And Then I Read: The Art of P. Craig Russell

Art of P. Craig Russell cover
©P. Craig Russell.

I’ve been a fan of Craig’s work since first seeing it on Marvel’s “War of the Worlds” feature in AMAZING ADVENTURES in the 1970s. I’ve watched his style mature and expand since then with great interest, and am delighted to now own this beautifully conceived, written and printed art book devoted to his work and career. Joe Pruett and his Desperado imprint have spared no expense here, and it shows on every page. This is a coffee-table art book, but more than that it’s a fascinating window into Craig’s development as a writer, artist and storyteller, and a primer for others wanting to follow the same path.

Art of PCR page

One thing that impresses me after reading Craig’s description of his process is how well thought out it all is. I’ve worked with him a number of times, including on the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline”, and have studied hundreds of his pages, but until I read it here, a lot of what he was doing went right by me. Craig has that talent reserved for the very best of making what he does seem natural and obvious, when in fact it’s very carefully worked out and sometimes agonized over. The page above from Gaiman’s “Murder Mysteries” gets a detailed process description that really opened my eyes to subtleties in Craig’s approach I had never noticed before, except intuitively.

PCR Spectre cover

And what a great designer he is! When given a free hand, such as on a run of covers for DC’s THE SPECTRE, his work is brilliant and original, each cover completely different from the rest, yet all with his unique stamp. One reason why I’m always a little nervous lettering his work — I know he could do it himself, and probably better!

And boy, does the man work. This collection only scratches the surface of what he’s been producing steadily since the 1970s, including personal works like his opera series, and collaborations with others such as inking. I can’t think of many other comics creators who have been producing work of such high quality for so long. He’s getting up there into Kirby territory on that count.

Brilliant work, briliant book, worth every penny. Don’t miss it.

One thought on “And Then I Read: The Art of P. Craig Russell

  1. Geoff

    Looks like a must have book. It’s always a great when you find a well done “process” book that is also an interesting read. Thanks for the info, Todd!

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