The first thing you should know about A is for Amos by artist Daria Hlazatova is that it isn’t so much a comic book as it is an art book. As such, I reviewed it for what it is rather than as a traditional comic story. As a piece of art it is excellent, but there isn’t really a story to go along with the art, more of an overarching theme. All that being said, the artwork is excellent and serves the unifying theme of the piece well. In short, it’s the best kind of weird.
The book goes from A to Z with famous musicians and bands and gives a stylized portrait of each along the way. The stated aim of the piece is to give the viewers interesting dreams, and so the artwork is abstract and fanciful. Featured artists range from David Bowie (otherwise known as Jareth, the Goblin King) to Wagner (Richard not Kurt, the guy who wrote the kickass song from Apocalypse Now) with notables such as Lennon (whose up in the sky with Lucy in the book) were thrown in for good measure.
There are a few recurring motifs in the work. Stars and constellations come up frequently, notably in (my personal favorite) the entry for Lennon. Eyes are another, and can often be unsettling. Not in a bad way, mind you, but more like you had a crazy day capped off by a bizarre dream you don’t fully remember. A good example for this is the entry for Underworld. Many of the images also have an aquatic feel, like you were walking on the bottom of the ocean and saw an octopus in the distance (see Queens of the Stone Age for example). A lot of it has a bizarre feel, sometimes unsettling but always interesting.
One major element that I wish were included is commentary from the artist. I would be interested in knowing why she made the artistic choices she did and I feel that it would provide some context for those who may not be as familiar with each of the artists in question (like yours truly). It’s a small thing, and the mystery may be intentional on Hlazatova’s part to better portray the dreamlike nature of the work, or she may never have considered it. Still, I feel that it limits the number of people that can fully engage with the work, which is unfortunate since the art itself is all excellent.
Taken for what it is, this is a really awesome final product. At its best it’s reminiscent of Picasso, at its worst it’s still an interesting artistic experience. That’s all coming from a guy who generally dislikes modern and abstract art, which speaks to the quality of work done here. Still, the target audience, at least the ones who will get the most out of the book, is limited to those with a diverse appreciation across musical genres.
Did you get a copy? Comment. Did you find the review helpful? Comment. Did you find it unhelpful? Comment. Think I should listen to more music? Sound off in the comments or send us your thoughts on Twitter! Criticize me personally @Bard_Brehon and buy A is for Amos at http://www.dariahlazatova.com/shop.html.