Where do I start when describing the art of Masamune Shirow? One of the first manga artists I was introduced to, with the Eclipse printings of Appleseed and Dominion Tank Police, I knew straight away that this was an artist/writer I would stick with over the years. And so it has proved.

A major influence today in Hollywood, thanks to the Wachowski brothers and the movie of Ghost in the Shell, its surprising that Shirow isn’t more well-known in certain circles. But this could be down to the man himself. Notoriously private ( Shirow isn’t even his real name), I’ve never seen a photo of him and the only information I’ve heard is that he’s a schoolteacher.

But back to the book and although its a little disappointing in that there’s nothing from his latest project (Wild,Wet West) and some art is repeated from earlier Intron Depots with extra 3d rendering this is a superb coffee-table book that will show how sophisticated and cool you are to any future date or gaming pals.

Some may find his use of scantily clad, drop-dead gorgeous women a bit suspect, not to mention the fact that most of them have guns. But Shirow modestly depricates himself over this, and then quite rightly blames his editors and publishers Thumbs up

One idea started in Intron Depot 2 and continued here are the little data panels explaining what he has used in his methods and whether its turned out the way he wanted. I like stuff like this as I find it interesting to know what an artist uses to create their art.

Recommended, and available from Dark Horse Publishing @ £34.99 and all good comic-book shops. Make sure you get a bagged copy, if there’s one thing I hate about a lot of shops it’s their open book policy. If I’m paying this much for a book I don’t want one that some little toe-rag has mauled

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