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Coffin: The Art of Vampire Hunter D

Creators: Yoshitaka Amano
Locus Magazine, January 2007

Some books simply require supersizing. A good example is Coffin: The Art of Vampire Hunter D. DH Press’ extraordinary slipcovered collection of Yoshitaka Amano’s famous illustrations for Hideyuki Kikuchi’s internationally acclaimed Vampire Hunter D, originally published in Japan in 1997. This superb retrospective of Amano’s paintings and drawings – some created as limited edition prints – of the immortal vampire hunter, is presented in the format of bournd portfolio, with the images stunningly presented, one to a page, on thick glossy paper. The book contains 74 full color illustrations, among them lithographs, silk screens, acrylic, and inks, stylistically varied from the minimal gestural sketches to highly detailed, fully realized ink drawings that transcend genre. The end papers, red at the front and black at the back, feature linework in silver ink.

There are so many breathtaking images here that it’s difficult to single out just one for praise, but “Month of Dreams”, rendered in acrylics and colored inks, should be noted for the delicate linework, elongated figures, colorful patterns, and poignant emotion so often found in Amano’s work.

The text and image index are published in Japanese and English. An added bonus is an original Vampire Hunter D short story by Hideyuki Kikuchi. DH Press has done us a great service by making Amano’s work available to the US market. Coffin: The Art of Vampire Hunter D is one of the most beautiful art books of this—or any—year. Room should be made for it on the most crowded shelf.

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