Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Welcome to the first “Art Barrage” of the new year, in which I intend to bombard you with loads of interesting work you might not have seen before. Some of it is comic art, while sometimes it will come from the increasingly comics-besotted worlds of illustration, fine art and street art. Let’s kick off with the above image, from the second series of Mike Mitchell’s surprisingly disturbing re-skins of the classic pose from the cover of Superman #6 (we featured the first lot here at Robot 6 in October). See them all here — the They Live and Krang ones are genuinely freaking me out. That Margot Tenenbaum is pretty creepy, too.
Below is a piece that reminds me of what Mitchell is doing: Hillary White‘s T-shirt design for Threadless from last year, “Super LOL.” It gently takes the mick out of that sublime piece of Golden Age DERP!-thinking, that somehow just putting on a pair of glasses could ever instantly render Superman anonymous. Are you familiar with Ary Sheffer’s “Temptation of Christ“? Well, the second image below is White’s tribute, “Temptation of Robin.” It’s from her series, Pop-Reinterpretation, which also featured the much-blogged and Tumblred “True Muppet.”
Plenty more from around the world after the break, including France’s Didier Cassegrain, Italy’s Adriano De Vincentiis, Japan’s Patrick Awa, the U.K.’s Will Kirkby, the U.S.’s Babs Tarr, and Sweden’s Robert Sammelin.
Jace Wallace is an illustrator and concept artist who paints digitally. His website mainly showcases fantasy, fashion and video-game work (warning: much NSFW content abounds at that link), but his style also has a strong visible comic book/manga influence, so when I came across this Catwoman sketch at his blog, I realized he was fair game for Art Barrage. The above image, and another Catwoman design, are available as prints from his web store. Plenty more can’t-miss art can be found below from around the world: Poland’s Przemek Blejzyk and Matt Cowan, Russia’s amazing Otto Schmidt, the U.K.’s Tony Wright, Spain’s Javier Olivares, and Greece’s Theodore Kontaxis.
I remember that a year or two ago, Chris Weston playing a little game with his Twitter followers: casting an imaginary Carry On X-Men film. If memory serves, I may even have contributed to it myself; I think I might have been the first to suggest Bernard Bresslaw as Colossus. And that was the end of that, we thought — until he updated his blog with this image.
Surely he’s not been working on this all that time? Weston is something of a movie poster nut, regularly uploading fine examples from his collection, and I’m also enough of an illustration nerd to realize he’s copping the style used by the great Renato Fratini on several U.K. Carry On movie posters.
As Jane Austen once wrote, it is a truth universally acknowledged that any illustrator or painter who sticks a Superman emblem or a Catwoman mask in his or her work will probably end up in Art Barrage. The first artist up to prove the point this week is Niklas Asker, who recently posted work from his latest show “Great Expectations.” I like this guy’s style, so I’ve been hoping he’d give me a decent excuse to run one of his paintings. Mission accomplished, Nik. More fine artists dabbling in comic book imagery, and comic book artists making it in fine art and illustration, below — including Jack Dylan, Rob Schwager, Brian M. Viveros, Thomas Pitilli, and plenty others.
Tyson McAdoo didn’t hang around long in comics; it’s hard to find many credits for him, just a few inking gigs at the Big Two and Dark Horse. He’s a man with an interesting life story, though: Training as a teenager to be a ballet dancer until he broke both knees, he chose instead to attend the Joe Kubert School, fell into work as a jobbing comic book inker, then onto steady employment in animation, where he now art directs for Cartoon Network/Adult Swim.
His parallel fine art career is similarly cross-cultural, drawing on the demi-mondes of burlesque, tattooing and skateboarding. His work over the last couple of years shows an interesting progression, initially producing pieces that looked very much redolent of the post-Timm school of sexy cartoon art (like a more baroque Shane Glines), his work has gotten increasingly painterly and expressionistic, and less about straight-forward stock pin-up poses. Even the fact that the guy has a day job producing commercial art aimed at the young and then spends his spare time producing very adult (his site’s subtitle, “I kinda want to draw you naked” rather gives the game away there) fine art suggests interesting layers of dichotomy to the man. Plenty of examples after the break, and yes, some of it is NSFW.
Illustrator Christina Ung manages to fit in just about everyone on the planet going at it Gangnam Style, including The Caped Crusader. Batman is, of course, no stranger to faddish dance crazes (also by Christina – The Unreliable Superhero). More below, including work by Ron Wimberly, Ben Caldwell, Daniel Krall, Ashley Wood and many other talented human beings. Continue Reading »
Another day, another gallery opening an exhibition of loosely-themed pop culture-derived art. This time it’s “The Gang’s All Here” at the Bottleneck Gallery, Brooklyn, beginning Friday and continuing through Dec. 7 (my birthday, fact fans!), 2012. Above is Chris “Raid 71″ Thornley‘s contribution. Chris (creator of that much blogged Hellboy/Peanuts mash-up “Hellnuts” a while back) is also a major contributor to the charity Art V Cancer, well worth supporting. That’s one e-commerce site you can feel good about using. More comics-quoting work below from the fields of illustration and design, including work by Butcher Billy, Walter Simonson, Wally Wood, McBess and others — including one very famous NSFW image re-contextualized!
Ah, the cruel end to Shakespeare’s seven ages of man, from Jacque’s “All the world’s a stage” monologue in As You Like It: “Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”. The painter Jason Bard Yarmosky seems to have come to a similar conclusion about the links between the very old and the very young, populating his canvasses with a cast of the elderly (his main models being his own grandparents) dressed in the paraphernalia of childhood: cowboy-and-Indian gear, ballet tutus and superhero costumes. Consider it a little glimpse into the retirement homes of the future, populated by the cosplayers of today. More from Yarmosky’s “Elder Kinder” series below, as well as work by Sho Murase, James Hance and others.
JKB Fletcher is an English artist living in Melbourne, Australia, who’s produced three series of works using superhero iconography: Heroes, paintings of action figures he “originally started painting … as a humorous celebration”; the street-art project Hero Face, with advertising images “painted over with oil and acrylic paints, signed, cheaply framed and posted back up on walls to continue advertising”; and Dirty Faces, “a series of oil paintings depicting a figure painted in contemporary superhero colors.”
More examples below.
More proof that Paul Pope’s Battling Boy may actually be about to see the light of day emerges arrives courtesy Mark Siegel’s diary for The Comics Journal. And, providing corroborating evidence that Pope can finish a job as well as start it, he has got a short story, “Treasure Lost,” coming up in Vertigo’s Halloween special Ghosts. Some lovely sci-fi/fantasy art going on in that ‘un, reminding me of those Dune pages he used to do for fun. Check that out, and lots more by Jamie McKelvie, Yuko Shimizu, Jason Shawn Alexander and others below.
As I said a while back, comics seems to be having an increasing influence on fine art and illustration. One aspect of this is fine art fetishizing the iconography of comics. You may already have seen the work of the photorealist Glennray Tutor, and his still lifes of toys and fireworks often positioned around comic art, like the above shot of some marbles illuminating a romance comic. Tutor is using comic art as a signifier of pure Americana, as American as the vinyl Donald Ducks or bottles of hot sauce he also takes as subject matter.
It’s hard not to see his influence upon the painter Matthew Bone. Bone isn’t a photorealist, and he utilizes the artifacts of nerd culture in a similar way to a very different end. His work literally fetishizes comics and toys: a semi-nude woman writhing on a bed of old Marvel comics; a pair of erotically charged models salivating over a Gundam toy; a nude in a Darth Vader helmet clutching handfuls of Storm Trooper action figures to her breasts; another mock-fellating a Gamorean guard toy. The bio on his website claims “by utilizing the conventions of pop culture, and it’s willingness to embrace the artifice as the sincere, Matthew is able to create a re-envisioned modern mythology.” That’s quite a claim for what a less sympathetic critic might just call an inappropriate fixation upon the pop cultural iconography of his youth mixing with a retrogressive view of female sexuality — NSFW examples below. Also below: Michael Latimer, the street art
swiper Lichtenstein, and Sam Spratt.
Art Barrage favorite Rob Davis has debuted the cover for his adaptation of Don Quixote Part Two. Davis’ work on the first book of Cervantes’ masterpiece was that rare treat, an adaptation that crossed from one media to another and still seemed fresh rather than redundant. This is because Davis is a creator of rare intellect and taste, with his blog being the place to see the amount of thought he puts into every project he embarks upon.
When I mention here that the U.K. is going through a Golden Age for graphic novel publishing, Davis has proven to be a key figure in its renaissance. Two of the publishers now regularly producing a steady stream of great books have worked with him, with Self Made Hero releasing these Don Quixote volumes (there’s a collected edition hitting the American market in the not-too-distant future); the ground-breaking anthology he co-edited with Woodrow Phoenix for Blank Slate Books, Nelson, would surely have won a multitude of awards this year if it had been published by one of the big U.S. indies (no, really; if you haven’t read it, click the link, look at that list of contributors, and ask yourself if it isn’t worth a punt, you won’t regret it).
More below, including another Don Quixote cover by Davis, and work by Jonathan Edwards, Rian Hughes, Etherington Brothers and more.
This year’s CBLDF Liberty Annual from Image (#5) has this lovely cover from Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson. I’m always a sucker for an image of a girl on a scooter (see also: Adi Granov’s redonkulously-proportioned effort from 2009). Or on a cafe racer. As Ringo once put it, “I’m not a mod or a rocker, I’m a mocker.” Lots more below, from Simon Gane, Becky Cloonan, Chris Weston, Ron Wimberly and others.
As British designer/comic book artist Rian Hughes once wrote, “When musicians remake an old hit, it’s called a cover version. When a painter copies an illustrator, it’s called fine art.” Hughes’ article features numerous impassioned quotes from Dave Gibbons on the ethics of fine artists appropriating imagery from comic artists. Brian Bolland recently pursued the Icelandic artist Erro for a particularly blatant act and to a certain extent, won the argument. But comic books remains catnip to the fine art world, the dirty little habit it can’t kick. Plenty of art below the break.
Simon Bisley’s return to 2000AD after 22 years absence comes in the form of the cover to the upcoming Prog 1800. It’s already dividing opinion. I’ve never blamed Bisley for the worst excesses of his copyists, and this image has its high points — the Judge Death and Mean Machine figures, drawn in Bisley’s mature style, are particularly good — but it is hard to see past the great big unnecessary arse in the middle of this composition (via Comics Alliance).
Much more below, including the Beatles, Shaky Kane, Brendan McCarthy, Jamie Hewlett and Duncan Fegredo.