"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
He’s done comics with Frank Santoro, made videos with Animal Collective, and forever redefined the way we look at Kool-Aid and breakfast foods in his buoyantly bizarre comics for MOME, but now cartoonist Jon Vermilyea is tackling something near and dear to the hearts of nerds everywhere: The Masters of the Universe!
Behold He-Man and the 13 Trials of Eternia, a gorgeous silkscreened 11″ X 8″ booklet featuring the Herculean labors of the hero also known as Prince Adam and illustrated in Vermilyea’s inimitable day-glo style. Only 21 copies of the book were produced, and by god I’m getting my hands on one of them if I have to sell my soul to Skeletor.
(Via Sean Belcher.)
Cartoonist and Heroes Con creative director Dustin Harbin is obviously a comics guy. But even for sequential-art partisans, every once in a while the literary spice must flow. Thus Harbin has created the Dune book club, a weekly discussion of the original science-fiction classic by author Frank Herbert, hosted on Harbin’s blog. In addition to thought-provoking posts and comment-thread chats about the book, which Harbin calls “probably my favorite novel ever,” the book club is also something of an art club, with Harbin, Paul Pope, Patrick Keck, Peter Lazarski, Pen Ward, Thomas “Smo” Smolenski, and Evan Dahm all providing luscious comics and stand-alone illustrations based on the book. (Pope, another big-time Dune devotee, had already drawn a scene from the book in the style of a Wednesday Comics page.) Personally, I’m waiting for someone to take a crack at a sandworm.
Lately, acclaimed cartoonist Seth has mostly been busy delighting us with his designs for Drawn & Quarterly’s John Stanley Library. But with Halloween only a day away, the artist behind George Sprott and Wimbledon Green has decided to spook us instead. Seth has provided illustrations for a series of New York City ghost stories, reported by writer Lizzy Ratner in The New York Times. Created in ghostly blue and white, they’re like the artiest, most tastefully drawn episode of Ghost Hunters ever.
(Via Peggy Burns at the D&Q blog.)
We’ve said it once before, but it bears repeating: Vice Magazine has commissioned a murderer’s row of 24 alternative comics artists–including Sammy Harkham, Tony Millionaire, Matt Furie, Lisa Hanawalt, Jordan Crane, Benjamin Marra, and Vanessa Davis–for a hugely impressive comics tribute to Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze’s long-anticipated movie adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic storybook. The movie comes out today, and all 24 artists’ interpretations are now live. Let the wild rumpus start!
Want a trip down memory lane that won’t even cost you a quarter? There may not be a deluxe line of hardcover reprints dedicated to the visionaries whose fervid fantasies festooned the arcades of your youth, but chances are these anonymous artists shaped your appreciation of cartooning nearly as much as the stars of any given DC Archive or Marvel Masterwork. Enter Monster Brains, one of the Internet’s great repositories of weird and wild art and illustration, curated by Aeron Alfrey (himself no slouch when it comes to macabre art). Over the past two weeks, Monster Brains has played host to a daily avalanche of arcade art from video games and pinball machines. It’s a veritable nostalgia button-masher, to be sure (Millipede! R-Type! Karnov!), but it’s also an inspiring look at an area of cartooning with seemingly no rules, where the goal was simply to stand out even among a sea of similarly lurid-looking games. Mission accomplished!
Does your love of trash put Oscar the Grouch to shame? Then feast your eyes, glut your soul on the (extravagantly NSFW) Flickr account of Curt Purcell, the blogger behind equally unworksafe horror-blogosphere cornerstone The Groovy Age of Horror. Curt’s been sharing his extensive collection of pulp paperbacks and X-rated Italian horror comics for years now, and he’s recently scanned in hundreds of their covers, helpfully divided into Fumetti, Horror Paperbacks, and the aptly named Sleaze Paperbacks for your browsing pleasure. For fans of the seedy side of Eurocomics or the lurid illustration styles of yesteryear, it’s tough to top.
Also worth checking out: Curt’s series of posts on Blackest Night (with an extensive detour into the classic Levitz/Giffen Legion storyline The Great Darkness Saga). A lapsed comics reader, Curt has been drawn back in by this year’s big DC event’s horror overtones, and his outsider/insider perspective regarding the evolution of “event comics” is quite fresh and eye-opening.
Illustrator and cartoonist Michael Cho recently revamped the cover for Penguin’s edition of the Don DeLillo classic “White Noise.” He talks at length about the process of putting the cover together and how he worked with editor Paul Buckley and Delillo to arrive at this final image.
I gotta say, I like it a lot better than the original cover.
(found via the Ephemerist)
I’ve long been an admirer of illustrator. designer and children’s book author Christopher Neimann‘s work, though I realize I haven’t been quite aware of jut how clever and inspired his work often is. The above image, for example, comes from an extended comic on his working methods that manages to be self-deprecatingly funny and informative at the same time. I’d also recommend checking out his blog on the New York Times. His latest entry, Masters of the Universe, uses voodoo dolls to crack jokes about his OCD. Why hasn’t anyone thought of collecting this stuff in a book yet?
Over on his blog, Bob Fingerman says that he recently sold his second novel, a zombie thriller titled Pariah, to Tor:
The interesting thing is that part of my deal with Tor is to provide the book with some original interior art (I might do the cover, too, but that is pending). My approach is not to do illustrations of any scenes or characters in the book. I prefer to let the readers picture that for themselves. Instead, one of the characters is an artist and he does studies of the undead to pass the time (no more TV or Internet, so one must pass the time doing something). The conceit of the accompanying art will be that these are his drawings. I don’t want any of the art to be typical EC-tinged stuff. The approach is to do sensitive, objective drawings. The zombies didn’t ask to be this way. They’re not evil.
Sounds like an intriguing approach. Above is an example of what he’s talking about. And Fingerman says he might post some rejected sketches from the project soon.
Terrible Yellow Eyes is a new art blog that asks a variety of talented illustrators and cartoonists to pay homage to the Maurice Sendak classic, Where the Wild Things Are. That’s Ben Hatke’s contribution above, one of several great pieces found at the site.
“Dirty” Danny Hellman has started a new art blog that you’ll definitely want to bookmark, albeit in the comfort of your own home, since it’s devoted to art that graced the cover of Al Goldstein’s prono mag, Screw. A number of noteworthy cartoonists did covers for the magazine at one time or another, including Peter Bagge, Vaughn Bode, Robert Crumb and Wally Wood.
The gothic horror cartoonist known for such delightfully creepy books as Delphine and Evil Eye has a new art blog up now, which features, among other things, news on his upcoming book from First Second, Cat Burglar Black.
Surprisingly enough, The Kirby Project is not a blog devoted solely to all things Jack Kirby, but rather an art blog of work by other cartoonists and illustrators inspired by the King. A quick glance reveals some stunning work by folks like Michael Cho, Darryl Cunningham and JR Williams, who did the Hulk pop art piece above. Contributions are sought and encouraged, so feel free to send in your own OMAC homage.
A plethora of indie cartoonists, including Dash Shaw, Chris Ware, Paul Hornschemeier, Laura Weinstein, CF and Gabrielle Bell, are featured in the latest issue of Bookforum magazine, where their illustrations and comics are juxtoposed with a variety of excerpts from novels, essays and short stories. Go check it out, it’s pretty nifty.
The Ephemerist has been doing a regular feature for a few weeks now titled “Matt Madden Mondays,” where they post some of the Odds Off author’s illustrations and early work. The latest selection is a collection of fold-em yourself minicomics jams he did with Walt Holcombe and Tom King back in the day. They’re rather NSFW though, which is why I’m not posting any of the art here.