses Oscar Wilde into his service to help protect candidate Grover Cleveland from a sexual scandal in the 1884 U.S. presidential election, but everything goes wrong.

book of the day > The 27s

art/graphics, book of the day, music


The 27s: The Greatest Myth of Rock & Roll, written by Eric Segalstad, illustrated by Josh Hunter (North Atlantic Books, 2009)

Amazon | publisher’s page

From North Atlantic Books:

Excess and tragedy are the stuff of music legend, but it is only with hindsight that deeper patterns emerge. None of these is more striking than the deaths at age 27 of some of the greatest musicians of our time.

Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. Brian Jones. Kurt Cobain. Founding bluesman Robert Johnson. All died at 27. Their stories, as well as those of ill-fated members of the Grateful Dead, The Stooges, Badfinger, Big Star, Minutemen, Echo & the Bunnymen, and The Mars Volta, are here presented for the first time as a profound and interlocking web that reaches beyond coincidence to the roots of artistic causality and fate.

The 27s is the first comprehensive account of the lives and legacies of the thirty-four musicians who make up (to date) rock’s most notorious myth. It is also a capsule history of rock & roll, twisting and turning through decades and genres, unfurling layers of numerology, philosophy, and astrology along the way. The text is complemented by compelling and multifaceted artwork that brings a nonlinear graphic-novel edge to this major contribution to the study of rock culture.

book of the day > Divas of San Francisco

photography, sex


Divas of San Francisco: Portraits of Transsexual Women by David Steinberg (Red Alder Books, 2008)

David writes:

People who want to buy the book can get it at Amazon, or can send a check for $25 (half price plus postage) made out to me at:

David Steinberg
Red Alder Books
PO Box 641312
San Francisco, CA 94164


All images copyright 2007 by David Steinberg

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War of the Worlds images motherlode

archives, art/graphics, canon, science fiction

war-of-the-worlds-coverThis site displays the covers of 355 editions of Wells’ War of the Worlds, from 1898 to 2008, in English, German, Hebrew, Catalan, Chinese, Turkish, etc.


Another page on the same site has dozens of images from illustrated editions, graphic novels, and comic adaptaions through the decades.

And don’t miss the third page, showing miscellaneous imagery related to audio, video, models, fan art, etc.

Lost Girls as one affordable volume

anthology, art/graphics, sex

lost-girls-new The complete Lost Girls will be published as a swanky single-volume hardcover retailing for $45 (Amazon has it for $29.70), compared to the original three-volume set from 2006 that retailed for $75 (and is now out of print). It’s due in April.

book of the day: Humbug

anthology, art/graphics, book of the day, humor


Humbug by Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Will Elder, Al Jaffee, & Arnold Roth (Fantagraphics, 2009)

Amazon | publisher’s page

Fantagraphics has posted the entire first issue of Humbug as a PDF.

From the publisher:

Harvey Kurtzman changed the face of American humor when he created the legendary MAD comic. As editor and chief writer from its inception in 1952, through its transformation into a slick magazine, and until he left MAD in 1956, he influenced an entire generation of cartoonists, comedians, and filmmakers. In 1962, he co-created the long-running Little Annie Fanny with his long-time artistic partner Will Elder for Playboy, which he continued to produce until his virtual retirement in 1988.

Between MAD and Annie Fanny, Kurtzman’s biographical summaries will note that he created and edited three other magazines, Trump, Humbug, and Help!, but, whereas his MAD and Annie Fanny are readily available in reprint form, his major satirical work in the interim period is virtually unknown. Humbug, which had poor distribution, may be the least known, but to those who treasure the rare original copies, it equals or even exceeds MAD in displaying Kurtzman’s creative genius.

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Robert The: book artist

art/graphics, books as objects


Robert The’s artistic medium of choice is the book. The object above is an actual book. (Funny that I stumbled across his work the day after finding out that famed literary biographer Lyndall Gordon has titled her upcoming bio of Emily Dickinson A Loaded Gun.)

Robert The’s website

“The Book Art of Robert The, Cara Barer, and Jacqueline Rush Lee” [Quarterly Conversation]


book of the day: American Beauty

art/graphics, book of the day, humor


American Beauty by Michael Hernandez de Luna (Bad Press Books, 2008).

Sample art.


From the publisher:

American Beauty is an artist’s investigation into those Icons of popular culture wading in politics, religion, decadence and sex. This book commemorates and pokes fun at those who have fallen from society’s graces because of lousy judgment and questionable life styles. Prepare yourself for a guided tour of America’s underbelly of misconduct and bad taste through the artworks of Chicago artist and provocateur Michael Hernandez de Luna, who puts it all together for you in the miniature framework of the postage stamp, while using the US postal system as phantom collaborators in the process of creating and certifying his art with the bona-fide markings of the postage cancellation. This book rolls over the many issues of Americana with images hailing the protesting cheer of subversive activism, philately, humor and satire. This book contains colorful biting images of raw and provocative artwork that will surely make you laugh! A little something for everybody!

Lou Romano illustrates Poe

art/graphics, canon


Animation artist Lou Romano (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant, Monsters, Inc., etc.) is creating illustrations and linoleum-block prints for 15 of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories. Above are the illos for “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Other images from this exciting work in progress are here.

Manga Lama

art/graphics, bio, religion

The Dalia Lama’s biography as a manga graphic novel. I haven’t seen it, so I can’t say whether it covers his involvement with the CIA, but I doubt it.


The publisher, Emotional Content, is also putting out manga bios of Mother Teresa, Che Guevera, Malcolm X, MLK, Anne Frank, and Gandhi. More info at Publishers Weekly.

Codrescu on living the Dada life

art/graphics, essays

In The Posthuman Dada Guide: tzara and lenin play chess, Andrei Codrescu writes:

This is a guide for instructing posthumans in living a Dada life. It is not advisable, nor was it ever, to lead a Dada life. It is and it was always foolish and self-destructive to lead a Dada life because a Dada life will include by definition pranks, buffoonery, masking, deranged senses, intoxication, sabotage, taboo breaking, playing childish and/or dangerous games, waking up dead gods, and not taking education seriously.

If you have any doubt as to whether you are posthuman or merely human, take a look at the following parts of your body: the city, the house, the car, the iPhone, the laptop, the iPod, the pillbox, the nonflesh surround. If sixty percent of your body is now electronic or bioelectronic, living in space designed for efficiency, you will need Dada as a corrective to what will certainly be the loss of the modicum of liberty you still possess.

Dada intends to open the doors at night to let the wilderness back in. Dada is a tool for removing parentheses and removing the world from between quotes with the forceps of inspiration. Sometimes this will call for disruptive spontaneous action, creating and holding TAZ (Temporary Autonomous Zones), actualizing dreams, running with gangs, living with animals, and making peace with weather. Sometimes it will mean going after parts of speech, like “like,” or other rhetorical devices, but we will never discourage direct address, on the off chance that someone is listening.

Meaty excerpts are availble on Princeton Univeristy Press’s website.

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