Released: 2007, Ardvark Publishing
RUN FOR COVER is another one of the more cherished coffee-table art books in my library. This big and bold, over-sized book is 180 pages dedicated to the art of Derek Riggs. Derek himself has a forward and an intro by John Merikoski. Popoff handles the text in his usual effervescent style. There was a hard-copy version but sold out in about 5 minutes so I’m reviewing the soft cover.
This book straddles the line between art book and biography quite nicely. Popoff follows Rigg’s career from the late 70’s doing Sci-Fi themed work for Heavy Metal Magazine (the sci-fi one) and various pre-Maiden album covers. Riggs is an interesting character, not really interested in Rock or metal and at times comes across as a bit curmudgeonly or even down-right cranky. The stories of the pressure and deadline created by management are quite interesting to read. Everyone has budgets, limitations on time and energy, however, getting flown to the Bahamas to work on a classic album cover sounds not too bad to me, however Riggs still manages to get in a few complaints.
Naturally the art is the focal point and the plates, printed on good glossy paper in vibrant colour really bring the pictures out. Better than squinting at my old cassette copy of ‘Powerslave’! There is a huge amount of material and the bulk of it is related to Iron Maiden but there is quite a bit more as well. Sketches, Christmas cards, flyers, laminates and lots of little insights to the visual clues and items he has hid in and among his artwork for years. As many of us have done, spent hours pouring over the art of various Maiden albums, it’s nice to read the stories and go back and look for little items and jokes that you may have missed the first time around.
As his working relationship with Maiden’s management trailed off he branched out and has done work for Stratovarius, Gamma Ray and many others. He now works in digital mediums and continues to have a prolific career. Whether he likes it or not Riggs is an iconic Metal artist and art fans and metal fans will really enjoy this book. More specifically for Maiden fans and Riggs fans especially, RUN FOR COVER is a work of art!