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Angel Drops the F-Bomb

Written by in Books, Color & Texture, Design


Mister F: Fantastically, Frighteningly Good.

Todd Thyberg of Angel Bomb is one of MPLS most multi-talented communication artists. He is a skillful writer, designer and illustrator and his is an expert letterpress man. Over the years, he has published books that showcase the breadth and depth of these skills and intellectual interests. Mister F is his latest book, published last September. Mister F is a keeper. When the witches and jack-o-lanterns return this fall, so will my copy of this fantastically, frighteningly book experience. And remember, before you call someone a monster, take a good hard look in the mirror, Dr. Frankenstein.

In the Spring of 2016, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts sent out a call for entries for a gallery exhibition of horror-themed art called It’s Alive. The show celebrates the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein through artist reinterpretations of the classic.

“As a kid, I grew up reading horror novels classics like Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft and modern authors such as Stephen King and Peter Straub,” he says. “Curling up at night with a creepy story remains one of my favorite pastimes, so I knew I had to participate in this the show.”

Thyberg entitled his interpretation of Shelly’s classic “Mister F.” “Shelley’s Frankenstein refers to both creator and created, so mine follows suit,” he says, “so the story is printed two-sided in accordion fashion with one side featuring Doctor Frankenstein’s perspective and the reverse side featuring the monster’s perspective. Just as Shelley used “Frankenstein,” to refer to the monster within and the monster without, Thyberg uses “Mister F” to refer to both creator and creation. Each spread has a small bit of the original prose from Mary Shelley.


Mister F is a personal project created it for fun, show and sharing, but if it nets Angel Bomb new opportunities, so much the better. “I enjoy story-driven work,” Thyberg states. “When I try to create things from scratch, I’m often at a loss. But if I start with a theme or direction [e.g. horror in general or Frankenstein in particular] it helps me to focus my attention on the pace and flow of the narrative experience.” From concept to finished product, Thyberg needed 90 days.

Thyberg is an evangelist for tangible experience. Call him Mister Analog. Nowhere is Thyberg’s focus and talent more clearly than in the work of Mister F. This “book” is more than a printed object; it is a series of engaging experiences. “I had my eyes on a vintage cigarette machine a friend was selling,” he recalls, “so my idea was to create a book the size of a cigarette packet that allowed people to self-vend the book.” But he didn’t just want people to like his book, he wanted them to crave it. “People who saw vending machine loved it,” he remembers, “but for most, it was unpacking the book that captured their imaginations. First, you open the book cover by gently removing the tassel that holds it closed. This leads to the story within, a series of hand-drawn illustrations and text that unfolded in your hands.”

Thyberg chose the accordion format to make binding easier and more economical. “I was able to fit both spreads onto one press sheet that’d fit on my Heidelberg Windmill,” he says, “This saved me an awful lot of time by avoiding hand-cranking the book off my Vandercook proof press.” Illustrating the book and condensing the classic story to eight spreads was the most difficult part, he says. “I reread Frankenstein and broke it down into sections: the doctor’s childhood, his education, the creation of the monster, etc. Then I developed imagery to illustrate fundamental themes. Often I digitally illustrate my work, but in this case I elected to hand-draw illustrations.” He then printed the story in three colors to enrich the look and add texture. He printed using two blue-greys and a dark red to generate a somber feel and then created a dieline for the book cover with matching artwork that gave the experience a vintage leather-bound look and touch.

Want to see and learn more about Todd Thyberg? Visit him at angelbomb.com.

PicMonkey Collage

Pop-Up Wedding Invitation for Laura Bice and Todd Thyberg. Identity, business card, with reverse side client credits for Colin Corcoran, a MPLS based copywriter.



Thyberg uses Neenah CRANE® Papers, CLASSIC® BRAND PAPERS and ENVIRONMENT® Papers  with confidence and frequency. This time, Frankenstein drew him to Germany, where he chose  Gmund Paper “for its thick, pulpy, almost hand-made feel and for being available in a great grey color for my inside pages and black for the covers.” Expensive, Thyberg says, but worth it.  Interior Pages used Gmund Heidi Faded Grey 122C. Book cover is Gmund Heidi Dull Black 196C. Cover and insert printed on a 1950’s era Heidelberg Windmill 10×15 in 3 colors, diecut and scored on same press.


PicMonkey Collage-2

Angel Bomb loves red. And so do we.