Charles Vess’ Book of Ballads Accepted into the Library of Congress

A hearty congratulations is in order for Charles Vess. All 132 pages of original drawings for his Eisner Award-winning Book of Ballads have been accepted in to the Library of Congress, along with marked up scripts and preliminary layouts for each story. 

Charles’ The Book of Ballads came about in 1995 when the artist had the idea to collect his favorite writer-friends and have them write comic adaptations of English and Scottish ballads. As I heard him tell the story, Jane Yolen was one of the first people he called, just to float the idea off of someone. An hour later a complete script from her poured out of his fax machine. Over time, other writers participated, including Neil Gaiman, Sharyn McCrumb, Charles de Lint, Jeff Smith, Midori Snyder, Emma Bull, Graham Pratt, Elaine Lee, Delia Sherman, Lee Smith, and Vess himself.

The Book of Ballads was originally issued as four self-published comic books from his own Green Man Press as The Book of Ballads and Sagas. In 2004, Tor Books printed hardcover and trade paperback editions with additional stories.

Martha Kennedy of the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division says, “[Vess’] style of contemporary drawings illustrating narrative comic art is only sparsely represented in the Library’s collections and will go a long way towards filling this particular gap in its holdings.”

Take a look at some of the layouts and original art from Vess’ book.

The False Knight on the Road, Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess

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The Galtee Farmer, Jeff Smith & Charles Vess

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The Daemon Lover, Delia Sherman & Charles Vess

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The Three Lovers, Lee Smith & Charles Vess

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Irene Gallo is the Art Director of Tor Books


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