Critical Praise for "Please God Save Us"
The new book by Derek Hess & Kent Smith
Available at www.strhesspress.com
"Bored with your summer reading list already? Derek Hess and Kent Smith can fix that. Their first book, Please God Save Us debuts July 4. The arguments begin shortly thereafter." -- Northern Ohio Live, July 2008, Page 20.
"Local indie/hardcore artist Derek Hess and politician/self-proclaimed "policynerd" Kent Smith might actually be greater together than the sum of their individual parts. The duo has long charted ground individually in town with fiery effect. Together, they've joined forces for an incendiary graphic essay folio full of scathing indictments that scald like napalm." -- CoolCleveland.com, July 16, 2008.
"If, as Alan Moore once observed, 'the word is the unit of currency of the left brain, and the image that of the right,' then Derek Hess and Kent Smith have achieved a balance between the two." -- Real Detroit Weekly, July 30, 2008, Page 58.
"Provocative? Definitely. Controversial? Most likely. Inflammatory? Only if you give it to your conservative relatives for Christmas (something we highly recommend)." -- Metrotimes, July 30, 2008, Page 36.
"Smith's written words are united with Hess' artwork to create a book that does not leave any questions on what stance the duo holds in regards to the nation's highest political leaders." --- Record - Courier, July 31, 2008, Page C-2.
"Please God Save Us is a smart, provocative and perhaps controversial look at some of today's most pressing societal issues." - The Cleveland Leader, September 30, 2008.
"If you have yet to catch a peek at this book, you'll be blown away by internationally known artist, Derek Hess' intense imagery combined with Cleveland-area politician, Kent Smith's powerful words. Yes, the name Please God Save Us pretty much sums it up: this book tests the mind and ideals of the nation in a politically charged tour de force." -- Juxtapoz Magazine (online), September 30, 2008.
"When a former community organizer and Democratic Party official joins forces with a famed printmaker, illustrator and rock 'n' roll poster artist, you get "Please God Save Us". It's a book of intense illustrations by Derek Hess with text by Kent Smith, ripping into right-wing pieties and devastation wreaked by literal "red elephants" on people, the planet and free thought." -- Pittsburgh City Paper, October 15, 2008, Page 48.
"We are all irritated with U.S. leaders and the Christian right telling us how to vote on Proposition 8, but do we say anything more than 'this sucks'? Fortunately, Kent Smith can, and does so in an educated and rational manner. More than just a complement, Derek Hess's brilliantly messy and melancholic Ashley Wood meets Bill Sinkiewicz-style paintings, sketches and collages (often using the Red Elephant as his subject) appear on each page, echoing Smith's words (and visa-versa). If the publishers of Ad Busters worked in cohesion and employed a shit-hot illustrator, the result would be this book." - SLUG Magazine, November 2008.
"Please God Save Us," a blend of Kent Smith's facts and tracts with Derek Hess's startling, dramatic art. Smith is an activist Democrat from suburban Cleveland, Hess a Cleveland artist who made his mark in the 1990s designing rock posters and album covers for the likes of Shudder to Think, Pantera, and Pink Floyd. Hess's work is unapologetically subversive. A shot at the religious right, "Please God Save Us" balls word and image into a smart fist." -- Boston Globe, November 23, 2008.
"Artist Derek Hess is best known for his striking, physical cover art for numerous punk and metal albums, but lately he's started infusing politics into his pictures. His new book, Please God Save Us, features lots of disturbing drawings, paintings, and collages that lambaste right-wing hypocrisy; in case you don't get the point from the artwork alone, writer / politician / "community organizer" Kent Smith adds essays that correspond with the art's themes of religion, war, environmental exploitation and so on. Trust me, it's rad (i.e., "radical" in all the meanings of the word)." - San Francisco Weekly (online), November 12, 2008.
"This book juxtaposes politically and religiously provocative images by Hess with sharp commentary from local politico Smith. The result is a thought-provoking, often hilarious, always biting picture book of the narrowly averted apocalypse. Smith's honed criticisms of religious warmongering and right-wing Machiavellian maneuvering set just the right tone for Hess' urgent, spasmodic renderings." -- Cleveland Scene, November 26, 2008, Page 46.
"One of the most interesting and entertaining books of the year for those with a political taste may be the latest from Derek Hess and Kent Smith entitled "Please God Save Us." ... "Please God Save Us" is simply a fascinating exposition of the political world we live in today. Within this work, the powerful art of Hess combines with the words of Smith to form an intriguing argument -- at times indictment -- of the American political system of recent history. ... Built upon a crafty organizational style, this work is a powerhouse of political commentary. Furthermore, the artwork contained in this volume is worthy of its own acclaim. As a result, readers of this volume will simply find an amazing multi-faceted collection of work by cunning intellects." - Augusta's Metro Spirit, December 17, 2008.
"Initially created as an avenue for Derek Hess to vent his political dissatisfaction, this book is intended to educate and inspire its readers. The book addresses an array of topics, including everything from politics and religion to Sponge Bob. Insightful, witty and thought-provoking." -- Prick Magazine, January 2009, Page 56.
"Pairing Kent Smith's collection of facts and analysis with inflammatory anti-Republican art creates a jarring, concise and accurate reminder of liberals' pent-up frustration concerning Bush and his cronies. While cataloging climate change statistics produces surprise, Derek Hess' art makes one feel gut-wrenching outrage." - Synthesis Magazine, January 9, 2009
"Acclaimed artist, L.A. Ink guest star and fellow Clevelander Derek Hess has compiled artwork he did in response to the current state of the U.S., alongside Kent Smith's essays explaining the art and how it relates to the blunders of the Bush Administration. Fingers crossed Hess' next group of drawings will reflect some change and hope." - Alternative Press, February 2009, Page 61.
"Need another reason to celebrate the end of the Bush years? Then check out this illustrated takedown of Republicans and the Religious Right by renowned hardcore and metal artist Derek Hess and writer - politician Kent Smith. "God" takes a tour of the hot button issues - Darwin, Iraq global warming - and it's a cranky, precise and thanks to its zine-like feel, vaguely punk-rock ride all the way. If you're on the Left, it'll confirm your worst suspicious, and if you're on the Right, it might just change your mind." - Revolver Magazine, March 2009, page 70.