Tripwire’s editor-in-chief Joel Meadows reviews new art book on Bill Sienkiewicz, Revolution Volume 1, out now from Six Foot Press…
Bill Sienkiewicz: Revolution, Volume I
Introduction: Neil Gaiman
Six Foot Press
The word genius is perhaps one which is overused when it comes to describing creative figures. Comics as an industry has had a number of artists and writers who fall into this category over the years. The 1980s was a watershed moment for comics with creators like Frank Miller, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean and many others showing that you could do more with comics. You can add Bill Sienkiewicz to that list. Bill Sienkiewicz began his career in the early eighties but he quickly grew in stature, from being a Neal Adams to treading his own path as an artist. Bill Sienkiewicz Revolution Volume 1 is a beautiful hardcover book that tries to encapsulate the different facets of him as an artist.
It opens with an introduction by the aforementioned Gaiman, who has a pretty good handle on why Sienkiewicz is such a monumental talent. Then we get a sizeable interview with him where he talks about his career, his work and his early life. Then we switch to straight reproductions of his work, everything from a significant chunk of Stray Toasters to single Batman images to his New Mutants and back again.
The problem with trying to encapsulate Bill Sienkiewicz in one book is a little like trying to capture wind in a bottle. Do you go for his more outré company commissioned pieces or his more personal work?
Revolution does come close as Gaiman’s introduction and Ben Davis’s interview do lend some context to Sienkiewicz’s work. However, one of the best things you can say about him as an artist is his versatility and his ability to morph from one kind of artist into another. He is constantly pushing himself and you can see that from the work that is reproduced here in a very lovely hardcover format. It does make it very difficult to publish a book which is definitive however and so his greatest strength creates a huge quandary for anyone trying to pin down the spirit of Sienkiewicz. Looking through this, you realise that he continues to be one of the most versatile and varied artists working in comics and illustration today. He also straddles the lines between comic art and illustration and fine art too. What is also incredible is that the artist’s ardour for pushing the boundaries in his work and trying new things hasn’t abated despite four decades in the industry.
Revolution is an exquisite book which comes close to capturing his essence on the page and apparently this is the first in a series of three books about Sienkiewicz. Congratulations to Six Foot Press for pulling this off. Fans of the artist or of distinctive modern comic art should run to grab this book.
Bill Sienkewicz Revolution Volume 1 is available now from Six Foot Press and all good book and comic shops