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Peer into the eerie pages of Stranger Things: Visions From the Upside Down artbook

By Jeff Spry
Stranger Things: Visions From The Upside Down

In honor of Netflix's hit sci-fi horror series Stranger Things, which premiered its third season last month, you'll soon be able to bring the Upside Down into your living room — beyond the television — with the upcoming artbook Visions From the Upside Down: Stranger Things Artbook. This lavish new 240-page tribute volume, officially sanctioned by Netflix, arrives on October 15 and has been given the deluxe treatment by the dedicated, horror-loving folks at Printed In Blood, whose The Thing: Artbook offering in 2017 was a sold-out success.

For its ambitious new Stranger Things coffee table book, Printed In Blood rounded up more than 200 artists from the earth-bound dimensions of comic books, advertising, illustration, fine art, video games, and animation to deliver faithful fans their varied interpretations of the weird world of Hawkins, Indiana. Spotlighting over 200 never-seen images, this eerie edition is illustrated by a swarm of award-winning international artists such as Bill Sienkiewicz, Adam Stothard, Rian Hughes, Orlando Arocena, Matthew Hirons, Stella Lee, John Sloboda, and dozens more.

"I love Stranger Things, it’s a fantastic series," Eisner Award-winning Sienkiewicz told SYFY WIRE of his involvement and participation. "So much nostalgia and fun history there. Doing an illustration in a movie poster style based on the show’s era was a blast."

SYFY WIRE also spoke with Printed In Blood's director of operations, Steve Hoveke, to learn how this Stranger Things project originated, what Netflix's approval process was like, and how the paranormal property's appeal makes for a perfect companion volume for the streaming juggernaut's smash series.

Stranger Things Art Book Slice

What was the genesis of this massive Stranger Things tribute art book?

My partners Phil [Lawrence] and John [Hill] and myself, we're all tremendous Stranger Things fans and have been from the beginning, so it kinda fit in alignment with what we're trying to do with the company. Internally, we hate the term "fan art," but there's no easy way to explain what we do in curating these collections. A Stranger Things book seemed the logical step. We were able to sit down with the people from Netflix and show them The Thing book and pitch them on the idea. They immediately loved it and put us in touch with their publishing partners, and that's about as easy as it was.

Did Netflix have any specific input or guidelines for your project?

Not really. Once we got the basic parameters squared away, we submitted 300 pieces of artwork to them, and they didn't really reject all that much. The only person they didn't have approval rights internally with themselves was Winona Ryder. And Winona couldn't have been nicer about the representations that we submitted for her to approve.

What are your associations with Stranger Things, and why do you believe it's become such a pop culture phenomenon?

You couldn't have picked a better time for it to have hit our zeitgeist with that particular property. I feel like we're right in the middle of people getting to the age where they have the ability to appreciate and reflect on that time in a really positive way. It struck a nerve with a lot of people. You can have all the nostalgia in the world from a particular TV show, but if it's not written well and done with high production values and clearly a lot of love, it's not going to be a success, or certainly not a success that we've seen Stranger Things become. At its core, it's just really well done.

Stranger Things Art Book Slice 2

How can you describe the response from the stable of artists you gathered, and what can readers anticipate?

We went to all the artists with this project and our inbox exploded. We had such great feedback. There are very few people, with a lot of the pop culture stuff, that are passive about their interest in things. They either love it or it's not their thing. The book is 200 pieces of brand-new art created just for this book. A lot of artists that did pieces for The Thing book are in there, and a lot of new artists too.

We changed things up a little this time and asked artists to give us little blurbs about what Stranger Things meant to them. Our projects are so artist-focused, and we want people to get to know them and not just their work, but also know them a little bit as well. It comes out on October 15, and we'll have copies at New York Comic Con on the show floor, with signings at the Random House booth.

Now check out our exclusive selection of seven arresting artworks inside Visions From The Upside Down in the full gallery below, then tell us which ones take you back to the terrifying town of Hawkins and its horrendous history.