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Best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, McKean defied expectations with his stunning debut as writer and artist in Cages, winner of multiple awards for Best Graphic Album. Dark Horse proudly presents a new original graphic novel by the legendary artist based on the life of Paul Nash, a surrealist painter during World War 1. The Dreams of Paul Nash deals with re Best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, McKean defied expectations with his stunning debut as writer and artist in Cages, winner of multiple awards for Best Graphic Album. Dark Horse proudly presents a new original graphic novel by the legendary artist based on the life of Paul Nash, a surrealist painter during World War 1. The Dreams of Paul Nash deals with real soldier's memoirs, and all the stories will add up to be a moving piece about how war and extreme situations change us, how we deal with that pain, and, in Nash's case, by turning his landscapes into powerful and fantastical psycho-scapes. David Tench McKean is an illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician. His work incorporates drawing, painting, photography, collage, found objects, digital art and sculpture. After a trip to New York in 1986 during which he failed to find work as a comics artist, McKean met writer Neil Gaiman and the pair collaborated on a short graphic novel of disturbing childhood memories, Violent Cases, published in 1987. This was followed in 1988 by a Black Orchid miniseries (again with Gaiman) and Hellblazer covers for DC Comics. Beginning in 1989 he produced the covers for Gaiman's celebrated series The Sandman, all its collected editions and many of its spin-offs, and the Batman graphic novel, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, with writer Grant Morrison (1989). McKean has gone on to collaborate further with Neil Gaiman in both print and film.


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Best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, McKean defied expectations with his stunning debut as writer and artist in Cages, winner of multiple awards for Best Graphic Album. Dark Horse proudly presents a new original graphic novel by the legendary artist based on the life of Paul Nash, a surrealist painter during World War 1. The Dreams of Paul Nash deals with re Best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, McKean defied expectations with his stunning debut as writer and artist in Cages, winner of multiple awards for Best Graphic Album. Dark Horse proudly presents a new original graphic novel by the legendary artist based on the life of Paul Nash, a surrealist painter during World War 1. The Dreams of Paul Nash deals with real soldier's memoirs, and all the stories will add up to be a moving piece about how war and extreme situations change us, how we deal with that pain, and, in Nash's case, by turning his landscapes into powerful and fantastical psycho-scapes. David Tench McKean is an illustrator, photographer, comic book artist, graphic designer, filmmaker and musician. His work incorporates drawing, painting, photography, collage, found objects, digital art and sculpture. After a trip to New York in 1986 during which he failed to find work as a comics artist, McKean met writer Neil Gaiman and the pair collaborated on a short graphic novel of disturbing childhood memories, Violent Cases, published in 1987. This was followed in 1988 by a Black Orchid miniseries (again with Gaiman) and Hellblazer covers for DC Comics. Beginning in 1989 he produced the covers for Gaiman's celebrated series The Sandman, all its collected editions and many of its spin-offs, and the Batman graphic novel, Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, with writer Grant Morrison (1989). McKean has gone on to collaborate further with Neil Gaiman in both print and film.

30 review for Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash Limited Edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    J. Kent Messum

    *Review originally published in the New York Journal Of Books: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-... “I’m a room without a door. A war artist, without a war.” War is a terrible thing. With brutal indiscrimination it carves up victims and separates survivors. Those that live through it can often teach us more than any historian ever could. With art and prose, some even do it in a way that transcends. Paul Nash was one such individual: an English WWI soldier, official war artist, and poet. With hi *Review originally published in the New York Journal Of Books: http://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-... “I’m a room without a door. A war artist, without a war.” War is a terrible thing. With brutal indiscrimination it carves up victims and separates survivors. Those that live through it can often teach us more than any historian ever could. With art and prose, some even do it in a way that transcends. Paul Nash was one such individual: an English WWI soldier, official war artist, and poet. With his words and paintbrush he revealed the battlefield for what it really was, both during and after the Great War. As one of the most influential and important artists of his era, a graphic novel recounting his life and delving into his fractured psyche is a more than fitting tribute. Acclaimed illustrator David McKean draws the story for us in the rich alternating styles of Nash, doing the old artist proud and then some. The result is 'Black Dog', named after the visitant canine that plagued Nash’s dreams and visions from his childhood to his post-war years. Neither malevolent nor benign, this specter skulked in his periphery through sickness and in health, war and peace. It acted as an omen, messenger, foe, and friend. The writing in Black Dog is sparse, and while largely effective, it isn’t the focus of this work. A picture paints a thousand words, but under the influence of Nash, McKean’s creations have the ability to double, even triple that. There are several different surrealist styles in play, and the shifting artwork reminded me often of the Hellraiser graphic novels, a series renowned for its incongruously frightening art and stories (which McKean himself actually contributed to at one point). But where Hellraiser reveled in abstract fantastical horror, Black Dog wallows in our earth-borne war-torn nightmares and sleepwalks through the dreams dredged from such. This book has the ability to build a sense of wonder in the reader, but also shock and awe. For instance, the incredible two-page illustration of a German zeppelin over London imagined as a massive airborne coelancanth-type creature will stick with you for days. It’s hard to be critical of a work based on a celebrated artist, writer, and soldier. Thankfully, blessedly little misses its mark in Black Dog. There are times, far and few between, where the poetry strains at its weakest links or the prose can come off heavy-handed. As a record of one man’s life experience there is an absence of pretentiousness, but the writing can still seem didactic in places. Whenever this occurs it isn’t long before a striking or breathtaking piece of art balances the book back out. Surrealism is a tricky thing, and isn’t for everyone. But in the context of the stressed and strained mind of a surviving solider coming to terms with the warfare he witnessed, it is a near perfect fit. Damaged souls can give a commanding voice to both beautiful and harrowing stories. Paul Nash is the embodiment of it and Dave McKean harnesses his power, channeling it into a superior graphic novel that everyone should experience.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    I had never heard the name Paul Nash before (unless we're talking about a certain Goodreads friend here ;P) but I do know of Dave McKean through his work with Neil Gaiman. It was the latter showing sneak peeks or reporting about the progress of the upcoming work on Twitter to endorse it which made me look at it. Both World Wars are difficult topics for me as a German (you wouldn't believe how many people have called me a Nazi in my life) but I regard them as very important too. One of my favourit I had never heard the name Paul Nash before (unless we're talking about a certain Goodreads friend here ;P) but I do know of Dave McKean through his work with Neil Gaiman. It was the latter showing sneak peeks or reporting about the progress of the upcoming work on Twitter to endorse it which made me look at it. Both World Wars are difficult topics for me as a German (you wouldn't believe how many people have called me a Nazi in my life) but I regard them as very important too. One of my favourite books (Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet At The Western Front) is about World War I. Moreover, I have the same opinion about the education of any topic, but especially "difficult" ones, as Paul Nash seems to have had himself: burying your head in the sand isn't going to cut it, we have a duty to educate ourselves and others. Before getting to the book, I'd like to take the time to give you a little overview on Paul Nash's life since this is paramount to understanding the book itself and many motives for Nash's art pieces: He was born in 1889 as the son of a lawyer and had a Captain of the Royal Navy as his maternal grandfather. He also had two younger siblings (a brother and a sister). Since his mother was showing signs of mental illness, the family moved to the countryside. Unfortunately, the mother died in a mental institution when she was only 49. Despite all efforts and plans by his father/grandfather, Paul Nash failed to become a Navy officer. However, motivated by a fellow student, he considered a career in the arts, went to several schools (although such institutions don't seem to have suited him) and soon after started writing poetry and plays and befriended many people in the art scene of the time, who all praised him and his talent highly. Interesting is that his brother, John Nash, was a fellow artist with whom Paul even had a show. By 1914, Paul Nash enjoyed quite some success, but in September 1914 he reluctantly enlisted as a guard at the Tower of London so he still had time for his paintings while doing his duty to his country as he seems to have seen it. In December of the same year he got married to a campaigner of the Women's Suffrage movement. In 1916 he began officer training and was sent to the Western Front at the beginning of 1917. The place he was sent to was relatively quiet at the time so he saw no major engagement. However, a few months later he fell into a trench and broke a rib, resulting in him being sent back to London - only a few days before almost everyone in his unit was killed in an assault on their position. He always considered himself lucky and apparently tried to see the bright side of things (like nature reclaiming trenches - green vs. brown). While recuperating from his injury, he made several paintings which were later shown in two exhibitions. It was these exhibitions that resulted in him working for the government's War Propaganda Bureau. At the end of 1917 he returned to his former post, but in his capacity as a uniformed observer. This time he came under fire quite often and lived through the true horrors of the war (also because this time he was deployed during dreary winter instead of optimistical spring). He seems to have been shocked about this and very angry too about the war apparently resulting in the area being utterly destroyed to a point where not even nature could reclaim it. Thus, he became disillusioned within about two weeks, leading to him writing to his wife the following lines: I have just returned, last night from a visit to Brigade Headquarters up the line and I shall not forget it as long as I live. I have seen the most frightful nightmere of a country more conceived by Dante or Poe than by nature, unspeakable, utterly indescribable. In the fifteen drawings I have made I may give you some idea of its horror, but only being in it and of it can ever make you sensible of its dreadful nature and of what our men in France have to face. We all have a vague notion of the terrors of a battle, and can conjure up with the aid of some of the more inspired war correspondents and the pictures in the Daily Mirror some vision of battlefield; but no pen or drawing can convey this country—the normal setting of the battles taking place day and night, month after month. Evil and the incarnate fiend alone can be master of this war, and no glimmer of God's hand is seen anywhere. Sunset and sunrise are blasphemous, they are mockeries to man, only the black rain out of the bruised and swollen clouds all though the bitter black night is fit atmosphere in such a land. The rain drives on, the stinking mud becomes more evilly yellow, the shell holes fill up with green-white water, the roads and tracks are covered in inches of slime, the black dying trees ooze and sweat and the shells never cease. They alone plunge overhead, tearing away the rotting tree stumps, breaking the plank roads, striking down horses and mules, annihilating, maining, maddening, they plunge into the grave, and cast up on it the poor dead. It is unspeakable, godless, hopeless. I am no longer an artist interested and curious, I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on for ever. Feeble, inarticulate, will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls. In May 1918 there was another show of the pieces he had created in the meantime many of which can be seen until March 2017 at the Tate in London (more about that later). After the war, he was determined to continue his career but struggled with depression and financial problems. He lived in Buckinghamshire and in London where he made theatre designs for a play by J.M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan for those of you who don't know). From 1920 until 1923 Nash taught, on an occasional basis, at the Cornmarket School of Art in Oxford. In 1921, after visiting his sick father, Nash collapsed and, after a week during which he repeatedly lost consciousness, was diagnosed as suffering from what was then called 'emotional shock' arising from the war. He and his wife therefore moved and, after a successful exhibition in 1924, spent the winter near Nice and visited Pisa and Florence even. In 1930 Paul Nash worked as an art critic. Nash became a pioneer of modernism in Britain, promoting the avant-garde European styles of abstraction and surrealism throughout the 1930s. In 1933 he co-founded the influential modern art movement "Unit One" with fellow artists. It was a short-lived but important move towards the revitalisation of British art in the inter-war period. Between 1934 and 1936 Nash lived near Swanage in Dorset, hoping the sea air would ease his asthma. He produced a considerable number of paintings and photographs during this period. After two years, Nash had come to dislike Swanage and in mid-1936 moved to a large house in Hampstead where he wrote articles on "seaside surrealism", created collages and assemblages, began his autobiography and organised a large show at the Redfern Gallery in April 1937. In 1939, shortly after World War 2 began, the Nashes left Hampstead and moved to Oxford. At the start of WWII, Nash was appointed by the War Artists' Advisory Committee to a full-time war artist post. Since his style had changed, it was demanded after some time that this full-time contract was terminated (which then happened in December 1940). In January 1941 the Committee agreed to purchase works from Nash on the theme of aerial conflict. Nash worked intermittently under this arrangement until 1944. After completing The Battle of Britain, an imaginative representation of an aerial battle in progress over a wide landscape of land and sea, Nash found himself creatively blocked and again sick with asthma. Nash's final painting was an extraordinary imagined scene of a bombing raid on a city, called Battle of Germany, which is one of my favourites of all that I've seen so far. From 1942 onwards, Nash often visited the artist Hilda Harrisson at her home to convalesce after new bouts of illness. During the final ten days of his life, Nash returned to Dorset and visited several places he had previously lived at or which held meaning for other reasons. Nash died in his sleep of heart failure (a long-term result of his asthma) on 11th July 1946. The Egyptian stone carving of a hawk, that Nash had painted in Landscape from a Dream, was placed on his grave. As mentioned further above, the Tate in London will have an event about this book, Black Dog, on 13th November 2016 as well as an exhibition of Nash's work until March 2017 (I am very tempted to try and get to London in that time just to see it in fact). Now, for the book itself. The book recounts war stories and experiences, apparently not only limited to Nash's. Dave McKean managed to brilliantly capture the tone of the stories and Nash's reflections while still express himself. Below are three of my favourite pages: The last picture fails to appropriately captivate the vividness of the green patches which I found especially gorgeous and moving. I'd also like to mention the format of the book. It is quite large, probably also in order to be an apt coffee table book, but mostly in order to give the artist more canvas to work on and impress the reader with. Which it does. The back cover shows Nash's memorial plaque, but that is not the only time I felt the profound respect Dave McKean must feel towards Paul Nash. As any true war story, the memories/experiences are hard to read, utterly haunting but also utterly beautiful (the text as much as the art). The story tells of the beginning of WWI, how people regarded it as their duty to join and fight, of the reality in the trenches and the horrors of war (first hope, then disillusionment) and of the end - the global one as well as the personal one. Nature is a recurring theme, very important as it was for Paul Nash, symbolizing a multitude of things. But the book also uses the titular black dog as the symbol for many themes from depression and lack of energy to nightmares, war itself and death. A wonderful tribute to a great artist, a horrible war, anyone who fought and all those who have died in it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dave Schaafsma

    One of my favorite books of the year, a fictional biography or historical fiction of the surrealist artist Paul Nash, who survived WWI but was plagued all of his life by the "black dog" of depression. This is a stunning artifact, 12 x 16, 124 pages, lovingly produced, with a multitude of art styles, some of them honoring Nash's surrealistic approach. Some of the writing is in verse, some of it prose, much of it from Nash. The book also includes reproductions of Nash's work, so this is great art One of my favorite books of the year, a fictional biography or historical fiction of the surrealist artist Paul Nash, who survived WWI but was plagued all of his life by the "black dog" of depression. This is a stunning artifact, 12 x 16, 124 pages, lovingly produced, with a multitude of art styles, some of them honoring Nash's surrealistic approach. Some of the writing is in verse, some of it prose, much of it from Nash. The book also includes reproductions of Nash's work, so this is great art in dialogue with great art, and dark, and often exhilarating. The quality of the writing not surprisingly from either of them does not match the art, but that doesn't matter much because the art is of course front and center for both of them. McKean sort of channels Nash's madness and surrealism with some emphasis on his experiences with the war. It's dark genius. I'm not saying it is easy to read, for a variety of reasons, but it is amazing to look at and experience. Here's some images of Nash's work: https://www.google.com/search?q=paul+... Here's Nash's Battle of Britain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtMlw... Here's an hour of McKean talking about his work and showing some of it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjWFn...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    I saw Dave McKean talk about this book on Thursday and was able to pick up a limited edition copy. It is one of the most beautiful books I own. The art work is just incredible. While talking about such issues as war and mental illness it does so with beautiful and intricate images. The story of one man's life and how it was destroyed by war, even though he managed to miss the worst of it. The book is presented as a selection of dreams from his earliest to his last. Very very highly recommended. I saw Dave McKean talk about this book on Thursday and was able to pick up a limited edition copy. It is one of the most beautiful books I own. The art work is just incredible. While talking about such issues as war and mental illness it does so with beautiful and intricate images. The story of one man's life and how it was destroyed by war, even though he managed to miss the worst of it. The book is presented as a selection of dreams from his earliest to his last. Very very highly recommended. One I will be reading over and over.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ilana

    Incredibly powerful whether you are familiar with the artist and poet Paul Nash or not. It speaks of all the horror or WWI and of living with depression, aka the Black Dog, primarily in images, and here Dave McKean uses a range of highly expressive styles that cannot fail to grab you by the guts. Now I need to familiarize myself with Paul Nash’s original work so I can better appreciate what McKean’s references were. 4.5

  6. 5 out of 5

    L.R. Diaz

    I'm coming to this book from an artist standpoint whose been turned on to comics for the balance and clarity of the medium. That to me is the most important thing. I've been collecting and reading what I call "fine art comics" since the 90's. I was a teenager and my first painted comic was "Judgement in Gotham" by Alan Grant, John Wagner and art by Simon Bisley. I was in love with painted comics from that point on. I read works painted by Kent Williams, Jon J Muth, Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean and a I'm coming to this book from an artist standpoint whose been turned on to comics for the balance and clarity of the medium. That to me is the most important thing. I've been collecting and reading what I call "fine art comics" since the 90's. I was a teenager and my first painted comic was "Judgement in Gotham" by Alan Grant, John Wagner and art by Simon Bisley. I was in love with painted comics from that point on. I read works painted by Kent Williams, Jon J Muth, Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean and a slew of others. I think it works so nicely in this visual medium. I enjoyed the covers by these guys and Dave McKean was an exceptional cover artist for many Vertigo Books. I was always immediately drawn to them. Their design and mixed media approach was uncontested. I bought many just for that. Years later I began to analyze comics more and more mostly by really taking a look at the great books ever written and illustrated and started to try and decipher why they are so good. I realized that it was the simplicity of the art and the balance between a good story and that "seemingly" simply drawn art. So this takes me "Black Dog" by Dave McKean who "draws" from the life of Paul Nash (another artist). From the first look the work is definitely a more labored approach than his usually comic panel work. (I haven't seen anything like this since his work on Arkham Asylum with Grant Morrison.) He works in many different approaches, but I wouldn't say they are a different style although the book clearly has a unique vision that is a little different from McKean's previous work. Because of the different approaches I found the book to feel more like an anthology of different stories broken up by chapters. I actually went around and read the book sporadically while jumping around and not consecutively for a few weeks. I could not get into it and I don't recall any particular story that really engrossed me much. The art is divine. I almost want to buy the hardback version to keep as a treasure, but I had too many issues with it. I thought it was trying to hard to break from the comic book form and the choice of font was too small although clear to read. There were a couple of chapters where the pen and ink with watercolor/ink as tone was powerful and I would rather have read a book with that look throughout. 100-200 pages of that sort of art would've work better for me so I can really get into that world, but instead you are given these lush paintings, drawings and manipulated digital artwork that tries to do the same in a quicker way and I think it works for some who will read this book. For me I'm over it. I really want my mind to make the images now. (Although it is hard for me to just read a picture less novel.) 15 years ago I and maybe most of the comic book world would be flipped on it's head, but I have since moved on from this approach in comics. I think it really tries to open the landscape to other readers and perhaps this works for them. I for one don't like when comics are made for that audience. I think readers need to embrace the language of comics as its own unique voice. If you have too many hangups with comics I think it's too bad.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Callum McAllister

    A very beautiful comic.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eloise Mcallister

    Six stars bro

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    A gorgeous, intense and fractured graphic biography of war artist Paul Nash, never merely pastiching his style but capturing a kindred sense of trauma and of the Great War as a fundamental disjunction in the world. As ever, McKean bends multiple media to his task, yet always in pursuit if not of the story then certainly of the mood, never as a mere exercise in virtuosity. It's not all trenches, of course; there are childhood idylls, a brutal school, chats with the smart set in a glamorous London A gorgeous, intense and fractured graphic biography of war artist Paul Nash, never merely pastiching his style but capturing a kindred sense of trauma and of the Great War as a fundamental disjunction in the world. As ever, McKean bends multiple media to his task, yet always in pursuit if not of the story then certainly of the mood, never as a mere exercise in virtuosity. It's not all trenches, of course; there are childhood idylls, a brutal school, chats with the smart set in a glamorous London cafe...but none of it can altogether escape the spectre of that eponymous dog. Co-commissioned by 14-18 Now, too, who as with the poppies at the Tower seem to have done a very good job of supporting meaningful responses to a very difficult brief of commemorating without either celebrating or railing against.

  10. 4 out of 5

    vonblubba

    Dave McKean is probably my favorite living artist. His drawings/pictures/paintings (don't know exactly how to call them) never fail to touch something inside my soul. This time that's even easier, considering the subject: the experience during WWI of painter John Nash. I admit to having no idea who Nash was before reading this, but that didn't make enjoying black dog any harder. The general mood is very dark and gloomy, something that McKean's style has no trouble at all representing effectively Dave McKean is probably my favorite living artist. His drawings/pictures/paintings (don't know exactly how to call them) never fail to touch something inside my soul. This time that's even easier, considering the subject: the experience during WWI of painter John Nash. I admit to having no idea who Nash was before reading this, but that didn't make enjoying black dog any harder. The general mood is very dark and gloomy, something that McKean's style has no trouble at all representing effectively. Text is well crafted too and nicely complements the visuals. I see no reason at all why you shouldn't read this.

  11. 5 out of 5

    ReadBecca

    An AMAZING sort of surrealism meets biography, graphic novel about the experiences, trauma, and PTSD/shellshock of WWI war artist Paul Nash.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rinaldo

    5/5 A masterpiece. Dave McKean has always been one of my favourite visual artists of all time. I'm a big fan of his works in Sandman graphic novel covers, Mirormask movie, and The Magic of Reality illustration. With projects ranging from album cover to full featured films, McKean body of work is incredibly diverse and visually versatile. In this project, McKean was commissioned to create a biography/response to Paul Nash's dreams. Paul Nash (1889-1946) was a renowned British war painter. His work 5/5 A masterpiece. Dave McKean has always been one of my favourite visual artists of all time. I'm a big fan of his works in Sandman graphic novel covers, Mirormask movie, and The Magic of Reality illustration. With projects ranging from album cover to full featured films, McKean body of work is incredibly diverse and visually versatile. In this project, McKean was commissioned to create a biography/response to Paul Nash's dreams. Paul Nash (1889-1946) was a renowned British war painter. His work combined the traditional landscape painting with surreal warscapes of World War I. In a way, this graphic novel is McKean's attempt to emulate Nash's paintings while capturing/visualising his fever dreams. The result is a truly bizarre chimaera: profoundly beautiful at times, and hauntingly horrible at others. McKean once again proved his versatility as an visual artist, employing his full arsenal of artistic flairs, from distorted Cubist figures drawn with ink to textural multimedia collage, from macabre still life photographs to earthy brushstrokes emulating Nash's style. These strong visuals accompany Nash's text depicting his musings of his childhood, his uneasy relationship with his father, the horror of war, his anger and trauma after the war, his survivor guilt, his attempt to making sense of everything about the war and his identity as a war artist. The juxtaposition of the feverish visual and the equally delirious text is a greater sum than its parts, guaranteeing layered narrative on reread. This graphic novel is a must have for aficionados out there: from history buffs, visual artists, illustrators, surrealists, poets, and everyone in between. I am no longer an artist interested and curious, I am a messenger who will bring back word from the men who are fighting to those who want the war to go on for ever. Feeble, inarticulate, will be my message, but it will have a bitter truth, and may it burn their lousy souls.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    Paul Nash was a British surrealist painter and war artist, as well as a photographer, writer and designer of applied art. Nash was among the most important landscape artists of the first half of the twentieth century. He played a key role in the development of Modernism in English art. The Dreams of Paul Nash is an amazing, jarring adventure into the mindscape of the painter. Dave does such a good job and holding back and giving us the basics without much commentary, especially about war. We make Paul Nash was a British surrealist painter and war artist, as well as a photographer, writer and designer of applied art. Nash was among the most important landscape artists of the first half of the twentieth century. He played a key role in the development of Modernism in English art. The Dreams of Paul Nash is an amazing, jarring adventure into the mindscape of the painter. Dave does such a good job and holding back and giving us the basics without much commentary, especially about war. We make all the assumptions for ourselves. Still, it's a great contrast seeing these two forces art and war/destruction tussle it out. Lots of great quotes, but the below stand out as pure genius insight. "In war, and in peace, life is a sniper's alley." & "Every time I return to my private landscape, I understand more deeply that our sense of the natural world as a constant, benign equilibrium is far too simplistic. Nature is a dynamic, constantly changing, fpuxijg, complex chaos, and we are only leaves blown about by these forces - a minor component, an infestation, a virus. And when I'm not here, when I'm out there in the conscious world, I realise that so long as there are two people remaining in this world, there will be war. So what can I do?" & "Art is an empathy machine. Art allows one to look through a fellow human's eyes. That is all I can do. That is our only hope. I will bring back words and bitter truths to those who want these wars to carry on forever. I hope my ochres and umbers and oxides will burn their bitter souls."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    A terribly boring book with beautiful Dave McKean art. Paul Nash was an artist and soldier in WWI. McKean has taken his writings and illustrated them. I found it a struggle to get through as there's no real story here, just Nash's musings. Received an advance copy from Dark Horse and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. A terribly boring book with beautiful Dave McKean art. Paul Nash was an artist and soldier in WWI. McKean has taken his writings and illustrated them. I found it a struggle to get through as there's no real story here, just Nash's musings. Received an advance copy from Dark Horse and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    I confess to not knowing who Paul Nash was. However, I know Dave McKean from his artwork on Sandman and various album covers and consider myself a fan. The book jacket informed me that Nash was surrealist painter that served in World War 1. As I'd recently seen 1917, I was intrigued. Nash made notes of his dreams, which are included in the text, and are arranged in a mostly chronological fashion among the events that shaped his life. Even before experiencing the horrors of war, Nash grew up havin I confess to not knowing who Paul Nash was. However, I know Dave McKean from his artwork on Sandman and various album covers and consider myself a fan. The book jacket informed me that Nash was surrealist painter that served in World War 1. As I'd recently seen 1917, I was intrigued. Nash made notes of his dreams, which are included in the text, and are arranged in a mostly chronological fashion among the events that shaped his life. Even before experiencing the horrors of war, Nash grew up having to cope with his mother's mental illness. And boarding school with its sadistic and liberal application of physical discipline for failure only made matters worse. Of it, he wrote that it: "...was ideal training for an infantryman's life in the trenches. It taught me nothing worth speaking of, it answered none of my questions, it required only a kind of desperate obedience, and a stoic acceptance of the constant threat of sudden and terrible violence." The book is heavy on observation, interpretation, and introspection. One passage that really resonated with me was this: Peel away the layers Strip away the nerves and the synapses and senses Cut away the skin and these paper-thin defenses Underneath the son is the father I'm defined by him And in opposition to him. I've tried to make judicious changes Cut down the anger, add a little patience I've tried to wash some colour through his pages Swimming against his genes His influence in my bloodstream. The artwork is fantastic. Comparing McKean's previous work to Nash's, I can see the influence. In this collection, McKean pays homage to Nash's work, but takes on a darker tone as befitting the subject matter. The sketches range from hyper-real to abstract to surrealistic. Most of the color palette is dominated by earth tones, both dark and bright, to convey scenes ranging from ominous dread to natural tranquility. McKean saves sharp color contrast—most notably his use of red—to draw the eye in to evoke heightened emotional response to danger, violence, and horror. Recommended for McKean fans and introspective types.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

    Paul Nash is an artist whose work I'm only briefly aware of, and would have most likely missed if it were not for this book. I'm a fan of McKean, not solely because I've read just about every Sandman book I can get my hands on, but because the man's body of work constantly pushes the boundary of what is possible in Visual art, and what happens when limitless imagination, and a bit of multi-media, can just run free. Black Dog follows the dreams and diaries of Paul Nash as he reconciles his time fi Paul Nash is an artist whose work I'm only briefly aware of, and would have most likely missed if it were not for this book. I'm a fan of McKean, not solely because I've read just about every Sandman book I can get my hands on, but because the man's body of work constantly pushes the boundary of what is possible in Visual art, and what happens when limitless imagination, and a bit of multi-media, can just run free. Black Dog follows the dreams and diaries of Paul Nash as he reconciles his time fighting in the First World War and recognizing the impact it has had upon his life, his country, his friends and loved ones, upon his art, and ultimately his own humanity. This book is filled with stunning, beautiful imagery that, even at its most horrific, made me pause and take my time as I followed Paul through this hell and his attempt to get back into the world. Black Dog is a book that any fan of Dave McKean will appreciate. I can't recommend it enough.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rich Stoehr

    "I am a war artist without a war." A strange, wandering meditation on art and war - 'Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash' is one of the most unique graphic novels I've ever read. Dave McKean brings his multifaceted style to the thoughts and memories and nightmares of another artist - Paul Nash, who was also a soldier in World War I. Through terrifying, strange, beautiful imagery, he brings the words and experiences to life from a century ago. I'm not sure McKean is the first artist I would have tho "I am a war artist without a war." A strange, wandering meditation on art and war - 'Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash' is one of the most unique graphic novels I've ever read. Dave McKean brings his multifaceted style to the thoughts and memories and nightmares of another artist - Paul Nash, who was also a soldier in World War I. Through terrifying, strange, beautiful imagery, he brings the words and experiences to life from a century ago. I'm not sure McKean is the first artist I would have thought of for a project like this - but now that I've read it, I don't think anyone else could have done it justice as he did. Art and war are often seen as opposite ends of a spectrum of human experience - one expresses beautiful fantasy, the other terrible reality. In 'Black Dog,' Dave McKean shows us that art can also terrify, and war can also inspire. "You find beauty in the details, even here, they are everywhere."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jason Bootle

    Dave McKean is an incredible artist and his work always feels part of dreams so this paring is perfect. When he draws people and 'still-life' perspective his skills shine through. Couple this with the harrowing narrative of Nash's dreams dealing with the effects of WW1 and we have a remarkable novel. Dave McKean is an incredible artist and his work always feels part of dreams so this paring is perfect. When he draws people and 'still-life' perspective his skills shine through. Couple this with the harrowing narrative of Nash's dreams dealing with the effects of WW1 and we have a remarkable novel.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Nems

    Oh hey there feelings

  20. 5 out of 5

    Wade Duvall

    Dave McKean is truely the greatest comic book artist of our time, and it is very fitting that he would write a book about Paul Nash, a surealist painter who was greatly affected by his time in WW1. I highly recommend this to anybody who is into surealism. Dave McKeans art style is just increadable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maxine

    Artists’ reflections on war can illuminate events that might seem abstract to those of us living at some distance from the horrors of the battlefield. The best art carries a unique and profound power, shaping our understanding of the historical episodes that inspired it. Jenny Waldman Director, 14-18 NOW Paul Nash was a British surrealist painter and landscape artist in the first half of the 20th c. He was also a soldier in WWI. He was stationed on the Ypres Salient in 1917 and, although while he w Artists’ reflections on war can illuminate events that might seem abstract to those of us living at some distance from the horrors of the battlefield. The best art carries a unique and profound power, shaping our understanding of the historical episodes that inspired it. Jenny Waldman Director, 14-18 NOW Paul Nash was a British surrealist painter and landscape artist in the first half of the 20th c. He was also a soldier in WWI. He was stationed on the Ypres Salient in 1917 and, although while he was there, there were no major battles involving the area, he noted the devastation that remained from earlier offensives. He eventually had an accident that broke a rib and sent him back to London. Only a few days after this, the majority of his former unit was killed in an assault. While recovering from his injury, Nash produced several drawings of the war. Later, he would return to the front and continue to document it. The resultant pictures are some of the most iconic images of WWI. As part of the 14-18 NOW Centenary Project, comic book artist Dave McKean was commissioned to produce Black Dog: the Dreams of Paul Nash, a biography of the artist in graphic novel form. It is now being published by Dark Horse Books. Although McKean follows the real events of Nash’s life, he reimagines them through his dreams and the beautifully stylistic art, often similar to Nash’s own work, captures this dream-like (and often nightmarish) state perfectly. The story begins in Nash’s childhood and his mother’s mental illness which first introduced him to the black dog in his dreams. He would encounter it again throughout much of his life but especially during the war years. And, although McKean draws on Nash’s entire life, the story is mainly focused on the effects of the war. The graphics and the prose that accompanies them are both breathtaking and heart-rending. Through some of the most beautiful and powerful graphics I have ever encountered, McKean manages to convey the devastating and lasting effects of war and the deep scars it rips into people’s psyches. Interestingly, though, there is a real sense of hope that these can be, if not completely erased, at least overcome – as the story progresses and Nash finds ways to deal with the trauma, the black dog’s face begins to take on more human qualities.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John Pistelli

    In one of the many brilliant parables that occur throughout English artist Dave McKean's 1990s graphic novel Cages, a character (who may or may not be a cat) briefly dies and goes to two flawed heavens in succession. Both versions of the afterlife are centered on art, and both fail to do justice to art's real purpose and complexity. In the first heaven, the soul is encouraged to take pleasure in beautiful paintings, but when it asks the meaning behind the artworks, the moon-, sun-, and star-faced In one of the many brilliant parables that occur throughout English artist Dave McKean's 1990s graphic novel Cages, a character (who may or may not be a cat) briefly dies and goes to two flawed heavens in succession. Both versions of the afterlife are centered on art, and both fail to do justice to art's real purpose and complexity. In the first heaven, the soul is encouraged to take pleasure in beautiful paintings, but when it asks the meaning behind the artworks, the moon-, sun-, and star-faced beings who preside over this mindless and sensual eternity argue that the question is foolish and impertinent: "It's enough to look at the picture and enjoy it." Finding this non-explanation inadequate, the soul flees and finds itself in an opposite paradise; in this one, a bespectacled professor-docent exhaustively explicates the work of art with reductionist glosses derived from the painter's biography and the theory of symbolism, replacing the prior heaven's injunction to absent-minded sensuality with a commitment to schematic rational certainty. The soul retreats from this sterile heaven as well. The best way to respond to art, Cages implies, is with open-ended questions and open-minded awareness, neither surrendering the intellect in empty sensuality nor driving out emotion by an arrogant mind. As another character, the jazz musician Angel, puts it earlier in the novel: "If you over-refine, you get lost in de music, if you under-refine, you get lost in de experience. Either one results in going away from who you really are." Given its vast scope, beginning with more than one creation myth and encompassing several apocalypses, Cages remains McKean's masterpiece and one of the masterpieces so far of the comics form: the magical realist and multimedia saga of artists and their creative travails in a London redesigned to the specifications of Central European modernism is the best graphic novel I've read about art and creativity. McKean's much briefer recent graphic novel, Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash, broaches some of the same themes as Cages and is no less visually ambitious than its precursor, even if its central conceit prevents it from being as philosophically and emotionally capacious. Based on a real historical figure and commissioned by an organization whose mission is commemorate the centennial of the First World War, Black Dog recounts through his dreams the life of the English Surrealist painter Paul Nash, an artist whose work (you can view several paintings at his Wikipedia page) reflects his experience of the trenches of the Great War. As Nash lived and worked in the same southeast England countryside where McKean now resides, the book stages a meeting of sensibilities across a century between two English artists committed to the imagination's right to respond freely to reality. Dreams are an appropriate vehicle to convey the life of a Surrealist. The graphic novel's dream-episodes, narrated by Nash, often in rhymed poetry, allows McKean to cover a lot of biographical territory in a brief number of pages, as Nash's family and friends can be evoked in symbolic imagery without having to be developed as characters in 30- or 50-page increments as was the norm in Cages. But the peril of this approach is the thin barrier between symbol and cliche, archetype and stereotype. Nash's distant father and disturbed mother have no specific life of their own, and his bullying math teacher, an ogre who demands answers and offers only physical abuse, oversimplifies into outright hostility the complex relation between art (considered as intuition) and intellect (considered as mathematical reason). Likewise, the dream structure leaves little room for the development of ideas; when Nash, on the eve of the war, debates the need for a distinctly modern art in a London cafe attended by Bloomsbury luminaries Roger Fry and Dora Carrington, the conversation never goes beyond commonplaces about new art for "a new world." Black Dog comes into its own in its war sequences. Here McKean attains real insight, insights counter to long-institutionalized academic cliches about modernism as response to the dislocations of the Great War. Like Gabriel Josipovici in What Ever Happened to Modernism?, McKean intimates that modern war, like modern technology, did not bring newness into the world but only revealed what was always there, concealed behind the everyday placidity of the 19th-century middle classes: If you strip away the accumulated fiction of the war—the mud and the limbs and the jolly old rain, the constructs and stories that constitute an official history—what is left? In war, one lives on the desperate edge of now. War reveals that essential, present-tense creature at the centre of oneself, and once it has been illuminated, even in the most failing of light, you can't unsee it. That is the only subject worthy of this oil and ink and blood. To reach that essential pulsing life, one must excavate, deep into the paper and the canvas. The essential subject, then, is not the Great War but the animal chaos (the eponymous black dog) at the heart of existence contingently revealed by violence but better immortalized as art. At the book's conclusion, Nash's monologue allows that there will always be war but that art may resist it through its function as "an empathy machine." This nowadays obligatory empathy-boosterism is Victorian sentimentality all over again, as if there had never been a Great War or modernist art, but the book's overall tendency is against such pointless moralism. In the most moving scene, Nash encounters his brother and is startled to find him so matured by the experience of mass violence. His brother explains that drawing has kept him sane, given him an inhuman but humane perspective that has allowed him to retain his own humanity. Later, Nash explains how a friend of his who had survived the trenches dies young of an illness, as if surviving in extremis were rendered moot by going on to die anyway of merely "natural" causes: "In war, and in peace, life is a sniper's alley." McKean's art throughout Black Dog is a constant surprise. No comics artist that I know has even been so committed to combining different media and modes in his individual works. There are stunning paintings—a hallucinatory fish-shaped zeppelin over London—sequences rendered in an animation-inspired style, photo-collages, colored-pencil sketches, and, I assume, all manner of digital design. It is McKean's mixed-media approach, which may have seemed almost like a gimmick when he first hit the scene 30 years ago, that now certifies him as a master of the form and an heir to modernism: his projects literally change shape as they proceed, creativity welling up from the dark heart of experience, and they inspire in readers and viewers the attentive, open-ended, and fully alive response that McKean had implied in Cages was the true heaven of art.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eric Railine

    Disclaimer: I've enjoyed everything of Dave McKean's that I've ever read, and in the early 90's he quickly became my favorite Artist. Over the last 25+ years my admiration for his work has never waned. As such, I'm a teeny bit biased when reading his latest work. Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash is really nothing like McKean's previous work. It's an historical fiction based on a real person, Paul Nash, a British photojournalist during World War I. The story twines around Nash's experiences duri Disclaimer: I've enjoyed everything of Dave McKean's that I've ever read, and in the early 90's he quickly became my favorite Artist. Over the last 25+ years my admiration for his work has never waned. As such, I'm a teeny bit biased when reading his latest work. Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash is really nothing like McKean's previous work. It's an historical fiction based on a real person, Paul Nash, a British photojournalist during World War I. The story twines around Nash's experiences during the war, and its lasting effects on him. The plot is irrelevant - it's the story telling, the dialogue, and the artwork that matter. McKean is a master at choosing the right art style for the particular story, or in this case the particular scene. The story is told in multiple chapters, each rendered in a different style, and then within those chapters are further sub-divisions with their stylistic changes as well: flashbacks, dreams, and hallucinations. In lesser hands, it would have come off as disjointed and patchwork, but in McKean's the effect is one of a greater emotional verisimilitude enhancing the reader's absorption in the story. If I had any critique, it would only be that in the end the story left me a bit cold. I know I will find myself re-reading various chapters and passages, and marveling at certain pages, but I don't know that I would enjoy re-reading the entire book. Of course, the same can be said for many "classics", in my experience, and in the end damages not a whit the overall quality of the work. Highly recommended. Disclosure: I was provided an electronic reader's copy of the book to review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jared Millet

    This is a deep, wonderful graphic novel, inventive in the way that only Dave McKean is. It's also a book that I'd never recommend to non-graphic novel readers. McKean's art and storytelling is a tough nut to crack, and anyone not already well-versed in avant-garde comics would just be weirded out. This book was produced as part of an effort to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI. Paul Nash was an artist and a soldier in that war, and of that era. I don't think this book taught me very much a This is a deep, wonderful graphic novel, inventive in the way that only Dave McKean is. It's also a book that I'd never recommend to non-graphic novel readers. McKean's art and storytelling is a tough nut to crack, and anyone not already well-versed in avant-garde comics would just be weirded out. This book was produced as part of an effort to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI. Paul Nash was an artist and a soldier in that war, and of that era. I don't think this book taught me very much about Paul Nash's art, but that's not the point. The story is the dreams of Paul Nash, and McKean does a masterful job of depicting how the horrors of war can be viewed from the perspective of an artist and the ways that an artist interprets the world. Altogether, a worthwhile read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    One of McKean's most mature works to date, this is a portrait of an artist with whom I was previously unfamiliar: painter Paul Nash. Rather than a complete biography we get a series of sketches and, as the title suggests, dreams. It's an approach which works well with McKean's visual style, which is more varied here than it has been for a while. Like many artists finding their voice McKean presents different scenes in different styles representing his influences. A sea voyage is reminiscent of T One of McKean's most mature works to date, this is a portrait of an artist with whom I was previously unfamiliar: painter Paul Nash. Rather than a complete biography we get a series of sketches and, as the title suggests, dreams. It's an approach which works well with McKean's visual style, which is more varied here than it has been for a while. Like many artists finding their voice McKean presents different scenes in different styles representing his influences. A sea voyage is reminiscent of Turner, a group of artists chatting in a café looks like something by Schiele or Ensor. And by the end Nash has reached a kind of peace and achieved a sense of identity. It's a moving story about finding beauty and a reason to live after experiencing overwhelming horror.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Vivid, visually stunning, hallucinatory visions of life and war, building an image in your mind that's greater than the sum of the individual moments. Terrific. ++++++++ Read, still a masterpiece. Best to spend a little time Googling Nash's work to see how vividly McKean incorporates it into his own telling. Vivid, visually stunning, hallucinatory visions of life and war, building an image in your mind that's greater than the sum of the individual moments. Terrific. ++++++++ Read, still a masterpiece. Best to spend a little time Googling Nash's work to see how vividly McKean incorporates it into his own telling.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Caldwell

    A beautiful illustrated interpretation of an artist's dreams and the horrors of war. Nobody visually interprets dreams better than Dave McKean. A beautiful illustrated interpretation of an artist's dreams and the horrors of war. Nobody visually interprets dreams better than Dave McKean.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Agnieszka Czoska

    Poetic and beautifull, uses many drawing styles on one page, which makes the uncomprehensibility and incoherence of war simply visible. Now Remarque will always look like this graphics.

  29. 5 out of 5

    J

    Luminous and dark and moving.

  30. 4 out of 5

    D.M.

    I don't think I'd ever heard of Paul Nash before reading this dream-rooted tribute by Dave McKean, but I have been a fan of McKean's for about 30 years and tend to pick up any book he produces. It has been a long time since he created a book-length narrative (tending recently more toward short stories, films and commission work), so I was eager (in spite of how long it took me to get a copy) to see what he'd wrought this time out. Black Dog was produced as part of a commemoration of the centenary I don't think I'd ever heard of Paul Nash before reading this dream-rooted tribute by Dave McKean, but I have been a fan of McKean's for about 30 years and tend to pick up any book he produces. It has been a long time since he created a book-length narrative (tending recently more toward short stories, films and commission work), so I was eager (in spite of how long it took me to get a copy) to see what he'd wrought this time out. Black Dog was produced as part of a commemoration of the centenary of the First World War, so much of the focus is on Nash's experience surrounding that period. He was an artist who served during the war, and apparently much of his painted output afterward is in depiction of things he witnessed in that time. We accompany Nash in a back-and-forth journey from childhood up to the years before, during and after the war, told in brief interjections that blend his life with his dream-life. Through the years, the grisly and mysterious spectre of the titular hound haunts his dreams and colours his reality. McKean's work here is typically gorgeous, his unique style of caricature lending a slightly nightmarish quality to even Nash's waking moments. The art covers much of McKean's abilities, from pencil drawing through realistic painting up to photo-manipulation and computer art. All of these are ably blended and tend to be particularly suited to the scene. While this is not necessarily McKean's best work, and it doesn't make me even vaguely curious about Nash or his output, it is a beautiful and occasionally moving tribute from one creative artist to another across the span of a century.

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