Du Tac au Tac: Druillet, Hogarth and Buscema

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I thought I was done with Druillet for this week but no, there’s more. I hadn’t come across Du Tac au Tac before, a French TV show from the early 70s in which three (sometimes four) different comic artists are given a total of 15 minutes to improvise a drawing on a single board. The list of contributors is a who’s who of comic talent from France, Belgium, America and elsewhere. French TV site Ina.fr (which is pay-to-view) has 130 episodes in their archive, many of which have found their way onto YouTube. Druillet was a regular contributor, as was Moebius.

I’ve singled out this episode from 1972 for the astonishing conjunction of Druillet with Burne Hogarth, two artists with a considerable influence on my own comics work. Without the example of Heavy Metal magazine in general, and Druillet in particular, I might not have bothered trying to adapt Lovecraft’s stories into comics in the 1980s; at one point I was prepared to put together a book of stories-plus-illustrations along the lines of Berni Wrightson’s Frankenstein. Burne Hogarth, meanwhile, casts a Tarzan-shaped shadow over the darker shadows of the Reverbstorm series, his work being quoted throughout, especially in the appropriation of the bizarre and sinister Ononoes from the Tarzan Sunday strips. The third artist present, John Buscema, is notable if only for representing the comics creation that I like the least: the over-muscled, flat-groined, stupidly-costumed, always-fighting, corporate superhero. As it is, Buscema doesn’t fare too well in this exchange, sketching a half-hearted Silver Surfer while Hogarth (who was left-handed; don’t think I knew that) draws a profile of Tarzan in pastels, and Druillet works furiously with markers to create a typical melange of bat-winged demon, alien glyph and screaming head. I’ve not watched any of the other episodes yet but for those interested there are two channels of the things here and here.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Sorcerer: Druillet and Friedkin
Ô Sidarta: a film about Philippe Druillet
Lovecraft: Démons et Merveilles
Heavy Metal, October 1979: the Lovecraft special
Philippe Druillet album covers
Druillet’s vampires
Salammbô illustrated
Druillet meets Hodgson

Weekend links 79

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Neville Brody creates a cover design for an issue of the V&A magazine tied to the museum’s current exhibition, Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970–1990. Brody’s comment amused me for the way he smartly explained the thinking behind the design whilst also distancing himself from its theme:

For me, Post Modernism felt like a kind of facade built to cover over the cracks of a divided world, a surface of plucked effects and stylistic devices emptied of meaning, an extrusion of hollow traces and flat outlines forcing 2D into apparent depth. I was never a Post Modernist, rather a Modernist exploring humanist lines of enquiry in the collapsing world behind a wall of decoration.

• It’s a common thing today to give images from the past a queer reappraisal, finding homoerotic qualities in pictures which, when they were made, would have seemed free of any sexual subtext. This post finds such a subtext in recruitment posters for US armed forces although none of the examples are as overt as this wartime magazine ad. Over at Front Free Endpaper Callum notes that many vintage photos which people regard today as evidence of gay relationships are unlikely to be quite that. The photo he posts, however, really does appear to show a pair of men who were more than just good friends.

• A play by Ororo Productions of HP Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror will be staged at the London Horror Festival from October 25th. Related: Horror Made Delightful: The Strange Stories of Sheridan Le Fanu, MR James, and Robert Aickman. “Aickman never spells out his meaning,” says Greer Mansfield, “His stories end abruptly and inconclusively, and in fact the ‘meaning’ is less important than the utter mysteriousness of what happens.” Which is just what some of us enjoy.

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Black Beauty, a decorated horse skull by Julia deVille.

• “Jackpot is a comedic short film about a 14-year-old gay boy in 1994 who sets off on a quest to find a stash of gay porn and get it home before anyone finds out.” Director Adam Baran is requesting completion funds at Kickstarter.

Gendai Shogyo Bijutsu Zenshu (The Complete Commercial Artist), published in Tokyo from 1927 to 1930.

Ishac Bertran tries some analogue sampling by chopping up vinyl discs with a laser cutter.

Steve Jobs does LSD and The Residents pay tribute to Steve Jobs.

• A rare post at Ballardian: Outpost 13: The Atrocity Exhibition.

• It’s all fun and games until Charles Manson turns up…again.

The Edgar Allan Poe Portfolio (1976) by Berni Wrightson.

• RIP David Bedford and Bert Jansch.

John Waters: Roles of a Lifetime.

Octopi Wall Street!

Homocomix.

Poison (1969) by Bert Jansch | Pentangle at the BBC (1970): Train Song | House Carpenter | Hunting Song | Light Flight

Jeffrey Catherine Jones, 1944–2011

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Yesterday’s Lily (1980), a collection of painting and illustration work published by Dragon’s Dream.

Artist Jeffrey Jones, whose death was announced this week, transitioned to Jeffrey Catherine Jones in the late 1990s so we’ll honour that here and won’t insist on referring to her as “he” as I’ve been seeing on some other websites. Jones’ work was significant for me mainly as a result of her participation in The Studio collective from 1975 to 1979, an affiliation of four artists—Jones, Barry Windsor-Smith, Mike Kaluta and Berni Wrightson—who shared a loft studio in New York City. The fruits of that relationship were recorded in one of my favourite art books, The Studio, in 1979. Of the four it was Barry Smith’s Pre-Raphaelite-inspired work which made the greatest impression at the time (especially Pandora), followed by Berni Wrightson’s Frankenstein illustrations. But Jones was the best painter in the group, with a style that blended influences from (among others) JM Whistler, Gustav Klimt and Frank Frazetta. There are galleries of paintings and drawings at the official website. Still to come is Better Things: Life & Choices of Jeffrey Jones, a documentary film by Maria Cabardo. Clips and trailers can be seen here.

A selection of paintings at Golden Age Comic Book Stories
The Studio Pt.1: Jeff Jones

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Roger Dean: artist and designer
Berni Wrightson’s Frankenstein

Weekend links 30

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Did someone say “woody”? Plenty more toy antics at TheOneCam.

• And yet more Haeckelisms: Praying in Haeckel’s Garden, recent works by artist Mary O’Malley.

Seasons of the Peacock, the perennial showoff as depicted by a handful of Art Nouveau artists. A couple of examples there I hadn’t seen before.

• Dorian Cope presents On This Deity, “Commemorating culture heroes and excavating world events.”

• At long last, Fantagraphics will be publishing Ah Pook is Here, the comic strip collaboration between William Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill. Something to look forward to for next year. Related: Malcolm McNeill’s website.

David Lynch Dark Splendor: “Der große Filmemacher David Lynch als Fotograf, Maler, Zeichner und Grafiker.”

More on the forthcoming album from Brian Eno, Leo Abrahams and Jon Hopkins. With this degree of hype the end result is going to be a disappointment.

Book design by Richard Hollis, including John Berger’s essential Ways of Seeing.

A fistful of Vignellis: the work of Lella and Massimo Vignelli celebrated.

• Berni Wrightson’s Frankenstein at Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

Jimi Hendrix, Philip José Farmer reader.

Imagerie du Chemin de Fer.

El UFO Cayó (2005) by Ry Cooder.

Horror! 333 Films to Scare You to Death

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Arriving in the post this week was this 350-page guide to horror cinema, a Carlton Books reprint of the 2006 Andre Deutsch volume to which I contributed some 30-plus reviews and essays on Dracula, Lovecraft and occult cinema. This new printing is slightly expanded although the production is a lot less lavish than the earlier book which was a hardback with colour photos throughout. I suppose this one goes by the TV chair whereas the previous edition deserved a place on the bookshelf. I didn’t have a lot of time earlier this year to help with the updating but I did manage to write reviews of The Mist and Cloverfield, two recent horror outings I enjoyed a great deal. Despite the proliferation of online reviews there’s still a place for handy guides such as this, and I’d say that even if I wasn’t a contributor. Kim Newman is a contributing editor at Sight & Sound magazine, and both he and James Marriott have produced their own excellent guides to horror cinema. When sites like IMDB are weighed down with an opinionated rabble, an intelligent and informed counterweight is essential.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Berni Wrightson in The Mist
Stamps of horror
Horror comics
Hail, horrors! hail, infernal world!