Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Review: Morbid Curiosity by Mike Dubisch

You may not know it, but if you've ever picked up a horror or sci-fi magazine in the last twenty years, chances are you've seen the artwork of Mike Dubisch. Throw in all the Illustrations for book covers and graphic novels he's created and Dubisch lines up as one of the more unique artists in the field. His new book Morbid Curiosity collects the best of his black and white illustration work.


One of the great things about a book like this is you get a real sense for how an artist evolves over time. The book opens with The End of History, a contest winner that appeared in Asimov's back in 1986. It's a great starter image for the book, showing immediately that he possessed a high level of talent and a keen eye for dramatic illustration. While it shows the strong influence of his predescessors---Wrightson, Corben, Frazetta, and more---it has hints of a vision all his own.

the end of history

The End of History

The work become more distinctive as the book moves on. Bode Turtle Soldier is a strange humanization of a simple animal blended into something more.It doesn't take long for the work to give a stronger sense of his own personality. Mad Scientist---with a long neck and, heavy head, and maniacal smile---shows a twisted caricature of man. It's done so well that you don't even need the title to know what the crazy portrait represents.

bode turtle soldier

Bode Turtle Soldier

mad scientist

Mad Scientist

The book continues with page after fantastic page of strange biomorphic images, terrifying monsters, sexy aliens, and other playfully dark twistings of form. overall we see a strong sense of line, a vivid imagination, and a love of experimentation. The illustrations take on a narrative quality, each one moving beyond the confines of simple illustration and transforming into a snapshot of the surreal imaginings inside Dubisch's mind.

the survivalist

The Survivalist

The images here in my review have been cropped and edited slightly to fit the narrow confines of the blog format. If you like what you see here, you'll find higher quality images on his website and, of course, in his book. Later this week I'll be reviewing Wierdling, a graphic novel Dubisch both wrote and drew.


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