Catalogue created for the exhibition “The World of John Buscema” held in Lucca, from 30 October to 3 November 2019, during the Lucca Comics & Games international convention and then at the CArt Gallery starting from Saturday 9 November and until 20. The Mostra offers two complete stories by the American master, one of Thor and one of Conan, as well as various covers and tables from some of the main series on which the Master has worked.
The large-format hardback catalogue was produced in a limited edition of only 150 numbered copies, all accompanied by a dust jacket.
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.
An exhibit catalogue from Italy presenting two full issues, three covers, five additional interior pages, a six-page biography, an introduction by Gabriele Dell’Otto, and a hand-numbered edition of 150. All text appears in Italian on the left and then in English on the right.
Because it’s an exhibition catalogue a synopsis is included for each issue, including one for all the extras, plus notes about artist and medium. Since that material is the same for the complete issues it feels superfluous. The notes section on each page could have listed the margin notes instead of the same Comics Code stamp on the back.
All the art appears to have been cropped and resized since the artboards are all 8.75″ x 13.25″ in the book. Scans are excellent with no softness or visual artifacts. Correction fluid on most pages. Because of the cropping, we don’t get the full margin notes. Some paste-ups and blue pencil here and there. And quite a bit of tape.
The design is wonderful in its use of enlarged images for text backgrounds. It harkens to Artist’s Editions and follows the “established” format. Excellent use of black, white, and grays: I’m not sure if that’s brown or gray on the synopsis and chapter divider pages. The table of contents has page numbers but the individual pages aren’t numbered, even though there’s plenty of room for it.
A sewn binding of 170 g/m² white matte paper. The binding is tight, and after stretching the spine and smoothing the pages I couldn’t get the book to open flat.
The dust jacket is a throwback to its more historical use as a book protector: thick rough paper with cover and spine text. It was cut oddly as well and could use a level trim. A Mylar bag would have served the book better.
This is the best original art exhibition catalogue I’ve seen, as it contains two full issues, covers and additional pages. While I would prefer some changes, that’s because I’m looking at it from the eye of an AE format reader, which this book leans towards while still keeping its art gallery roots. The introduction from Dell’Otto works as a tribute, and the biography gives a nice overview of the period this art comes from.
This one is a little different as it’s only available directly from the gallery where the exhibit was held. Well, that seems standard for exhibition catalogues. Shipping to North America is high but worth it.