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Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  429 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Best known for his collaborations with Neil Gaiman, McKean defied expectations with his stunning debut as writer and artist in Cages, winner of multiple awards for Best Graphic Album. Dark Horse proudly presents a new original graphic novel by the legendary artist based on the life of Paul Nash, a surrealist painter during World War 1. The Dreams of Paul Nash deals with ...more
Paperback, 80 pages
Published October 18th 2016 by Dark Horse Originals
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Average rating 4.22  · 
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 ·  429 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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J. Kent Messum
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of graphic novels & visual artists
*Review originally published in the New York Journal Of Books:

“I’m a room without a door. A war artist, without a war.”

War is a terrible thing. With brutal indiscrimination it carves up victims and separates survivors. Those that live through it can often teach us more than any historian ever could. With art and prose, some even do it in a way that transcends.

Paul Nash was one such individual: an English WWI soldier, official war artist, and poet. With
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard the name Paul Nash before (unless we're talking about a certain Goodreads friend here ;P) but I do know of Dave McKean through his work with Neil Gaiman. It was the latter showing sneak peeks or reporting about the progress of the upcoming work on Twitter to endorse it which made me look at it.

Both World Wars are difficult topics for me as a German (you wouldn't believe how many people have called me a Nazi in my life) but I regard them as very important too. One of my
David Schaafsma
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of the year, a fictional biography or historical fiction of the surrealist artist Paul Nash, who survived WWI but was plagued all of his life by the "black dog" of depression. This is a stunning artifact, 12 x 16, 124 pages, lovingly produced, with a multitude of art styles, some of them honoring Nash's surrealistic approach. Some of the writing is in verse, some of it prose, much of it from Nash. The book also includes reproductions of Nash's work, so this is great art ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I saw Dave McKean talk about this book on Thursday and was able to pick up a limited edition copy. It is one of the most beautiful books I own. The art work is just incredible. While talking about such issues as war and mental illness it does so with beautiful and intricate images. The story of one man's life and how it was destroyed by war, even though he managed to miss the worst of it. The book is presented as a selection of dreams from his earliest to his last. Very very highly recommended. ...more
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Incredibly powerful whether you are familiar with the artist and poet Paul Nash or not. It speaks of all the horror or WWI and of living with depression, aka the Black Dog, primarily in images, and here Dave McKean uses a range of highly expressive styles that cannot fail to grab you by the guts. Now I need to familiarize myself with Paul Nash’s original work so I can better appreciate what McKean’s references were. 4.5
Eloise Mcallister
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Six stars bro
Callum McAllister
Nov 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A very beautiful comic.
Alex Sarll
A gorgeous, intense and fractured graphic biography of war artist Paul Nash, never merely pastiching his style but capturing a kindred sense of trauma and of the Great War as a fundamental disjunction in the world. As ever, McKean bends multiple media to his task, yet always in pursuit if not of the story then certainly of the mood, never as a mere exercise in virtuosity. It's not all trenches, of course; there are childhood idylls, a brutal school, chats with the smart set in a glamorous London ...more
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dave McKean is probably my favorite living artist. His drawings/pictures/paintings (don't know exactly how to call them) never fail to touch something inside my soul. This time that's even easier, considering the subject: the experience during WWI of painter John Nash. I admit to having no idea who Nash was before reading this, but that didn't make enjoying black dog any harder. The general mood is very dark and gloomy, something that McKean's style has no trouble at all representing ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
An AMAZING sort of surrealism meets biography, graphic novel about the experiences, trauma, and PTSD/shellshock of WWI war artist Paul Nash.
L.R. Diaz
Dec 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm coming to this book from an artist standpoint whose been turned on to comics for the balance and clarity of the medium. That to me is the most important thing.

I've been collecting and reading what I call "fine art comics" since the 90's. I was a teenager and my first painted comic was "Judgement in Gotham" by Alan Grant, John Wagner and art by Simon Bisley. I was in love with painted comics from that point on. I read works painted by Kent Williams, Jon J Muth, Sienkiewicz, Dave McKean and a
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: graphic novel, visual art, history, poetry aficionados

A masterpiece. Dave McKean has always been one of my favourite visual artists of all time. I'm a big fan of his works in Sandman graphic novel covers, Mirormask movie, and The Magic of Reality illustration. With projects ranging from album cover to full featured films, McKean body of work is incredibly diverse and visually versatile.

In this project, McKean was commissioned to create a biography/response to Paul Nash's dreams. Paul Nash (1889-1946) was a renowned British war painter. His work
Paul Nash was a British surrealist painter and war artist, as well as a photographer, writer and designer of applied art. Nash was among the most important landscape artists of the first half of the twentieth century. He played a key role in the development of Modernism in English art.

The Dreams of Paul Nash is an amazing, jarring adventure into the mindscape of the painter. Dave does such a good job and holding back and giving us the basics without much commentary, especially about war. We make
Jason Bootle
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dave McKean is an incredible artist and his work always feels part of dreams so this paring is perfect. When he draws people and 'still-life' perspective his skills shine through. Couple this with the harrowing narrative of Nash's dreams dealing with the effects of WW1 and we have a remarkable novel.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: uni-books
Oh hey there feelings
Wade Duvall
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dave McKean is truely the greatest comic book artist of our time, and it is very fitting that he would write a book about Paul Nash, a surealist painter who was greatly affected by his time in WW1. I highly recommend this to anybody who is into surealism. Dave McKeans art style is just increadable.
Oct 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Artists’ reflections on war can illuminate events that might seem abstract to those of us living at some distance from the horrors of the battlefield. The best art carries a unique and profound power, shaping our understanding of the historical episodes that inspired it.

Jenny Waldman
Director, 14-18 NOW

Paul Nash was a British surrealist painter and landscape artist in the first half of the 20th c. He was also a soldier in WWI. He was stationed on the Ypres Salient in 1917 and, although while he
John Pistelli
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
In one of the many brilliant parables that occur throughout English artist Dave McKean's 1990s graphic novel Cages, a character (who may or may not be a cat) briefly dies and goes to two flawed heavens in succession. Both versions of the afterlife are centered on art, and both fail to do justice to art's real purpose and complexity.

In the first heaven, the soul is encouraged to take pleasure in beautiful paintings, but when it asks the meaning behind the artworks, the moon-, sun-, and star-faced
Eric Railine
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: I've enjoyed everything of Dave McKean's that I've ever read, and in the early 90's he quickly became my favorite Artist. Over the last 25+ years my admiration for his work has never waned. As such, I'm a teeny bit biased when reading his latest work.

Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash is really nothing like McKean's previous work. It's an historical fiction based on a real person, Paul Nash, a British photojournalist during World War I. The story twines around Nash's experiences
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, comics
One of McKean's most mature works to date, this is a portrait of an artist with whom I was previously unfamiliar: painter Paul Nash. Rather than a complete biography we get a series of sketches and, as the title suggests, dreams. It's an approach which works well with McKean's visual style, which is more varied here than it has been for a while. Like many artists finding their voice McKean presents different scenes in different styles representing his influences. A sea voyage is reminiscent of ...more
Jared Millet
This is a deep, wonderful graphic novel, inventive in the way that only Dave McKean is. It's also a book that I'd never recommend to non-graphic novel readers. McKean's art and storytelling is a tough nut to crack, and anyone not already well-versed in avant-garde comics would just be weirded out.

This book was produced as part of an effort to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI. Paul Nash was an artist and a soldier in that war, and of that era. I don't think this book taught me very much
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Vivid, visually stunning, hallucinatory visions of life and war, building an image in your mind that's greater than the sum of the individual moments. Terrific.
Read, still a masterpiece. Best to spend a little time Googling Nash's work to see how vividly McKean incorporates it into his own telling.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: have-book
Outstanding art work
Patrick Caldwell
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful illustrated interpretation of an artist's dreams and the horrors of war. Nobody visually interprets dreams better than Dave McKean.
Agnieszka Czoska
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Poetic and beautifull, uses many drawing styles on one page, which makes the uncomprehensibility and incoherence of war simply visible. Now Remarque will always look like this graphics.
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Luminous and dark and moving.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I don't think I'd ever heard of Paul Nash before reading this dream-rooted tribute by Dave McKean, but I have been a fan of McKean's for about 30 years and tend to pick up any book he produces. It has been a long time since he created a book-length narrative (tending recently more toward short stories, films and commission work), so I was eager (in spite of how long it took me to get a copy) to see what he'd wrought this time out.
Black Dog was produced as part of a commemoration of the centenary
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
I found this one at the library and since I’m a fan of Dave McKean’s art I picked it up. it’s part of a first world war centenary project, 14-18 Now. I know a fair amount of artists but Paul Nash is new to me (which seems to be a large oversight on my part). He was a war artist who went on to be a big deal in England.

In this graphic novel, McKean (and the committee who hired him) wanted to capture Nash’s pain and angst. One assumes that he had his fair share of PSTD. The art in this is
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Having very little knowledge of Paul Nash (a shame, I know), I’m not sure I understood most of this book, but none the less I very much enjoyed Dave McKean’s creative take on the subject. His artwork is, of course, unparalleled in raw emotional form, so I was quickly drawn into the emotional subjects that surrounded Nash’s life. The Great War, family, and the titular black dog (an apt metaphor for mental instability, one’s quest to find meaning through life, and unexpected relationships and ...more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it liked it
This is more a tone poem than a graphic novel. Dave McKean reinterprets photos and text by World War I soldier/artist Paul Nash and uses them to build an exploration of war and its impacts. From the repeating motif of war as a black dog to an escape into a beautiful green Eden, McKean does seem to magnify the source material in interesting ways. Content-wise, it's not highly impressive, but the emotional impact was surprisingly large. This is a book to peruse slowly, letting the colors and art ...more
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Dave McKean is a world-renowned artist, designer, and film director who has illustrated several books for children, including The Savage by David Almond, and Coraline, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, and The Wolves in the Wall, all by Neil Gaiman. Dave McKean lives in England.
“Dreams are collisions of memories, they fuse the inconvenience of a mislaid pen with the grief of losing a loved one. They create hybrids, centaurs.” 1 likes
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