The Savage Art Of Bob Larkin: Volume 1 (art-book review).

A lot of S.Q. Productions catalogue is what is generally considered ‘good girl’ art softcovers. A few aren’t and this includes ‘The Savage Art Of Bob Larkin Volume 1’, released in 2009 and, from what I see, there wasn’t a volume 2. Saying that, much of his paintings is in this book, with an introduction by Joe Jusko and afterword by Alex Ross, both of whom love his work.

Chances are if you own any of Marvel’s black and white comicbooks, then you will have some Bob Larkin covers in your collection. His Hulk close-up was used to promote the first film. This book has them without the text. His work extends beyond that, showing him lampooning to fantasy to SF. There are several covers for the ‘Babylon 5’ books as well as for Doc Savage, like James Bama, he used Steve Holland as his model. There’s even a page of promo pencils showing he was as good in graphite as in colour.

Under my artist’s eye and seeing the work as a collective, his palate for characters rarely strays into strong blacks. Not that I don’t think he’s capable of doing them but cover art tends to sell better with bright attractive colours.

From the brief descriptions here, Larkin designs his covers first and then brings in a model to capture the nuisances he requires. Where he can’t get a model, he uses himself or his wife. His likenesses of real people are spot on.

It’s a shame there isn’t a second volume or any other book considering the amount of work Bob Larkin has done over the years. So if you haven’t bought this book by now, then its high time you considered adding it to your collection.

GF Willmetts

May 2022

(pub: S.Q. Productions, 2009. 66 page large softcover. Price: I think I pulled my copy for around £10.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-86562-175-6)

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