P. Craig Russell’s Jungle Book And Other Stories Fine Art Edition

This beautiful 12″X17″ oversized hardcover features complete stories scanned from P. Craig Russell’s stunning original art! While appearing to be in black & white, each page has been scanned in color to recreate as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art—including blue pencils, notes, art corrections and more. Pages are reproduced at original size on heavy paper stock to provide fans, aficionados and collectors with the best possible reproductions.

This 148-page Fine Art Edition includes the following complete Jungle Book stories:

  • The King’s Ankus (28 pages)
  • Red Dog (32 pages)
  • Spring Running (27 pages)

The “other stories” included are three of P. Craig Russell’s most acclaimed early works:

  • Siegfried and the Dragon (9 pages)
  • La Sonnambula and the City of Sleep (11 pages)
  • Breakdown on the Starship Remembrance (23 pages)

In addition to the complete stories, this special Fine Art Edition includes artist’s notes with background info on each stories as well as a bonus gallery featuring even more Jungle Book-related Russell art and covers!

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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.

Here we have our first crowdfunded Artist’s Edition format book, from P. Craig Russell and Wayne Alan Harold. Russell donated the bulk of his art to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library at Ohio State University and Harold went back to scan a lot of the work for various projects, including this one.

The approach to this volume was to follow the format already established by IDW, Graphitti Designs, Dark Horse and the rest of the existing publishers of Artist’s Edition format books, and for the most part it’s a success. Russell’s succinct recollections of the work as part of the chapter divider is a wonderful addition to the format.

When I first browsed through the book I thought there was a printing issue because the art was so dark, but that’s actually the discoloration of age and paper type. Most of the pages are a dark tan to brown, and are a stark contrast the bright white edges of the paper.

Scans are clear and clean for the later stories, but the first two Jungle Book stories have some blurriness and softness at the bottom of the pages, most likely from the page not being completely flat when scanning.

Blacks show some gradient. Russell’s work is quite clean with few corrections or notes, mostly focused on word balloons and lettering. You will see the odd splash of correction fluid and pencil notes in the margins; definitely a phone number with thumbnail of a dog. There is a great deal of Zip-a-tone throughout.

There are a few covers included and it’s interesting to see how they were assembled, with all text and logos pasted on. These are also our look at Russell’s coloured work.

Design is clean and simple. There’s a stark simplicity to the title page, indices and table of contents. The only colour in the book is the green chapter introductions and the yellow endpapers, with a second title page using the same title image as the cover. These draw from the cover colours and create a harmony, but some spot colour elsewhere would have added to the overall design since the bulk of the pages are scans of inked artwork and lack colour.

Production is excellent: sewn binding of thick matte paper stock. Most pages laid flat once I smoothed the center, but the binding is tight. The book comes without shrink wrap in a plain cardboard box, with two flaps opening from the center like the Dark Horse boxes. Along with the included stories the book closes with a small bonus gallery of newer work and a one-page biography of Russell. This the first book in decades I’ve seen without an ISBN number.