Masters of Comics – Joel Meadows (Insight Editions)

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Having an obsessive personality isn’t the crippling hindrance that the ill-informed purveyors of second hand tabloid “facts” would have the rest of the world believe it is. While it does have its drawbacks and can, and does, make you a slave to repetition and numbers and the safety and comfort that they offer, it also transforms your need to learn and know everything about your chosen obsessions into a finely, honed and sharpened weapon guided by single minded, laser focused precision. At times it’s an overwhelming appetite that borders on the manic and it can be both terrifying and exhilarating, but without it I wouldn’t have a mind that’s packed to bursting with a litany of information about fringe culture and the forces, factors and people responsible for its creation.  But without it, there’s also a good chance that I’d be a reasonably normal, functional human being able to deal with the pressures and responsibilities that life continually places in my path without completely melting down. It’s the gift that gives and takes away in equal measure.

Masters of Comics feels like it was written to appeal to, and satiate, my all-encompassing desire to know as much as I possibly can about the artists responsible for, and whose work fuels, some of the greatest stories and characters that have emerged from the four colour universe.  Diving deeply into the hidden world of the men and women responsible for breathing life into comics, Masters… is a mesmeric and entrancing journey into the unique process that each of the subjects featured adheres to and offers a unique and enticing glimpse behind the hidden doors of their studios. Meadows easy and personable interview technique allows the personalities of the artists to emerge in each of the gloriously detailed snapshots of who the people behind the pencils, inks and brushes really are and how the combination of their psyches, drive, talent and surroundings meld and work in harmony. Through a near perfectly balanced fusion of gorgeous imagery, photography and narrative, Masters of Comics pulls back the curtain on an often secretive and largely unexplored corner of the world of comics that’s almost as fascinating as the images and fables that emerge from the imaginations of the twenty one artists whose creative lives are detailed within its pages. And the good news is that you don’t have to be crazy obsessive to enjoy it, as anyone with a passing interest in, or passion for, comics will also find it endlessly fascinating.  It’s time to meet the Masters… Tim Cundle

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