Fusion Junction 1

Publisher: ABDOTC Publishing

Date Published: 2006

Pages: 124

Size: 10.2″ by 7.4″ (Hardcover)

A collection of contemporary character art

‘Fusion Junction’ is an interesting art book dedicated to a niche genre – game and comic book character design. Since the steep rise in graphic capabilities in games there has also been a corresponding rise in expectation of detail and quality in character design. Comic book art has also metamorphosed since the ‘golden’ and ‘silver’ age of the 1950’s. Comics now offer a wide and often radical difference in art styles, often reflecting the mood of the story lines. ‘Fusion Junction’ celebrates the achievements of these artists, who are sometimes overlooked due to the commercial aspect of their art.

The meaning of the words ‘fusion’ and ‘junction’ are defined at the beginning of the book. This definition serves as the only preface to the concepts that bound this particular selection of artworks together. ‘Fusion Junction’ as a concept can be seen as the modern nature of art (often binding hand drawn and computer elements into one finished product), the duality between commercial product and self expression and the selection of western and eastern designers (Two American and two Korean artists). The featured artists (Nox, Josh Middleton, Maggi and Eric Canete) are each given a brief profile that explains their birthplace and working history.

The layout is youthful, though it lacks the refinement of other art books (for instance the font is quite big and gives an amateurish sense). The size and feel of the book are great. It fits well in the hands and is quite light to hold, unlike other hardcover art books.

Nox has the most diverse art selection. The western fairy tales she portrays are fun and fresh with an asian twist (for instance, the beast out of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is leopard instead of dog like). She ranges between some slightly cliched but well presented anime drawings and clear cut line illustrations. My favorite work in the book ‘Please Make Peace’ (Pg 13) combines the best of her style.

Josh Middleton is very hit and miss. He relies too much on photoshop colouring for my tastes, however this aspect creates a unique flare to his work. His illustrations of Batman stand out as they truly capture the moodiness and sheer bulk of the comic book star. Of his work the coffin scene (shown above) is brilliantly rendered.

Maggi’s robust work graces the cover of ‘Fusion Junction’ (see above). Her artwork is fun and she seems to have a taste for buccaneers. Her ‘Maid Garden’ works are very rich and capture a sense of cute nostalgia that are thoroughly enjoyable to browse.  

Eric Canete’s art is very interesting. It will be irritating for those that like pencilling to be extremely clean, however I see his work as being highly personalised and loved intensely by those who appreciate its style. His greatest pictures feature a robotic protagonist and are steeped in cinematic drama.

‘Fusion Junction’ aims at a niche group of readers – those who enjoy character design, game art and comic book art. Because its audience is so acute it will probably fail to be anything more than a pretty picture book for those outside of these worlds. Though it presents a solid group of artists, it would have benefit by involving a greater number (perhaps a minimum of six artists). However, I feel that the book has touched on an art subject that many other groups will be quick to copy and in this sense is ahead of the game.

♥♥♥ – 3/5

Click these links for ‘Fusion Junction 2’ and ‘Fusion Junction 3’ reviews.

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