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Thursday, June 01, 2006

 
Art Out of Time -- Dan Nadel's hardcover art book surveys some of the wonkiest, almost-forgotten comics of the 20th century.

There's some wonderful stuff in the book, but most of the newspaper strips are reproduced at a ridiculously small size. Art Out of Time should either have been larger, or the strips excluded in favour of comics that more comfortably fit the format.

Probably my favourite stories in the book were by Bob Powell and Howard Nostrand, two journeyman artists who are showcased in truly bizarre little stories. This was also my first exposure to HERBIE THE FAT FURY, and found that, uh, not as entertaining or interesting as some people apparently have over the years.

I also found Rory Hayes much less interesting than I had previously heard; his inclusion in the book doesn't really make much sense, but, Nadel tries to explain it away in the text.

I may sound more negative than I mean to -- I think the plusses outweigh the minuses, and it's a great package of rarely-seen works by some pretty strange talents. The biggest flaw is the small size of the newspaper strips, but virtually all of the comic book material included is of interest in one way or another, and the design and production values are outstanding.

The Spurge had a nice preview of the book recently.

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