Childhood favorite Bellerophon Books. As a child I had a fantastic time with the Greg Irons-illustrated coloring book of the American revolution (no pic? a crime!) and the sensitive redrawings of Hokusai ukio-ye, and the many books featuring enlarged and simplified drawings originating with turn-of-the-century ethnographic texts were hypnotically beautiful to me.
Hm, the publisher’s disregard of the Irons book is utterly insane. the book is filled with scrupulously drawn images of key moments in the history of the colonial rebellion, and Irons (an influential underground cartoonist and tatto artist) employed fantastically rigorous putti banners (my coinage) to convey dialog and caption within the scenes. What is so fantastic about this, in my mind, that that these banners, occasionally lofted by swallws, are the old-school tattoist’s standard for including dedications and such like in tattoos, and are clearly derived from popular media dating to the late 1700s, the era of both the Revolution and Hogarth.
In this children’s book, Irons was drawing a line between tattooists of the twentieth century, America’s founding fathers, and most particularly the styles and modes of popular media at the hour of our nation’s birth. It is a national treasure.