First of all, I'm second to none in my admiration for Mr. Struzan's work, all of which garners five stars. This book, however has a number of problems ( and reviewers have given it 5 stars w/out even seeing it!)
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde; it's worse than bad, it's half good. What a missed opportunity! Despite its size and promise, this is not a career retrospective. Although there are a number of anecdotal stories of Drew's early years, there is very little early work. We're told of his many album covers, but shown only the much reproduced Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper art. There is very little here a long-time fan hasn't seen before. ( For those of you contemplating Running Press' "Movie Posters of.. " book, 91 of the 97 pieces in that book are here as well. Frankly, it's a better book. At least you can read the title of the art on the same page.)
The lack of any type of information or credits on the work is extremely frustrating. We're told virtually NOTHING about the work. Pieces possibly done as prints or other than movie one sheets are credited only as "c. 2000 Drew Struzan". What were they done for? How were they done? Some of the more experimental pieces seem to be in oil, rather than Struzan's airbrush and prismacolor style; NO information,not even a simple " 27 x 41 in., acrylic on board" is provided. There are no thumbnails, reference or preliminaries shown; no actual size details. Sequential images of a work in progress? Not here. The Superman poster done for the Thought Factory is a different image here, done in the Leyendecker oil style, rather than the airbrush piece printed. No explanation. No comparison. Just look at the art- what, you want to learn from a book?
OK, so what does the book provide? The production is problematic. The writing is printed in gray, not black, it's lighter on some pages than on others, and the page numbers are printed both in gray AND tiny, making them almost impossible to read. You'll need those page numbers; you need to flip to the rear section to find the list providing the titles and copyrights (again, no other info) of every painting. I know those Star Trek covers I like were comic books because I know Wildstorm is a comic book co.; if I didn't, I wouldn't. Like that Star Wars piece you've never seen before? It's copyright Lucasfilm , of course, so whether it was done for a book cover, video game, fan club magazine or comic book is anyone's guess; unless you know already you're out of luck in terms of finding it in its original incarnation.
The book comes with three 3-page foldouts, another production problem, another questionable result. Two of them in my copy were slit halfway down the fold; I had to exchange it, for which I rec'd a second damaged copy. More on that later. Except for the Star Wars Special Edition triptych, wherein all 3 posters have a common background, the foldouts are wasted. The other 2 are used to see the 3 "Back to the Future" and "Indiana Jones " posters side by side. (The initial -and re-release- domestic "Raiders" poster was done by Amsel, and the 2nd too was by another artist; the 3 Drew posters are not linked compositionally.)Considering the cost they undoubtedly added to the book, they ( at least the two right-side pgs.)could have been put to better use showing a horizontal work , such as the "Lost World" art on p.44-45 or the "Star Wars Roleplaying Game 2000" on p. 140-141, both of which are instead spread across the gutter of the book, a wide 3/4 inch split running down the center of each image. Most of the 2 page spreads are broken up in this manner, though a few have a smooth transition.
So, is the book worth it? To an artist and collector who waited a year and a half for it, it's a disappointment, though a nice set of plates to show your family and friends who Drew is and why you like him so much. The problem seems to be getting a good copy .I rec'd 2 damaged copies, Amazon wouldn't let me exchange a 2nd time so I took the refund; I MIGHT try again in a few months. But I'll be reading other reviews; look at the "used and new" section on the page listing; you'll see multiple " "fulfillment by Amazon. Never read copy" 's at cheap prices with "large wrinkle or bend on DJ" or "multiple folds and tears" listed. Can you say, "return"? This publisher doesn't inspire confidence. That "Howard Pyle, His Life and Art " is coming out soon;a big ticket item, a more important artist; maybe we should save our $$ for that, you know? CAVEAT EMPTOR.