P. CRAIG RUSSELL: The last of #34 for a while. The final two pages. The silent page on the left is the one that writer Don McGregor looked at and said, in so many words, “This doesn’t need words.” A great compliment from a fellow professional and good friend.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL: 1975. Amazing Adventures #34. Writer Don McGregor was telling the story in flashback on this first page and wanted the lettering to reflect the change from the present, so they employed typeset instead of hand lettering. It set it apart and also, because of typeset’s smaller size, allowed him to write as much copy as he wanted.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL: 1975. Double page spread from Amazing Adventures #34. There are good things and bad things about working ‘Marvel’ style, that is, working from a synopsis instead of a finished script. On the one hand it forces the artist to think visually when fleshing out the story, making the events as clear as possible to the viewer through ‘silent movie’ action. Also, it gives the writer some visuals to bounce off of when writing the final script. On the minus side, the artist can never completely match facial expressions and body language to the subtleties of the final script because there isn’t one at that point. But it is a great training tool for the narrative artist.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL: 1975. Amazing Adventures #34. I’d just come back from the Bleeker Street Cinema where I’d seen my first Antonioni film, L’Avventura, and laid out these two pages. Everything had to be “widescreen.” I was jazzed.
P. CRAIG RUSSELL: 1975. Of the 10 issues of Killraven/War of the Worlds I worked on, I did finished inks on five of them. A Death in the Family from issue #34 of Amazing Adventures is the one that I’m happiest with. Don’s decision to write it ‘Prince Valiant’ style, i.e. no word balloons, just prose, works really well. Of course there was always editorial interference with Don’s work so the directive came down that at least three pages (2-4) had to have word balloons. It made no sense but it left the rest of the book free to try something different.
We’re happy to report that the Guide to Graphic Storytelling Volume 5 DVDs (and all associated rewards) will ship out in August–a full three months ahead of schedule. A preview lesson is above.
Also, Volumes 1-4 are still available in limited quantities.
Very occasionally an adaptation can differ radically and still seem to win us over through its sheer ingenuity. The Graveyard Book Volume 1 is, indeed, faithful to the original prose novel. And yet it is not cautiously so. The artwork does not take a backseat to making sure that the prose is paramount. For those familiar with the work of P. Craig Russell, you’ll note that he has long experience handling very dense storytelling and making choices about how to convey intricate narratives without crowding artwork with text, as in his Ring of the Nibelung Cycle. He’s also a remarkable visual magician when it comes to panel arrangement and creating very full pages that really reinforce the “novel” in the phrase “graphic novel”. One of the features of his artwork that enables him to do this so graceful is his careful study of expression and pose in his characters, also seen in his adaptation of Gaiman’s novella Coraline.
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P. CRAIG RUSSELL: 1991. The Magic Flute. I was at the ’91 San Diego Comicon where I saw Charles Vess’s artwork on display at his table. Beautiful, oversized charcoal drawings. I was so inspired by his work that this was the first piece I did when I got back home to the studio. It bears no relation to his choice of medium nor the size of his drawings. It just felt like coming home from a revival meeting.