Review by C.J. Bunce
We’ve taken a look at multi-artist tribute concept books before at borg, including the excellent Alien: 40 Years/40 Artists, the Firefly Artbook, The Thing Artbook, Star Trek: 50 Artists/50 Years, and The Mike Wieringo Tellos Tribute. Any time we showcase a major benchmark in comic book titles, like Detective Comics 1000th issue, Wonder Woman’s 750th issue, and The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #800, or charity projects like the Wonder Woman 100 showcase, we see a great new spin on favorite characters from a new vantage: a variety of artists interpreting an icon of popular culture. Original art compiler Printed in Blood has partnered again with Titan Books to return to the Alien franchise with their new Aliens Artbook, featuring dozens of artists–most you haven’t seen before–interpreting the movie for its 35th anniversary. It’s available this month here at Amazon and at brick and mortar book stores everywhere. Other than in Alien: Covenant: David’s Drawings, you’ve probably never seen so many Xenomorphs in one place.
Titan Books has delivered another impressive coffee table-style book featuring more than 200 pages of all-new and exclusive art, including more than 100 pieces by professional artists, illustrators, concept artists, comics artists, and graphic designers. The most famous is probably poster and comic cover artist and concept artist Dave Dorman. From character portraits, poster concepts, to iconic scenes, each artist puts their own stamp on the film.
The best of this book are the images designed to look like vintage 1980s movie posters. Readers will feel like every artist must have always wanted to draw Xenomorphs for a book like this, as that subject rivals any other. The quality and interpretations don’t necessarily reveal any works that are better than the others. Devin Francisco’s cover is among the best. Dave O’Flanagan’s vivid scene of Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley and Jonesy the cat will have you believing it’s a photograph. Adam Cockerton’s choice of black and white medium is a stand-out. The artist who calls herself Sheila C. provides a lovely tribute to Bill Paxton’s character Private Hudson. Sam Green, Roger Motzkus, and Steve Alce opted for the movie poster style with good results. Surprisingly only a few artists included co-star Michael Biehn’s Corporal Hicks.
As with the Firefly Artbook, the editors collect many contributors who clearly were either not alive when the movie first arrived in theaters, or they don’t have that personal connection with the film. So the book plays out as more a training ground for new talent, dabbling in a franchise they otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity with. The results vary, but none come off as amateurish, and a few seem to have even tapped H.R. Giger’s own organic, disturbing vibe in their renderings.
For fans of Aliens looking for their next fix, check out Aliens Artbook, available now here at Amazon. And don’t forget to check out the other Alien and Aliens books reviewed here at borg, discussed here.