Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Miracle of the Fur Lined Coat

In 1996 Stewart, Tabori and Chang published "The Life of Saint Nicholas" by R. O. Blechman.

It went on to be criminally underappreciated by critics, cartoonists and the book buying public in general.

It's hard to say why.  Poor marketing?  High price point?  Or maybe the style and tone were just out of fashion -although Sarah Boxer did very well a few years later with "In the Floyd Archives," similarly smart and deceptively simple.

Here is one story from the book "The Miracle of the Fur-Lined Coat".

The "chapter page" is more of a title card, interrupting the beginning of the story (which will end two pages before the next "chapter page").

I love that it's a comic book without a grid pattern.  The drawings live on the open page -a technique that allows for the design of the whole page to pace the story.

The coloring was done with airbrush (this was produced just after the introduction of "layers" in Photoshop).  Tom Hachtman did the painting.

While I sometimes find the copy a little precious, the art and design always carry the story.

There's a cinematic quality to layout that wasn't even evident in "No Room at the Inn" (which happened to be based on a book).

Even though the art is flat, there depth is created through scale, color and layout.

The book is long out of print but copies pop up with regularity.  Prices vary from $1 to $100.  There was only one printing, so they're all first editions.

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