Review by C.J. Bunce
We’ve seen the unique retro artwork of Juan Ortiz before, first in his episode-by-episode feast of posters in 2013 for the original Star Trek series (reviewed here at borg.com) and then in 2015 he attacked Star Trek: The Next Generation (reviewed here). With Ortiz’s original series posters, they all rang with a similar nostalgia vibe, applying mid-century retro imagery from advertising, movies, cartoons, and TV shows. Some of his Next Generation posters followed the rules he created with his first series, but they also veered in more symbolic and subtle representations than for his look at the original series. Juan Ortiz is back with his next homage to episodes of classic TV in the new oversized, hardcover, full-color artbook from Titan Books, Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space: The Art of Juan Ortiz.
Ortiz’s posters for Lost in Space are likely to appeal to fans of his original Star Trek poster art. This is likely because Ortiz has commented that he watched both the original Star Trek and Lost in Space before taking on his poster project, but much of Next Generation was new material he needed to watch for the first time. That passion and familiarity with the material follows through in each of his Lost in Space works–each one pulling something from the episode it honors. And the animated introduction to each episode (that was backed by John (“Johnny”) Williams classic theme) was tailor-made for Ortiz to incorporate those details, like the ship and the spacesuits, into several of his images. Better yet, you’ll find many images that feature the Robot.
Definitely among Ortiz’s best work, for fans of the series or not. You may want to cut some pages out of the book and frame a few for your wall. Who knows what is next for Juan Ortiz, but The Twilight Zone had 156 episodes–less than the 178 Next Generation episodes but more than the 83 episodes of Lost in Space, so maybe someone should talk him into giving those a try next? Especially because each episode was so vastly different, it would seem perfect for Ortiz’s imagination. Until then, you’ll want to see how the artist interpreted this great classic science fiction series that starred Billy Mumy, Angela Cartwright, Guy Williams, June Lockhart, Mark Goddard, Marta Kristen, and Jonathan Harris. Here is a look at four more posters from the book:
What’s the best of the bunch? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but make sure you look at Ortiz’s bonus character posters and chapter art, the 1960s colors of “The Sky is Falling,” the nicely creepy “Ghost in Space,” the fun “Wild Adventure,” and the comic book cover-inspired “Revolt of the Androids” and “Collision of Planets.”
And if you’re a fan of the series and haven’t connected with the show in years, I recommend Marc Cushman’s excellent scholarly look at the series, reviewed here at borg.com, Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space: The Authorized Biography of a Classic Sci-Fi Series.
Another attractive coffee table book for fans of classic sci-fi TV from artist Juan Ortiz, Irwin Allen’s Lost in Space: The Art of Juan Ortiz, arrives in bookstores everywhere today, and can be ordered here at Amazon.