(This post inspired by Tori Amos, but dedicated to Lysdexicuss)
|There is an interesting article here about how the cover art was made.|
Its Tori Amos' 47th birthday today, so I'll be reviewing a book that is pretty much one of my favorite possessions. It is a 500 page graphic novel anthology inspired by her lyrics. If my house were burning down and I could only pick 5 books out of the hundreds in my library to save, this would be among them. I was mildly into comics before this came out, but to be honest it gave me an appreciation for them which I never knew was in me. It likely has something to do with Amos being one of my favorite musicians since I was 11 (although her last few albums haven't really been my cuppa, the first 7 are enough to make my devotion eternal). Also, I'm an art major so obviously visual wonderment has a direct line to my heart. You'll have to forgive me if I start fandoming, comics and Tori Amos together is almost enough to make me orgasm. However since this is a book review, I'll do my best to stay focused.
|This is the only image of Amos herself in the book.|
The project was put together by Rantz Hoseley, an old friend Tori wrote (Flying Dutchman) one of her earliest songs for. It starts with an introduction by the increasingly prominent writer Neil Gaiman, another close friend whom she met through Rantz. The book includes 51 stories which correspond to as many songs from across Tori's unimaginably gargantuan repertoire of music. Each story would start with a black page including the song title and lyrics, then the following pages would show the story. There are 80 contributing artists, boasting an assortment of techniques and styles. One of the best things about this book is the variety of visual appeal. It ranges from modern cartoon to detailed illustrations to paintings to collages and everything in between. As an artist, I use this like an inspiration scrap book. I can go back to the stories over and over again to find stimulation to which can help me break through any artistic barriers I might be experiencing in my work. Throughout this post I'll include some single pages from a few of the stories to give you an idea of the diversity in the genres. It might seem like I'm giving away a lot but trust me, this doesn't even begin to scratch at the surface of this iceberg, and I've not included the best ones.
The very best thing about this book is that its not just meant for Amos fans. When the artists were presented with the songs they would be working with, it was made clear that they were not to create comic book "music videos" out of them. They were told to focus their creative energy on making visual representations of how the songs make them feel, rather than designing literal translations of them. Amos asked the artists to present their own interpretations of what the songs mean to them, instead of trying to imagine what they meant for her. Therefore, if her music hasn't been something you've really been into, it wouldn't really effect your enjoyment of the comics themselves. As a fan (or an Ear with Feet, if you're down like that) I really enjoy seeing these alternate realizations of the songs which I've seen in the light of my own thinking for so long. These stories make me see things in the songs I somehow missed before, and I'm always interested in looking at things from a different perspective.
Full list of contributors: David Mack, Josh Hechinger, Matthew Humphreys, Jonathan Tsuei, Eric Canete, Jason Horn, Dean Trippe, Sara Ryan, Jonathan Case, Rantz A. Hoseley, James Stokoe, Tristan Crane, Atticus Wolrab, Kako, Nikki Cook, Drew Bell, Kevin Mellon, Jeff Carroll, Mike May, Jeremy Haun, Amber Stone, Leif Jones, Elizabeth Genco, Carla Speed Mcneil, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Andy Macdonald, Nick Filardi, Cat Mihos, Andre Szymanowicz, Gabe Bautista, C.B. Cebulksi, Ethan Young, Joey Weltjens & Lee Duhig, Omaha Perez, Irma Page, Mark Buckingham, Rantz A. Hoseley, Ming Doyle, Mike Maihack, John Ney Reiber, Ryan Kelly, Alice Hunt, Trudy Cooper, Jonathan Hickman, Matthew S. Armstrong, Neil Kleid, Christopher Mitten, Kristyn Ferretti, Stephanie Leong, Sonia Leong, Peov, Kelly Sue Deconnick, Laurenn Mccubbin, John Bivens, Hope Larson, Emma Vieceli, Faye Yong, Chris Arrant, Star St.Germain, Mike Dringenberg, Paul Maybury, Jim Bricker, Craig Taillefer, Dame Darcy, G. Willow Wilson, Steve Sampson, Neal Shaffer, Daniel Krall, Adisakdi Tantimedh, Ken Meyer Jr., Mark Sable, Salgood Sam, Tom Williams, James Owen, Seth Peck, Daniel Heard, Ivan Brandon, Callum Alexander Watt, Leah Moore, John Reppion, Pia Guerra, Mark Sweeney, Kristyn Ferretti, Jessica Staley, Shane White, Ted Mckeever, Chris Chuckry, Jimmie Robinson, Lea Hernandez Derek Mcculloch, Colleen Doran and Jason Hanley.
"I have been surprised, excited and pleasantly shocked by these comics that are extensions of the songs that I have loved and therefore welcome these amazing stories of pictures and words because they are uncompromisingly inspiring. It shows you thought is a powerful, formidable essence and can have a breathtaking domino effect." - Tori Amos, 2008