Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘illustration’

08 OCTOBER, 2012

R. Crumb Illustrates Bukowski

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Two grand masters of irreverence come together.

In the early 1980s, two titans of the artfully cynical and subversive joined forces in an extraordinary collaboration: Legendary cartoonist and album cover artist R. Crumb illustrated two short books by Charles Bukowski, Bring Me Your Love (public library) and There’s No Business (public library). Crumb’s signature underground comix aesthetic and Bukowski’s commentary on contemporary culture and the human condition by way of his familiar tropes — sex, alcohol, the drudgery of work — coalesce into the kind of fit that makes you wonder why it hadn’t happened sooner.

In 1998, a final posthumous collaboration was released under the title The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship (public library) — an illustrated selection from Buk’s previously unpublished diaries, capturing a year in his life shortly before his death in 1994.

Complement with R. Crumb’s illustrated take on Philip K. Dick’s hallucinatory spiritual experience and Bukowski’s magnificent letter of gratitude to the man who helped him quit his soul-sucking day job to become a full-time writer.

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02 OCTOBER, 2012

Graphic Canon vol. 2: Literary Comics from Lewis Carroll to the Brontë Sisters by Way of Darwin

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Celebrated contemporary graphic artists adapt some of the most memorable literature since 1800.

Earlier this year, Russ Kick gave us the the first installment of his Graphic Canon trilogy, which culls illustrated adaptations of 190 classic literary works from more than 130 contemporary graphic artists. Today marks the release of the second volume, The Graphic Canon, Vol. 2: From “Kubla Khan” to the Brontë Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray (public library), which covers a remarkable spectrum of literature since 1800 and spans everything from “the bad boys of Romanticism” — Keats, Byron, and Shelley — to cornerstones of science and philosophy like Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra to prior favorites like Matt Kish’s Moby-Dick illustrations. The tome is the best thing in literary comics since Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant and a fine complement to the best graphic nonfiction of the past few years.

Lord Byron's 'She Walks in Beauty,' adapted by David Lasky

Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, adapted by Matt Kish

Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, adapted by Dave Morice

Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, adapted by Tim Fish

Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, adapted by Elizabeth Watasin

Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Raven,' adapted by Yien Yip

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Huxley King & Terrence Boyce

Detail from the Incan play Apu Ollantay, adapted by Caroline Picard

Of particular fascination and delight to me, as a hopeless Lewis Carroll fan, are the gorgeous takes on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, “Jabberwocky,” and “The Hunting of the Snark.”

Lewis Carroll's Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, adapted by Dame Darcy

Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark, adapted by Mahendra Singh

The Graphic Canon, Vol. 2, bound to enchant in innumerable ways, will be followed by volume 3 in March, which is now available for pre-order.

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25 SEPTEMBER, 2012

Mockup Diagram Drawings of the Interior of the Space Shuttle, 1981

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“This is a start to get a ‘feeling’ for space.”

This week’s bittersweet farewell to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, on the heels of the recent farewell to Atlantis, sent me reminiscing and rummaging through the San Diego Air & Space Museum archive of public domain images, where I semi-serendipitously discovered these delicious mockup diagram drawings of the interior of the Space Shuttle circa 1981:

Celebrate the Space Shuttle’s legacy with this magnificent Sagan remix, see pioneering astronaut Sally Ride’s first-hand account of what a Space Shuttle launch is actually like, then listen to Neil deGrasse Tyson make a passionate case for why space exploration needs more, not less, support and attention than ever.

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