The Fine Art of Film

I was surprised and happy to see that Criterion is now offering spectacular prints of select DVD art for sale. Some of them were created by talented comic book artists whose work I’ve enjoyed for 20 years such as Bill Sienkiewicz (Stray Toasters, Elektra and some of the best Batman stories you’re likely to read) and Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets). I’m not all that familiar with Darwyn Cooke’s wonderful work in comics, but his DVD designs for Criterion are also really impressive. Currently you can purchase fine art prints from the Criterion Shop where they’re selling for $100-125.00 and are limited to one hundred first editions.

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Bill Sienkiewicz’s work based on Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964)

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Darwyn Cooke’s work based on First Man into Space (1959)

This seems like the perfect time to mention that a couple of my favorite artists currently also have fabulous film-themed fine art prints for sale. . .

The brilliant comic book artist Paul Pope (The Ballad of Doctor Richardson, THB, Heavy Liquid and also some of the best Batman stories you’re ever likely to read) has created an incredible piece of work called Harmonica Man based on Sergio Leone’s epic western Once Upon a Time in the West. Harmonica Man is currently available as a limited edition print from Fourth Estate. Only 50 of these beauties were made and they currently sell for $200.

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Paul Pope’s Harmonica Man based on Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

Pop art sensation SHAG (aka Josh Argyle) has just released a new limited edition print based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. As most film aficionados know, Shakespeare’s play has been the basis for many great movies including Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet and the musical West Side Story. I love how SHAG “reimagined” the Romeo and Juliet setting and gave it a mod touch. If you’re looking for the perfect holiday gift to buy your sweetheart – or favorite film blogger – this is it! Only 200 copies of the print are available and you can purchase them at the Shagmart for $175.

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Shag’s Romeo and Juliet

The following three artists don’t have fine art prints available of their work yet, but they should. Cartoonist Pete Emslie is a film fan and many of his eye-catching illustrations are based on his favorite movies and film stars. Here’s his latest piece based on Hitchcock’s Vertigo, but visit his blog to see more wonderful stuff.

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Pete Emslie’s interpretation of Vertigo (1958)

I recently discovered that the talented cartoonist Scott Brothers had linked to my blog from his terrific site. While I was skimming through his blog archives I was thrilled to find some really cute pop art inspired illustrations there based on television characters and film stars, including this one of one my favorite actresses; the lovely Edwige Fenech.

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Scott Brothers’ Edwige Fenech

Last but not least, check out this incredible illustration of actor Lee Van Cleef recently created by artist Vincent Altamore. You can find more illustrations of film stars at his blog.

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Vincent Altamore’s Lee Van Cleef

16 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Film

  1. Rick Olson says:

    Kimberly, great art. I especially like Emslie’s vision of Vertigo and Brothers’ Edwidge Fenech. I seem to remember she was a choice for the 20 Actress Meme ….

  2. ratzkywatzky says:

    The Alamo Drafthouse has been commissioning some great posters over the years. Here are a couple of the latest:
    http://tinyurl.com/5zoplz
    and great Cool Hand Luke and Robocop posters:
    http://tinyurl.com/5f9qdb
    Here’s the store that sells them all, and,luckily, they store images of the ones that are no longer available for your viewing pleasure:
    http://tinyurl.com/6oq5qo
    I bought this fine Two Lane Blacktop for a friend at the Flatstock convention in Seattle last year:
    http://tinyurl.com/69hd2w

  3. Bob says:

    Great, great stuff Kimberly. I’ve been hearing great things about Darwyn Cooke myself. (He did a revival of one my all time favorite strip, the soon-to-be-utterly-travestied “The Spirit,” a few years back that I really should check out some day.)

    I have to see Jaime’s contribution at some point. Both he and brother Gilbert are pretty serious movie fans (surprised he didn’t contribute as well), so that’s got to be good.

  4. Neil says:

    Responding to Bob’s comment, I’ve read the first half of Darwyn Cooke’s run on “The Spirit” and it is indeed a lot of fun. He also did a Catwoman story, “Selina’s Big Score”, which is done in the style of Richard Stark’s Parker novels, and it’s magnificent… and even more excitingly is currently working on a series of adaptations of the original Parker novels.

    And that First Man in Space is one of my favorites up there.

  5. cinebeats says:

    Glad you enjoyed the post, Rick & Neil! And thanks for sharing other art links ratzkywatzky & Martin.

    Neil – I sort of stopped following comics after 1998 so I think I must have missed a lot of Cooke’s early work. I’d like to see his Spirit and Catwoman stories so thanks for the tip. I like Cooke’s style a lot.

    Logboy – Thanks for catching my typo, which I’ve dutifully corrected. I was also reminded of a Wolverine story that Bill Sienkiewicz did that I really liked. It was a mini series turned into a graphic novel called Inner Fury. I’m not much of a Wolverine fan, but I really liked the way he drew him. Sienkiewicz is a talented artist!

  6. Andrew Monroe says:

    Darwyn Cooke did a terrific Justice League of America mini-series: The New Frontier. It`s been collected in a trade and also, if you`ve got deep pockets, a beautiful hardcover Absolute Edition. It should be right up your alley, Kimberly, as it`s set in the Silver Age. I love his retro style. Btw, The New Frontier was also made into an animated film, the dvd is fairly cheap and should also be at Netflix. They did a respectable job of capturing the style of the comics, if neccesarily also having to leave out a lot of the subplots.

    I loved his all-too-brief run on The Spirit too.

  7. Neil says:

    I second Andrew’s comments on “The New Frontier”. Excellent stuff. My problem is only being a little in love with “Selina’s Big Score” – which is out of print and can be found cheap in its own package and is now a part of the larger “Batman: Ego” collection, along with some other things of varying quality.

    I agree about getting comics. I go to the comics store and looking at the shelves of new things… Some of which I’m sure I’d like… and getting a massive headache, so I end up leaving empty handed or with a trade collection of something from the ’70s.

  8. Bill says:

    All great stuff. I set the vertigo illustration as my desktop. Hope you post some more stuff like this as your choice of images is excellent.

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