Last week, Beehive Books launched a Kickstarter to fund their latest round of Illuminated Editions, a series of classic works of literature accompanied by new illustrations by some of comics’ most talented cartoonists. The new batch of books includes a trio of titles: A Jim Woodring-illustrated edition of A Voyage to Arcturus by David LindsayThe Balbusso Twins illustrating F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby; and Kent Williams illustrating Kwaidon & Shadowings by Lafcadio Hearn. Today The Beat is proud to exclusively debut artwork by Woodring and The Balbusso Twins from their respective books.

Illuminated Editions The Great Gatsby Illustration
Exclusive illustration from THE GREAT GATSBY by The Balbusso Twins
Illuminated Editions A Voyage to Arcturus illustration
Exclusive illustration from A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS by Jim Woodring

Previously-published books in the Illuminated Editions line, which are also available to order through the current Kickstarter, include, among others, Fyodor Dostoevsky‘s Crime & Punishment with illustrations by Dave McKean, and The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells with illustrations by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Self-described as “A House of Quixotic Publishing,” Beehive Books published their first Illuminated Editions following a successful Kickstarter back in 2017. Each of the nine books on offer via the current Kickstarter is available in a standard slipcased hardcover edition, and as a digital edition. The three new books will also be available as signed editions, numbered out of 250, as well as in ‘lettered’ editions, from A to Z, that include sketches by the book’s artist/art team.

Regarding the current Kickstarter, the 14th such campaign for Beehive Books, and the three newest entires to the Illuminated Editions collection, Beehive Books Co-Founder, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Josh O’Neill, told The Beat:

It’s been a dream of ours to work with all of the artists in this line since the beginning of this imprint. We approached Jim Woodring first, almost three years ago, and he instantly knew he wanted to illustrate ARCTURUS — and has been since obsessing over the puzzle that is that fascinating text, and working to find his way into Lindsay’s world. The Balbussos always seemed like the perfect match for GATSBY, with the currents of beauty and darkness, decoration and humanity that collide in their work — we were so glad they were willing to work with us. Kent Williams, to our absolute astonishment, approached us at San Diego Comic Con and suggested doing a series of paintings for KWAIDAN. We’re huge fans and of course agreed before he could finish the sentence. We’re so lucky to be working with this group of absolute visionaries.
Our model as a Kickstarter-funded company allows us to create projects that wouldn’t necessarily work through more traditional mechanisms of publishing. The strange and marvelous and unusual, which so often have to push their way through the cracks of the highly institutionalized world of the book trade, thrive naturally by the democratic processes of crowdfunding. Our own creative impulses to make things that don’t fit into pre-existing categories have turned out, thanks to these new mechanisms, to be a viable and growing business model.
Previous Illuminated Editions
Previous Illuminated Editions, available now through the current Kickstarter campaign
It’s no surprise that the Kickstarter campaign for these books has already hits its target, as the books feature stunning illustration work from top-tier creators in truly beautiful packaging. These are high-end, oversized 9×12 books, printed on heavy-weight paper, and the quality of the product looks to more than justify the $100 price tag for the standard edition of each book.
Check out some more artwork for the three new Illuminated Editions, as well as descriptions for each of the books, below, and head over to the Kickstarter campaign page for even more info and images. Beehive Books’s latest Kickstarter campaign runs until Thursday, February 25th, at 8PM Eastern.

THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald, illustrated by the Balbusso Twins
Featuring an introduction by Nathan Robinson.

The Italian illustrators known as the Balbusso Twins are taking on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY, bringing out the richness and satire and sorrow that suffuses this saga of wealth and corruption and decadence and love. Their modern illustration style highlights the incredible relevance of Fitzgerald’s story, which has only seemed to increase over time. Their illustrations bring us into Gatsby’s world ― but they also bring Gatsby into ours.

KWAIDAN & SHADOWINGS by Lafcadio Hearn, illustrated by Kent Williams
Featuring an introduction by filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, a foreword by writer Kyoko Yoshida, and an essay by Bon Koizumi.

The great painter and multimedia artist Kent Williams is depicting the supernatural Japanese stories of Lafcadio Hearn, originally published in his books KWAIDAN and SHADOWINGS. These books are full of ghost stories, nightmares and strange tales ― of possessed forests, of monks tormented by demons and ghosts, of corpse brides, man-eating goblins, and undead samurai.

A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS by David Lindsay, illustrated by Jim Woodring
Featuring an introduction by Alan Moore.

Visionary cartoonist Jim Woodring has chosen to illustrate an unclassifiable 1920 novel by the legendary British writer David Lindsay. A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS is a baffling amalgam of mysticism, science fiction, sexual politics, and outrageous fantasy, and stands as one of the greatest works of sustained, untrammeled imagination ever achieved. Woodring’s drawings capture the writhing currents of interacting forces that lie beneath the wonderfully arcane prose.

Leave a Reply