Alan M. Clark
Illustration & Fine Art

Published by:

ISBN: 0-9671912-7-0
Edition size: 500 numbered26 lettered
MSRP: $49.00$250.00

Before people start pelting me with rubble and other fine objects, let me state that I have a soft spot for art books, for I have a VERY soft spot for artists. People who can draw seem almost alien-like to me, as I have absolutely ZERO artistic talent myself. Indeed, I can barely print legibly, much less sketch out something that looks recognizable. And from what I've seen of Alan Clark, the man is bursting with both skill and talent. He's a true asset in the fields in which he works, which spans horror, science fiction, and other markets and genres.

Because of this, I was very keen on obtaining this book, which contains a wealth of full-color illustrations Mr. Clark has done over the years for a variety of projects. I saw a lettered edition being sold on eBay and just had to bite. What I got was something of a mixed bag. Please see the below thumbnail comments to read my reservations.

You have to understand that the devil is always in the details. And while there are a lot of details to applaud with this presentation of Mr. Clark's material, there're others that are glaringly missing endemic to the book itself. It IS a good effort. Just not quite good enough. I don't know why publishers continue to crank out lettered editions while virtually ignoring the "meat" of the production - the book.

Perhaps I'm being unjustly harsh, but the MSRP was $250 and the deficiencies are pretty obvious.

- L E T T E R E D -

The traycase front, designed by Imagine Metal Products, a division of Mass Precision Sheetmetal, Inc. IMP has also done both slip and traycases for Bloodletting Books, Necessary Evil Press, and others. They do fantastic work and are revolutionizing the field.

The rear of the traycase, sporting the IFD logo and IMP's website.

And the spine.

An interior shot of the complete production with the front door opened.

Now this is a very nice addition - a rough sketch of the cover of Cemetery Dance's production of Taverns of the Dead. As you can (hopefully) see, it is fastened to the traycase.

The book itself. Here is where my problems begin. As you can see, there is no dustjacket. The cover design is part of the boards and laminated. It uncomfortably reminds me of a school textbook. Producing a dustjacket and leather-binding the book would've been terrific value-enhancing elements.

A good feature. This black material is a foamy mat and protects the book from hard knocks.

A close-up of the tab which connects the traycase door to the traycase itself.

Very unusual and very cool - a decal affixed at the top, complete with the letter serial. It is fashioned from a Clark final depicting a demon composed of red paint struggling to free itself from a tube of said paint.

A full-frontal of the book.

And the book's spine.

The rear of the book, sporting a wealth of quotes from heavy-hitters within the industry.

My second big problem - plain Jane endpapers. C'mon, this is an artbook! Let's see some designs or illustrations here!

Perhaps my biggest disappointment is this, the limitation page. I can't think of a more boring way to serialize a lettered production for an ARTBOOK than just some text. Ugh!

The copyright and dedication pages.

A very unique offering - a CD called "Controlled Accidents" which contains films documenting Clark's painting techniques. NOTE - this was also included in the numbered edition, so this is NOT a lettered exclusive.

The title page.

This and the following pics are interior samples. They are all in brilliant color. These are pages 10 and 11. Note that this contains the finalized illustration for Taverns of the Dead.

Pages 36 and 37. Several of the illustrations throughout the book are "wide" and necessitate spanning across the spine.

Pages 44 & 45, a complete, full-bleed illustration. Really beautiful. There are several of these scattered within the book.

Pages 52 & 53. Some will immediately recognize this as The Pumpkin Boy from Al Sarrantonio's Orangefield series.

Pages 140 & 141. Again, a spine-spanning, full-bleed illustration, and a really disturbing one.