I’ve been a fan of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion since I first heard the late radio DJ and tastemaker John Peel play “Cowboy” from the LP Orange. It sounded amazing, like Exile On Main St.-era Stones being deconstructed by a bunch of punks raised on Elvis and Captain Beefheart. Due to the miraculous powers of the Internet, I can even tell you that this was on Friday, Nov. 18, 1994. I remember turning the radio up, and grabbing a pen and paper to make a note of who this was, and probably had to wait while Peel played several other tunes before he put a name to it. This was a regular occurrence, I don’t think I ever made it through a Peel show without the same thing happening once or twice a night, right up until the man’s death in 2004. Every now and then I might still find a notebook with a list of band names or song titles somewhere in it.
The JSBX is currently on tour, and approached Alex Fugazi’s Texas design powerhouse Nakatomi Inc to produce a gig poster for its July 18 concert in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Fugazi engaged Deadline Magazine/Bulletproof Coffin artist Shaky Kane, who produced this glorious work of pop art.
I’ve seen this linked in the last couple of days at David Hine’s blog and Shaky Kane’s Facebook page: The Endless Coffin, wherein the blogger Inigo Saenz de Viguera takes the contents of Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #4 (the experiment in Burroughsian cut-up techniques that gained a certain notoriety in fanboy circles after this publicity stunt), and turns it into a genuinely disturbing psychedelic experience.
You may have already heard about Orbital Comics’ Image Duplicator art show in London (probably via this piece at The Beat): This story is right in my wheelhouse, but I was resisting writing about it until there was a large enough stockpile of art from it to present here. The show is a reaction both to the recent Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the city’s already-iconic Tate Modern gallery, and to the BBC’s coverage of the event (which I wrote about at the time elsewhere).
Dave Gibbons is a long-standing critic of Lichtenstein (you can find footage online of him complaining about what he calls Lichtenstein’s “dishonesty” from as far back as 1993). Gibbons appeared on the BBC’s documentary to put the case for the accusations of plagiarism that may always dog Lichtenstein’s reputation. The segment featuring Gibbons debating with presenter Alastair Sooke was filmed in front of the famous “Whaam!” canvas. Sooke was all too dismissive of Irv Novick, somewhat deriding his work in order to flatter Lichtenstein. It seems odd Sooke chose to criticize Novick’s compositional decisions and praise Lichtenstein’s, when every element of Roy’s piece was lifted from Irv’s. Anyway, these new perceived slights seem to have been enough to stir Rian Hughes, Jason Atomic, and the Orbital Gallery regulars into action.
Creators Alex Grecian, Jeremy Haun, B. Clay Moore and Seth Peck have launched a Kickstarter campaign forBad Karma, a 200-page anthology featuring comic-book stories, prose and illustrations by those four and their collaborators.
The assembled talent is impressive indeed, working on five main stories: “Middleton” by Grecian and Phil Hester; “Chaos Agent” by Haun and Mike Tisserand; “Old Dog” by Moore and Christopher Mitten; “Hellbent” by Peck and Tigh Walker; and “The Ninth Life of Solomon Gunn” written by Grecian, Haun, Moore and Peck, and illustrated by Haun. These strips, all stylistically different and set in various time periods, all threaten to coalesce into a larger narrative: “Each of these concepts is separate from one another, designed to stand on their own, but there are subtle threads that run through each. One of these threads is the presence of the Kraken Corporation, a mysterious organization whose activities play a part (whether large or small) in each story.”
Orbital Comics in London opens its second annual Halloween exhibition “Magick Eye 2″ today at its gallery space on Great Newport Street. It features work from a host of U.K. comic talent, including Rufus Dayglo, Shaky Kane, Steve Cook, Jason Atomic, Garry Leach, Rian Hughes, Will Simpson, Garry Erskine, Steve Pugh and Bill Ward.
The above flyer art is by Garry Leach, the lesser-spotted artist of Alan Moore’s Marvelman and Warpsmith strips. Few comic artists have published so little but had so much impact upon their medium. Some artists have posted their contributions variously on their blogs or Facebook pages, and there’s a gallery of featured work at Jason Atomic’s Stripped blog. More below, some of which is a little on the NSFW side.
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.
If the only comic artists print house Nakatomi Inc. works with are Shaky Kane and Paul Pope, well then, in my book they’re two for two. The company has announced a new print and T-shirt combo by Kane, King of the Wild Frontier and Dial Z For Zombie. The last tee Nakatomi and Kane did together proved popular in certain circles — a flurry of U.K. comics folks tweeted/Facebooked photos of themselves wearing it. Continue Reading »
David Lloyd and U.K. comics mainstay Bambos Georgiou are launching a digital anthology comic called Aces Weekly, and have released a large and impressive list of future contributors to the U.K. comics blog Down The Tubes. The press release continues:
If you’re a fan of David Hine and Shaky Kane’s Bulletproof Coffin and you’ve been wondering how you can prove it to people by putting something on your torso, skip that back tattoo and go for one of these “Hateful Dead” shirts from Nakatomi Inc. It’s also available as an art print. All of them are limited edition, though, so if you want one, act quickly. You can find more details in this blog post.
(Actually, scratch that–this would make a pretty cool tattoo as well).