A PS Artbooks publication is inspired, and each started with a seed of an idea. The seed can be planted from any number of people from within or outside PS Artbooks. The next question is asked....
Just how does PS Artbooks take the planted seed and make it grow, harvest and deliver it to all the hungry eyes of the Artbook and Sequential Art marketplace?
These next three steps will hopefully tell you the story…
The biggest and most time consuming task in creating our publications is finding the best source material to use. Using our ring of collectors and "people in the know" we hunt down items that are suitable for us to use.
For our books we always use the original issues rather than reproductions for authenticity. Once the issue/image/artwork bank has been created we then set to and start restoring the imagery ready for print.
We choose not to re-colour the images as we feel this gives a completely different atmosphere and a fake look or feeling. We do however "repair" colours that have faded over time and also digitally repair any visual anomalies such as splashes, tears and other artifacts that have appeared - nothing is perfect if you're 40+ years old!!
CONTENT AND DESIGN
Using the latest design software great care and attention to detail is used for creating a PS Artbook. Designs are contemporary but are authentic when sat next to the subject matter.
A lot of time is spent researching and validating information for the books. We are very proud to have exclusive essays written by renowned authors for our publications and also not forgetting the wealth of artists that have created special artworks for high-end publications!
Now we've designed the perfect printed piece. We now you need to put it on paper. Which paper? We take time and care to select a paper that suits the subject matter...
For our informative Artbooks we choose a high quality satin paper that really brings out the colour in the imagery and give the reader a real sense of quality when holding the book.
For our "collected works" editions we choose a paper that will do two things: Give the best vibrant colour but will also mimic the original texture that the original publication was printed on back in the day.
All our editions are hardbacked so they stand the test of time. For our exclusive traycased editions a quality leather is used so the book and its items are protected to a maximum.
For our "Trade Paperback Editions" or "Softies" the interiors are printed on matt art stock and the covers on glossy material. Just like a real comic!
THE PS STORY
Way back when, in the thankfully dim recesses of my earlier life in the so-called corridors of power of one of the UK’s then biggest financial organisations, I was frequently called upon to prepare snappy paragraphs that outlined both the business’s commercial thrust and its moralistic stance . . . generally awkward bedfellows at best in that they need to placate and even please not only the City but also the punters. They were called ‘mission statements’ and they’re still around. Here’s the BBC’s: “To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.” Not bad, I reckon. They have a vision, too: “To be the most creative organisation in the world.” That one sounds a bit like a cross between Wodehouse and Blue Peter: To be a jolly good egg all round, what! And it doesn’t even end there: they also have values (there’s a few of these): (1) “Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.” (2) “Audiences are at the heart of everything we do.” (3) “We take pride in delivering quality and value for money.” (4) “Creativity is the lifeblood of our organisation.” (We think the guy who wanted this one in is the same guy who came up with the vision.) (5) “We respect each other and celebrate our diversity so that everyone can give their best.” (6) “We are one BBC: great things happen when we work together.” Now let’s get one thing straight: I have not singled out the BBC for snidey underhanded digs. I simply Googled ‘mission statements’ and the BBC’s was the first specific statement from an actual company after four general references to mission statements per se. The next one was Coca Cola . . . a triptych, no less: (1) “To refresh the world.” (2) “To inspire moments of optimism and happiness.” (3) “To create value and make a difference.” There’s a fairly cosmic and even New Age Religion feel to these, I feel. They sound like they need finger cymbals and tambourines playing in the background, with the all-pervading smell of patchouli oil holding court. Kind of like the stuff spouted by Galactus when he sent good ol’ Norrin Radd off to roam the space lanes on his surfboard. But maybe the most famous mission statement for folks who immerse themselves in the worlds of fantasy, horror and science fiction is this one: “To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Yes, it’s the mission statement of the Starship Enterprise, which set off on its course in 1966--though the smart money has it that its genesis actually occurred some years earlier, in 1958, in a White House booklet entitled Introduction to Outer Space. But the one that made it onto our TV screens wasn’t the first stab. That particular honor belongs thus: “This is the adventure of the United Space Ship Enterprise. Assigned a five year galaxy patrol, the bold crew of the giant starship explores the excitement of strange new worlds, uncharted civilizations, and exotic people.” Which morphed into this clunker: “A five year patrol of the galaxy. To seek out and contact all alien life. To explore. To travel the vast galaxy, where no man has gone before. A Star Trek.” Yeah, right. Thank God they went with the one we know and love. But, of course, that’s only because we know and love it. Familiarity is the name of this particular game. And so it came to pass, when my good friend and business partner on PS Artbooks, Paul Stephenson, suggested that—given the existence of PS itself these past 14 years and 250+ titles—we needed some kind of statement explaining the need for the new company, I was the hapless soul at whom the fingers of those assembled were quickly pointed. Alas, no excuses were acceptable—even I could see that—and so, even though I had just gone to the meeting for a coffee, I left with a new task: to set the records straight. We could have tagged Tomorrow Revisited, our celebration of the wonderful illustrator Frank Hampson, creator of Dan Dare and much much more, into PS itself. After all, Colonel Dare’s milieu is Outer Space, huge tail-finned rockets (it’s my fervent belief that, like cars, all rockets should have huge tailfins) and green-skinned BeM’s. And, given the huge inventory of cadaver-filled horror stories, novellas and novels that PS has unleashed, we could have added the Harvey Horror volumes and everything else coming along behind them. But we wanted to give special worth and significance to this wonderful material . . . wanted to give it its own space in much the same way we created Stanza Press for our poetry volumes. But how to put all of that into a single pithy sentence—that’s the big question. So how does this sound? PS Artbooks aims to make available—either for the first time or as a reprint—volumes of artwork-based material, sometimes simply paintings or posters, sometimes the sequential work produced by the pioneers of the four-color comic, in collectible but affordable limited editions produced to the highest achievable standards. In short, as Bertie Wooster might exclaim, “To jolly well produce damn fine books at exceedingly fair prices.” You have my permission to wag a finger at us if we fail to deliver. Peter Crowther - July 2011