The Art of Footrot Flats by Murray Ball

The Art of Footrot Flats
by Murray Ball
Hoddor Moa, 2011

The latest and best in the recent line of luxury-format compilations of Footrot Flats material. Ball’s somewhat murky watercolours were always a highlight of the regular reprints of the comic strip, and this book collects nearly 250 pages of them, sourced mainly from concept art for Footrot Flats: A Dog’s Tail Tale and calendar art, which accounts for the vague “season” theme.

The single-frame pictures aren’t printed in chronological order (a minor detail which wrecked the overpriced Six of the Best compilation) but because they aren’t telling a linear story, they don’t have to be. In fact, by drifting back and forth it emphasizes the timelessness of the strip.

There’s a suitably blokey Old Zealand introduction from Tom Scott, a drippingly sycophantic note from the publisher (this book wasn’t published for an anniversary or anything, it was created to make money) and other brief laudatory notes, from Charles M. Schulz (misspelt twice as “Shultz”, because the publishers are fucking idiots) and, bizarrely, from sci-fi writer Alan Dean Foster.

So, a beautiful coffee table book, but would you pay $90 for it?

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