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Book Review: The Art Of The Strain By Robert Abele
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The Art of The Strain
Written by Robert Abele
Forward by Guillermo del Toro
Insight Editions
Release Date: June 28th, 2016

It’s that time of year again… the time when we return to the showdown of human vs strigoi, concentrated in New York City. For 2 seasons our morally skewed heroes viciously scrapped for survival, barely making it out of one attack after another. This season, the struggle continues as Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) deals with the double blow of losing his son to his ex-wife (Natalie Brown) and The Master (Jack Kesy), and his love Nora (Mia Maestro) to the violence.

More below.

With a forward by creator Guillermo del Toro, this book has glorious illustrations from sketch to concept. Check out the evolution of the Master and his strigoi, in sketches and color drawings, to the makeup artist chair, as an actor gets globs of fake skin glued to his face.

The book is sliced into sections:

1 – “A Viral Idea” gives an in-depth look at the beginnings of this concept. Guillermo del Toro wanted it to be a television show before he ever wrote the novels. He and collaborator Chuck Hogan had an informal agreement to write together… basically a giant trust fall. This section has tons of keyart, sketches, and pages from the graphic novel.

2 – “The Hunters” section dedicates a spread (in David Bradley’s case, quite a few pages) per character. To the surprise of no one, Fet is one of del Toro’s favorite characters (and mine!). Dutch was not in the books, which is amazing, because she feels so right in this story, and is also a fave. The Master gets several pages of intricate designs, and for good reason… he is the epicenter of the story dancing with Setrakian to the end. The coffin is also treated like a character, and rightly so.

3 – “The Infected” takes you through the stages of the strigoi disease, and shows the makeup effects needed for each. A delightfully surprising fact is that the strigoi extras are actually dancers – those movements need choreography. There is a page on the worms… skip if you are prone to queasiness.

4 “It Spreads” delves into season 2 and the newer characters that have joined the fight, like Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones), Councilwoman Justine Ferraro (Samantha Smith), Angel (Joaquín Cosio), and Coco (Lizzie Brocheré). It also tells the story of the creepy little feeler children.

This beautiful book is a must have for any fan of The Strain, for any fan of horror, and really… for any fan of art.

The Strain airs Sunday nights on FX.


Discover the incredible art behind Guillermo del Toro’s much anticipated TV series The Strain, FX and cable television’s newest #1 television series.

Based on Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s best-selling book trilogy, The Strain is a high-concept thriller that tells the story of Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak with all the hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. As the strain spreads, Eph, his team, and an assembly of everyday New Yorkers battle to control the fate of humanity itself. The Art of The Strain will delve into the amazing design work that went into creating this chilling TV series, including del Toro’s own designs for the menacing beings that pose a threat to humanity’s survival. The book will also feature interviews with key members of the cast and crew and tell the full story of this unique production. Filled with stunning concept art and candid behind-the-scenes imagery, The Art of The Strain will be the perfect accompaniment to this year’s most exciting new television show.

Image Gallery

The Art of the Strain Cover


The Art of the Strain

Discover the secrets of FX’s hit TV show The Strain in this deluxe book, which delves into the twisted imagination of creator and producer Guillermo del Toro to deliver a jaw-dropping insider’s look at the scariest show on television. Covering both seasons one and two, The Art of The Strain features exclusive interviews with del Toro, co-creator Chuck Hogan, showrunner Carlton Cuse, and a wealth of behind-the-scenes talent, who reveal the full story of the creation of the show.

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