“There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.”
Life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall – named after the imposing stone barrier which separates the town from a grassy meadow. Here, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the beautiful Victoria Forester and for the coveted prize of her hand, Tristran vows to retrieve a fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends him over the ancient wall and into a world that is dangerous and strange beyond imagining…
A Novel, by
Published In A Hand-Bound Limited Edition From
Charles Vess has been drawing ever since he could hold a crayon and crawl to the nearest wall. His long list of accomplishments include the Stardust illustrated novel with Neil Gaiman, cover art for Marvel, DC, Tor and Subterranean Press as well as many illustrated books and graphic novels for which he has won four World Fantasy, three Chesley, two Locus, a Mythopoeic and two Will Eisner awards.
Charles’ art has been featured in many gallery and museum exhibitions across the nation, including two exhibitions in New York City: “Modern Fairy Tales” (with Michael Kaluta) at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and “Spectrum: The best in Contemporary Fantastic Art” at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators. His work has also been shown in Paris, Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK.
His collaboration with Ursula Le Guin resulted in a fully illustrated edition of all her Earthsea stories published by Saga Press that garnered many awards. Currently, three new books are taking shape on his drawing board.
He lives in a house down on the North Fork River in southwestern Virginia where he works diligently from his studio, Green Man Press.
The design of this special, limited edition of ‘Stardust’ was heavily influenced by the books of the ‘Golden Age of Illustration’ from the early part of the 20th century. These were the days of book illustration giants such as Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen and Edmund Dulac who were illustrating the Brothers Grimm, Aesops Fables and other fairytale classics. I believe that ‘Stardust’, if it had been published at that time and illustrated by Charles Vess, would not have been out of place in the company of those masterpieces.
The magical story by Neil Gaiman, and the gorgeous illustrations of Charles Vess are a perfect fit, just as Kay Nielsen was a perfect fit with ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon’, or Edmund Dulac with ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam’. My attempt with this special edition was to put the text and art into a format which I believed was fitting for the style of book and the style of painting. The page layout is very similar to those ‘Golden Age’ books, with extra-large margins and a compact text block. The illustrations in two of these editions are tipped on plates with tissue guards, just as was so often the case with Rackham et al. Occasionally, especially in the later trade editions, they did not have tipped on plates and were instead printed directly to the page. Those pages were then hand tipped into the book – this is what we did with the Standard edition.
The only real change I made was to omit a frontispiece. The reason for this was that Charles Vess provided us with the most beautiful, full colour title page and the book simply did not need another image on the facing page. It would have been too much. Instead, that additional image was moved inside with the rest.
There were nine wonderful, full colour illustrations by Charles in this illustrated edition of ‘Stardust’ plus the title page. Three of these illustrations were new, the other six were older but did not appear in the original DC edition. Charles also wrote us a new foreword for this edition.
Rich Tong – Lyra’s Books