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Book Review: Rolling Thunder: The Art Of Dave Dorman
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Rolling Thunder: The Art Of Dave DormanRolling Thunder: The Art Of Dave Dorman
By Dave Dorman
IDW Publishing
Release Date: August 3, 2010
Cover Price: $49.99

Being a huge fan of Dave Dorman‘s artwork over the years, I jumped at the chance to take a look at and review the new art anthology book on his work and career, entitled Rolling Thunder. The large hardcover book – suitable to be a coffee table book – covers a great deal of Dorman’s calling; but is also a nice overview in how many geeks and fans of so many franchises have been touched by this man’s talent and genius over the years.

While I am also a Star Wars fan at heart, allow me to highlight first and foremost that this book is NOT all Star Wars stuff. Dorman has been well known to Star Wars fans (particularly those addicted to the expanded universe) for many years. There is an agreeable deep chapter dedicated to his Lucasfilm-related art, which includes prints, designs, and covers he has done for both Star Wars and Indiana Jones – some popular ones that have surfaced on the web that I am sure many are familiar with.

This book is really for a deeper look into Dorman’s work beyond Star Wars, from film concept art to comic covers, to posters, to card designs, and so much more that will boggle your mind. Rolling Thunder takes a sweeping look at his designs (after all, a full look at his work would make for a publication a hundred times the size of this one) and provides fans with an opening glimpse into other areas he has worked in.

The introductory chapters are relevant to many fans as they show the evolution of Dave Dorman as an artist. With some detailed text highlighting his journey into the 1970s and 1980s learning his craft, the introduction delivers a lot of interesting paintings from Dorman’s early development. Some surprising Hulk paintings make an appearance, along with numerous pieces showing the influence of Frazetta on Dorman’s early art.

These chapters provide the readers with a pleasant overview not only into what influenced Dorman, but how he developed his own unique style. Ask any fan acquainted with his work – they could identify Dorman’s work at a glance, his style becoming a huge fan favorite, identifiable for his accuracy with likenesses and deftness with color selection.

I absolutely enjoyed the section on comics, seeing Dorman’s exploration through characters such as Batman, Spider-man, Captain America, and more. The Classic Battlestar Galactica work is worth taking a look at, as is Dorman’s unbelievably intimidating piece on Judge Dredd done for DC’s second issue of the title character during their run.

TCG fans will love his art for Magic: The Gathering and fans of World of Warcraft will love the works in the latter part of the Gaming chapter. I was also blown away by the Tori Amos artwork done by Dorman for the RAINN network.

Tori Amos: Scarlett's Stop by Dave Dorman

There is also an impressive chapter dedicated to the Alien vs. Predator franchise, highlighting the incredible work Dorman contributed to the comic book series. His efforts during this era were as instrumental to AVP as Giger’s work was to the first Alien film. Dorman’s work was eventually used (or influenced) designs and concept art used for the two AVP movies that came out.

I have extremely little to criticize about this book, for it is a beautiful feast for the eyes; but being a Star Wars fan, I would be remiss in mentioning the lack of Dark Horse Expanded Universe covers in the book. Dorman’s contributions to Tales Of The Jedi, Dark Empire, Crimson Empire, and more were substantially significant to the development of the Star Wars EU during the 1990s, and he was instrumental in influencing where it is today. It would have been wonderful to see the cover art from those comics and graphic novels, unencumbered by titles and logos, but unfortunately it is not to be.

Outside of this, the coffee table book operates as a fabulous treat for the eyes and spirit, with some compositions from franchises that you might not even be familiar with that WILL move you in some way or form. The inclusion of work from Dave Dorman’s own created works The Wasted Lands, Rail, and more; accompanied by some more personal work including self-portraits, and works inspired by his wife Denise Dorman, are also wonderful. Rolling Thunder is a book that is not only an enjoyable reading and viewing the first time around, but has astronomical value in its re-readability you will return to it again and again and again.

Overall Rating: 4½ out of 5

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