The Art of Painted Comics
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment
Writer: Christopher Lawrence
Artist: Almost Everyone
Editor: Alex Ross
Every so often a really important book is published but at the time it came out, there did not appear to be much fanfare heralding its release. Certainly there was little to no acknowledgement of the publication of The Art of Painted Comics by Christopher Lawrence back in June of 2016 in my little corner of the internet. In all honesty, I don’t remember seeing an advance solicitation for it in Previews. I’m sure it was there but somehow I missed it. Luckily the owners of my local comic store know me and ordered one for me anyway.
THIS IS AN AMAZING BOOK! Whether you are an art aficionado, a person interested in the history of comics as an art form or just want to look at pretty pictures this book should be in your library. It is 256 pages of examples of some of the most glorious artwork to grace our industry. The book itself is 9.3 x 1.3 x 12.1 inches in size. I mention this because the dimensions of the book allow the reader to truly revel in the exquisiteness of the paintings.
Writer Christopher Lawrence (The Art of Red Sonja) succeeds in an Olympian task of tracing the history of comics back to Frank Munsey publishing of The Argosy pulp magazine in October of 1896 and then works his way forwards to the modern day comic books while taking some nifty backroads along the way. The book is extensively researched. There are chapters highlighting art from the Pulp era, The Golden Age of Comics, non-sports cards, Mad Magazine, paperback books and the monster magazine era among other things.
There are sections spotlighting the works of a multitude of artists. A very partial list includes Alex Ross, Jim Steranko, Frank Frazetta, Neal Adams, James Bama, Bob Larkin, Steve Rude, Bill Sienkiewicz, Matt Wagner, David Mack, Alex Maleev and many, many more. If you are unfamiliar with any of the names listed above you must buy this book because giant chunks of art are clearly missing from your soul.
Since this is an art book, it is not intended to be consumed in one or two sittings. This book should be read at a casual pace allowing the reader to fully soak in the enormity of the talent within its pages. This is not hyperbole. The art contained in the pages of this book is that spectacular.
I will always tell you to go to your local comic store first when searching for a book or comic. I do not know if it can still be ordered from Diamond but let your LCS take a shot at finding a copy for you. They need your patronage, support and money more than Amazon or E-Bay does.