What time is it kids? It’s time for a new Fabulous Find, that’s what time it is! I’m glad you found your way back and for this week, I’ve brought up from the vault the 1975 oversized book entitled, Jeff Jones Idyl. It measures a large 11 by 15 inches and is published in glorious black and white. It is published by Blue Star. Sorry I don’t know anything more about Blue Star and as far as I know, this is the only publication I own from them.
The book is dedicated to all but entropy and features reprints of artist, Jeff Jones‘ Idyl full page strips that ran occasionally (semi regularly) in the magazine, National Lampoon, from 1972 through 1975. It cost $5.95 new and included an introduction written by Eric Kimball and an afterword by Dean Motter. The book has forty-two (42) one page Idyl strips and one (1) two page Idyl Adventures strip.
Here is the cover:
Though each strip tells a story, I still consider this an artbook, because of Jones’ beautiful artwork, rather than comic strips But you would have to make that judgement for yourself. I guess. Jones was born Jeffery Durwood Jones in 1944 and he passed away in 2011, as Jeffery Catherine Jones, after going through hormone replacement therapy. At one point in time, fellow American artist, Frank Frazetta, called Jones “the greatest living painter”, quite the compliment from another “greatest living painter! Jones him/herself simply said; “I am an idealist, a romanticist, and an artist”.
Here are a couple of the strips from the book for your own interpretation. They may be too small to read the print, but you can certainly appreciate the lovely art:
That’s pretty small, so let me provide the words. Panel 1: The Lovelorn Lady. Panel 2: A misogynist moon. Oh my God! The end of the spoon. Panel 3: Stirring. Oh” What will he do? What will he do? Panel 4: The whitepure promise – the American gothic. A fate worse that death! Panel 5: Ah, the morning sun. Panel 6: It’s a restless life when you’re haunted by your dreams.
Again let me share the words with you, to prevent eye strain and blindness. Panel 1: Aristotle Panel 3: Barrels! Panel 4: I wonder if there’s anything in them. Panel 5: Nothing in this one. This particular strip may be my most favorite in the book!
And finally this one:
Panel 1: Now you listen, cat. Panel 2: I’m a mental cripple Panel 3: You’ve got to figure things out. Panel 4: You have got to examine and admit when you’re wrong. Panel 5: Like, I used to think that when it got dark they came and took everything away. Panel 6: So last night I went out and felt around. Panel 7: They didn’t take everything away at all. Panel 8: They just replaced it all with very clever lumps.
Pretty surreal, is you ask me, but as Kimball says in his forward; “Idyl offers no final or absolute answers, only new and ever regenerative ways of thinking and feeling and seeing.” Jones, him/herself says; ” my work does not have any particular message. I am only writing and drawing generalized perceptions”. So decide for yourself, but for this guy, I find this collection of strips to be thought provoking and just plain beautiful to look at, enjoying an artist excelling in the medium of pen and brush work!
Thanks for stopping by and please come back next week for a new RETRO REVIEW!
Jones aficionados should check out the Jeffrey Jones Definitive Reference book, from Vanguard, the same people who brought you the Frazetta Definitive Reference
Vanguard Publishing, I own the Frazetta Definitive Reference book, but did not know you also did a Jeffrey Jones one. I’ll need to look for that one to add to my library. Any others?