There are books. Then there are books . . . wonderfully produced with such finesse and artistry they become collector’s items. Welcome to the world of Insight Editions.
When President Jimmy Carter writes the preface about his favorite movie star, then you know “John Wayne: The Genuine Article” ($50) is special. The book allows readers a rare glimpse into the life of The Duke through a treasure trove of memorabilia, stories and interviews. This definitive book includes anecdotes from the Wayne family as well as incredibly compelling text from Wayne’s unfinished memoir.
From the classic Starfleet uniforms and daringly provocative outfits of “Star Trek: The Original Series,” to flowing Vulcan robes, flamboyant Ferengi fashions and formidable Klingon wedding attire, “Star Trek: Costumes” ($60) explores how these designs have played a key role in transporting fans to distant worlds and alien cultures throughout the last five decades. Drawing on the entire franchise, including all 12 films and six TV series, the tome is a photo-festooned complete story of some of the most memorable garb in the galaxy. Yes, the tome goes boldly where no man has gone before.
Professional surfer, journalist and photographer Rusty Long likes to make waves. In “The Finest Line: The Global Pursuit of Big Wave Surfing” ($50), he captures the essence of big-wave surfing through breathtaking images and stories, as well as interviews and insights from many of the leading surfers of this era. The book contains 250 stunning photographs of the most spectacular rides in recent big-wave history, taken by an array of the best photographers in the sport.
The legacy of Nirvana founder Kurt Cobain continues since the story was told for the first time in “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” ($35), an authorized documentary that premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The companion book by the same name delves further into the material created for the film, presenting an illuminating and honest portrait of Kurt, as singer, guitarist and songwriter that captures the contradictions that made up his character. With extended versions of the exclusive interviews featured in the documentary, the tome showcases the film’s incredible visuals with a mixture of animation stills, rare photographs and other treasures from Cobain’s personal archive.
“Guitars That Jam” ($29.99) is the definitive illustrated history of the guitars of rock-and-roll legend. Featuring images from live concerts, outdoor festivals, and private recording sessions, this spectacular volume captures the personal connection between artist and instrument. Along with the manufacturer and history of the guitar, each image is accompanied by a story from the musician detailing the guitar’s significance to them and rock history. Numerous players play roles here, including Carlos Santana, Neil Young, Trey Anastasio, Bob Weir and Warren Haynes.
Simon Pegg pegged this perfectly, calling “Figure Fantasy: The Pop Culture Photography of Daniel Picard”($29.99) “a wonderful conversation piece.” The book is an inventive and innovative collection of meticulously composed images, showcasing a variety of comic book and movie icons in realistic and often hilarious everyday settings. The Canadian photographer composes his comedic and artistic images mix of real-world photography and fantasy by using 12-inch figures and arranging them in to-scale environments tongue-in-cheek parodies. The gallery is a hoot and a holler . . . The Joker shopping for a Batman Halloween costume; a “Star Wars” Tusken Raider fighting Jason from “Friday the 13th”; Superman as a lifeguard in Malibu; Clone Troopers visiting Legoland. Bravo!
He’s an acclaimed artist whose illustrations have been seen by you, since they appear on a rich spectrum of eye-catching book covers. Dave Seeley is one of the most exhilarating illustrators working in the science fiction/fantasy genre. He absorbs a huge amount of visual material when seeking inspiration for his pieces, then creates his final illustrations using a broad range of artistic methods, merging together elaborate digital backgrounds, images of live models and hand-built props, and exquisite pencil drawings and paintings. “The Art of Dave Seeley” ($50) brings together the very best of his work with more than 200 images from throughout his career.
Guru Nanak is a name you will (finally) know, once you devour “The Singing Guru: Legends and Adventures of Guru Nanak, the First Sikh” ($24.99). From the best-selling author Kamla K. Kapur comes an original novel about the life and travels of Guru Nanak, a musician, enlightened thinker and one of the most beloved figures in Eastern spirituality. Kapur weaves together facts, legends, folktales, myths and more than 40 of Guru Nanak’s poems-preserved in the Sikh holy book, the “Granth Sahib,” to form this captivating depiction of the leader’s life. Factual details are intermingled with fantasy to produce a symbolic portrait in which humor and imagination combine to convey a profound and entertaining spiritual narrative.
The recent big-screen retelling of J.M. Barrie’s classic “Peter Pan” may not have soared into the world of great flicks, but the film’s visuals remain impressive. Quite impressive. “The Art of Pan” ($45) provides a visually rich, behind-the-scenes look at this thrilling new take on the timeless story of Pan. This beautifully illustrated book will grant a comprehensive inside tour of director Joe Wright’s film, featuring a dazzling selection of never-before-seen concept illustrations, sketches, storyboards and other preproduction materials.
From game to book, with a very high score. In “Halo 5: Guardians,” game developer 343 Industries continues to enthrall fans worldwide with the exploits of the legendary Spartan super soldier, the Master Chief, as well as new characters in the Halo universe, including Agent Jameson Locke and others. “The Art of Halo 5: Guardians” ($45) chronicles the creative and breathtaking art of the worlds, vehicles, and characters of Halo 5: Guardians, with exclusive details behind the creation of returning characters, such as the Arbiter and the Master Chief himself.
We like to think of the deluxe stationery sets as the “write” stuff. The “Game of Thrones” sets are themed to the Great Houses of Westeros and provide all the items you need to communicate with friends, Bannermen, and faraway Maesters. House Lannister is just one of four available sets—the series also includes House Targaryen, House Baratheon and House Stark. Each set includes a 192-page ruled journal plus these exclusive items: Wax stamp featuring House sigil, two wax sticks, paperweight shaped like House sigil, 20 envelopes with House sigil, 20 pieces of writing paper with House sigil, and a display box. $34.95 each.
There are also “Harry Potter” deluxe stationery sets. Celebrate the artistry of the films with the Slytherin-themed set, inspired by the colors and heraldry of Hogwarts’ most cunning house. This deluxe collectible set includes a 192-page blank journal, a wax stamp and two wax sticks, letter-writing paper, envelopes, and a paperweight—all of which feature the iconic Slytherin crest. Other choices include Hogwarts and Gryffindor. $34.95 each.
Insight Editions has more than one finger in the creative canon of blank, lined journals with icon faves on the covers. The most popular are the four different “Walking Dead” journals; the covers are designed to look like decaying Walker skin, and lots of color photos from the show among the pages! The collection also includes Harry Potter journals,Wonder Woman and Superman. Various prices. Perfect to stuff in a stocking!