Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Making tracks

An early example of a graphic novel (published in 1994) with the graphic aspect totally unrelated to the conventional meaning of the term.  There are thirty-nine paintings by Michael Flanagan (1943-2012) on the right-hand pages but you really have to see some to appreciate the extraordinary amount of work that has gone into them. Each image has a photographic style rendering with some handwriting underneath.  This writing is typeset on the left-hand page and printed on a color panel.  Additional type on the page is the novel and if you read the editorial review from Publishers Weekly above you'll get a good idea of what this aspect of the book is about.

I thought the story was worthwhile enough but my interest in the book is primarily the paintings.  Flanagan has managed to capture a bygone age of the railroad but in a unique way.  The pictures are on torn and crumpled paper with stains, creases, tape stuck on a tear and nicely here and there additional pieces of paper underneath the top sheet, all this has 

been painted  Actually it's a shame that the book wasn't bigger so the reader can enjoy these amazing images.  I couldn't find any reference to how big the originals were, with the amount of handwriting below each image I would guess they were three or four times the size in the book.

I think this is a remarkable book which you can pick up for less than the shipping costs. 

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