David Wright’s Carol Day: Lance Hallam

David Wrights Carol Day Lance Hallam cover

In Lance Hallam, we reprint the complete story (minus 3 episodes) from the original art, in the full size of the originals, a pleasingly large 17 x 5.25 inches. Our goal is to give readers an experience as close as possible to viewing the original art and to provide a definitive presentation, as Wright and his art deserve, of one of David Wright’s very best stories.

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As with all AE format material (Artist’s Editions, Artifact Editions, Gallery Editions, Art Editions, Studio Editions, etc.), this is a collection of classic comic material and I’ll be reviewing the book and not the story. For a complete list of all current and announced editions, with review links, please visit our Index. Also, see What is an Artist’s Edition and our Artist Index. This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

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This is an extensive volume that attempts to cover every facet of Wright and Carol Day from within the perspective of the Lance Hallam storyline. Four pages of Foreword. Each chapter has a two-page introduction, with the first page a full-page enlargement of art. Eighteen pages of A Brush with Fitzrovia: The Elegant Art of David Wright, reprinting the article from Illustrators issue 2, covering Wright’s career. Forty-two pages Lance Hallam Art, scans of full-size original art comprising the Lance Hallam storyline, with three strips from tear sheets. Twenty-four pages of The Artistry of Lance Hallam, an essay on the style and techniques used. Thirty pages of Carol Day by Today’s Artists, fifteen artists’ interpretations of Carol Day. Fourteen pages of Lance Hallam Art Boards, the original art with its full margins at six to a page. Four pages of Acknowledgements, with the three editors giving thanks and mentions. Finally, four pages of Project Journey… with details on the website, gathering art, and producing the book.

The star of the book is the original art, presented at full size. All scans are clear and without issue; no softness or pixelation. Blacks show gradients. Pencil guidelines are visible in the word balloons. Correction fluid is used sparingly to clean up word balloons. To see Wright’s original artwork at full size is a revelation, if only to bask in the cross hatching. Wright was a master of the comic strip: panel layout, facial expressions, lighting, the flow of cloth, and on and on.

The original art is presented twice: once at full size, two strips to a page with the margins trimmed, and then reduced to six strips to a page with the full margins. Since the margins only contain printing notes, they feel superfluous.

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Clark’s piece on Wright from Illustrators magazine is excellent, and reprints the complete article with the art at different sizes: some pieces are larger and some are smaller. His breakdown of the story is exhaustive and provides as much insight as anyone could want. Unfortunately, approximately one third of the book is the original art story and two thirds is ancillary material, with all of it contributing to the cost.

Bolland says about his work in the Today’s Artists section: “When I was asked to provide a cover for this collection, it seemed unthinkable to me that it would be by anyone but David Wright. This is, after all, David Wright’s Carol Day“. I don’t understand a chapter of the book with art and biographies of artists other than David Wright.

The design is outstanding. The colour palette is very limited and complements the original art elegantly. Page numbers and chapter names line the outer bottom of each page. The top of the story pages gives episode numbers and dates. The text font does something to my eyes when I’m reading it; there’s a hollowness to it. And everyone loves a silk bookmark. Oddly the page across from the colophon is blank and with no frontispiece.

The production exudes quality, from the quarter cloth binding all the way through. The paper is 200 gsm with a medium gloss. The gloss works for the other chapters, but the original art doesn’t appear to benefit: if the goal was to present the original art as it is, then low or no gloss would mimic the originals. The book comes shrink-wrapped in a cardboard case that only bears a small publisher’s emblem, opening from the middle. The case has two removable sides that allow for easy removal and insertion; an excellent touch. The cardboard is a bit flimsy but gets the job done.

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It’s an exceptional collection: the book is worth its price for the original art, since you can’t buy one daily strip for $350 USD. But the ancillary material grossly outnumbers the pages of original art two-to-one. The design and production are well worth the cost, but couldn’t they have cut out the pages of the smaller original art and modern artists’ interpreting Carol Day and added a second storyline? Or removed those pages and reduced the cost?

While shipping is free to U.S. customers, Canadian customers are in a lurch. Originally solicited as $25 USD shipping to Canada (which still is in the eBay listing), the website changed to $40 USD, but eBay is the official outlet and it’s charging $102 USD for shipping to Canada. I ordered the first hour and was charged $10 USD but paid significant duty as the package was not categorised as a book: at the current shipping cost you wouldn’t be reading this review. I checked shipping costs via several discount sites and found UPS shipping from Colorado to my Canadian address for $26 USD. Something there is broken.