Ralph Steadman's Extinct Birds

Ralph Steadman and Ceri Levy. Bloomsbury, $50 (240p) ISBN 978-1-6204-0106-4
Best known for his collaborations with Hunter S. Thompson, prolific illustrator Steadman (The Grapes of Ralph) turns his attention to extinct birds in this inspired study boasting 100 avian illustrations. Filmmaker Levy provides the chronological narrative (as well as diary entries made over the course of the project, which began with a humble request for a single painting that quickly spiraled into this book) functioning both as an obituary for the lost species and a running dialogue with his partner, offering readers a glimpse into Steadman's process in addition to the evolution of the project as it continually broadened in scope. As for Steadman, his brush is as sharp as ever, rendering a playful depiction of a satisfied-looking Snail-Eating Coua riding atop a concerned snail, the explosive birth of the Pale Blue Piddle, and the sinister leer of the Red Rail, replete with the lashes of color, crisp lines, and pixelated accents he's known for. Fans will likely find this to be another must-have, as Steadman is in as sharp a form and reverential to the material as ever. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/29/2012
Release date: 11/13/2012
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