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Timeframe: The Illustrated History

by David J Howe

Book review by Paul Scoones

If you admire the artwork on the Target novelisation covers, then this book will undoubtedly appeal, as quite literally half the book is taken up with full-page reproductions of Target book covers. There are quite a few omitted pieces which in my opinion deserved inclusion, but space and availability of artwork limited David Howe's field of selection. These paintings are, with one exception, without the logos or lettering. Since the various cover artists always intended for their work to be seen only with the logo obscuring the top third, this area of each painting looks rather uninteresting, and somewhat spoils the overall impact of the pieces. I would have preferred the artwork to have been either enlarged further, or reduced to accommodate a second painting on the page - in both cases removing the 'blank' third. This is only a minor gripe.

The remainder of the book (the left-hand pages), forms a scrapbook-style collection of clippings, images, magazine and annual covers and synopses. A serious omission for the less-informed is the lack of a list of story titles, especially since Target rarely provide any sort of indication of the true order of the books.

Highlights of the collection include the covers of all Doctor Who annuals, a number of sixties photos I've never seen before, and three unused examples of cover artwork for the novelisations of The Visitation, The Twin Dilemma, The Ultimate Foe, and rarest of all, The Enemy of the World.

Bringing the book right up to date, there are four New Adventures covers although two are not those I'd have chosen, and Birthright has been printed back to front.

Almost as an after-thought - but a very welcome one at that - the last page features two superb pieces of previously unpublished artwork by the skilled Jeff Cummins. These are almost worth buying the book for alone.

Well done, David Howe and Virgin another superb book to add to the collection, and a worthy anniversary tome.

This item appeared in TSV 36 (November 1993).