ADDRESSES: Home—18 Edgemoor Rd., Gloucester, MA 01930. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Freelance artist, consultant, and designer; writer.
Original Comic Art: Identification and Price Guide, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1992.
100 Greatest Comic Books, introduction by Jim Steranko, Whitman Publishing (Atlanta, GA), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including Ms., the San Francisco Chronicle, and Forward.
SIDELIGHTS: An artist and designer, Jerry Weist is also an aficionado of animation and comic books. In Original Comic Art: Identification and Price Guide and 100 Greatest Comic Books he provides advice for the would-be collector or enthusiastic fan on obtaining the best that the world of comics has to offer. He is also a science-fiction reviewer, and in Bradbury: An Illustrated Life: A Journey to Far Metaphor he combines his artistic and literary interests to write about science-fiction master Ray Bradbury.
Bradbury grew out of decades of friendship and correspondence between Weist and Ray Bradbury, but it is not an in-depth biography of the famous writer. Instead, it is "an intricate look at his writing career, at the imagery and metaphor inherent in his work, and which has been used to illustrate his work," as Maria Nutick explained on the Green Man Review Online. The works reproduced in the coffee table-sized book include cover art from Bradbury's many novels, comic-book adaptations of his works, and posters from various movies based on his stories. In addition to illustrating Bradbury's own development over the decades, these reproductions provide something of a history of popular art over the twentieth century, as well as the many different ways talented artists have envisioned the same books and images.
There are also more intimate reproductions, such as the beautiful covers of two antique books that had a profound impact on Bradbury as a child and caused him to consider writing fantasy as a career. Photographs of friends and mentors that were important in his science-fiction career are included, too, as well as quite a few of the author himself. Still, the many images that affected Bradbury and the ways his works have inspired artists over the decades form the book's heart. Bradbury himself suggested the subtitle, and his introduction describes his realization of the profound importance of visual metaphor in his writings.
"Weist's text is appropriately concise. He allows the photographs and their captions to do the talking; it is an illustrated biography, after all. What he does offer in historical and accompanying expository is well written, albeit without significant revelation," commented Randy M. Dannenfelser in a review for Infinity Plus. He also includes reproductions of letters, interviews, and personal writings from Bradbury that provide insight into his works, as well as commentaries about Bradbury himself, such as director François Truffaut's journal written during the filming of Bradbury's classic novel Fahrenheit 451. Overall, however, these writings serve as a supplement to the pictures and photographs. "If you are looking for a Ray Bradbury biography, Bradbury: An Illustrated Life may not be your best choice," concluded April Galt on the Curled Up with a Good Book Web site. "But if all you are interested in is a chronological view in pictures of Bradbury's professional life, this book is perfect."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
BookReporter, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (November 23, 2005), Joe Hartlaub, review of Bradbury: An Illustrated Life: A Journey to Far Metaphor.
Curled Up with a Good Book http://www.curledup.com/ (November 23, 2005), April Galt, review of Bradbury.
Green Man Review Online, http://www.greenmanreview.com/ (November 23, 2005), Maria Nutick, review of Bradbury.
Infinity Plus, http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (November 23, 2005), Randy M. Dannenfelser, review of Bradbury.
SF Site, http://www.sfsite.com/ (November 23, 2005), Steven H. Silver, review of Bradbury.