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Another candidate for the small list of comics drawn in the groovy style (or a diluted version of the same), the first comic-book adaptation of Yellow Submarine was a single 64-page issue published by Gold Key in February 1969. Low-quality copies have been circulating for years on fan sites but there’s now a copy available here with the pages scanned at a higher resolution. Whatever the quality, the cheap paper doesn’t help the artwork, but for a cash-in this isn’t a bad adaptation. The background details don’t always keep up with Heinz Edelmann’s invention but artist José Delbo maintains the character style of the animation throughout, while the script by Paul S. Newman pads out the missing song sequences with additional japes and bad puns. I’ve seen claims that the story is based on an early draft of the film script but can’t say whether this is true or not. There are a few notable deviations from the film, however, such as additional seas—The Sea of Consumer Products, The Sea of Cinema—and an extra character, Rita the Meter Maid, who looks nothing like a British traffic warden of the 1960s.

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The last time I mentioned this comic I also referred to a more recent adaptation by Bill Morrison which had been commissioned, partly drawn then inexplicably cancelled. Morrison’s pages were superior to the Gold Key adaptation in their design and their fidelity to the animation style of the film so it’s good to see that the various licence-holders have allowed him to complete his work. The book was published by Titan for Yellow Submarine‘s 50th anniversary in 2018.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
The groovy look
The South Bank Show: The Making of Sgt Pepper
The Sea of Monsters
Tomorrow Never Knows
Yellow Submarine comic books
A splendid time is guaranteed for all
Heinz Edelmann
Please Mr. Postman
All you need is…

The groovy look

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Peter Max, 1968.

Artists complain justifiably about the constraining effect of labels but sometimes you really do need a label in order to identify a particular idiom. The artwork here is what most people would regard as psychedelic even though the subject matter isn’t always psychedelic at all. I doubt that Citroën intended their new Dyane car to be associated with LSD when they asked Michel Quarez to create a comic book to promote the vehicle, while Quarez’s Mod Love comic is just as hallucinogenically chaste. I tend to think of this style as “groovy”, an unsatisfying term with other associations but “post-psychedelic”, while accurate, feels too cumbersome for such playful graphics. The groovy look is where the purely psychedelic style enters the mundane world, and where the intended audience may be youthful but isn’t always a crowd of experienced lysergic voyagers; a watering down of psych delirium mixed with a dash of Pop Art, all bold shapes, heavy outlines and very bright colours, comic art (or actual comics) with the edges and detail smoothed away and the gain pushed to the maximum. I keep wishing someone would put together a collection of this stuff. There’s a lot more to be found.

Update 1: I knew I’d forgotten somebody. I replaced the book cover by Gray Morrow—an artist who was never really groovy in the manner of these other works—with a contraception poster by Nicole Claveloux, who was very much in the Groove Zone in the 1970s.

Update 2: Added designs by Miguel Calatayud, Mike Hinge, György Kemény, and Tito Topin. Thanks to Vadim for the tips!

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Guy Peellaert, 1967.

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Guy Peellaert, 1968.

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Guy Peellaert, 1968.

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The Adventures of Jodelle by Pierre Barbier and Guy Peellaert, 1966.

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The psychedelic art of Nicole Claveloux

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The psychedelic quotient is emphasised here since Nicole Claveloux has had a long career in France as an illustrator and comic artist only part of which embraces a psychedelic style. This work is very much in the post-Yellow Submarine Heinz Edelmann style, of course, but Claveloux wasn’t the only artist to pastiche Edelmann, and the massive impact of The Beatles ensured that watered-down traces of Edelmann graphics could still be found in the mid-70s. The images here are from this post which features more Claveloux art in this style, together with some drawings from her own take on Alice in Wonderland, the style there being closer to Peter Blake. The picture below is a page from a rather stunning children’s book, Alala, Les Télémorphoses (1970) by Guy Montréal, more of which may be seen at Animalarium.

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Nicole Claveloux has an official website here (in French), and a related site here devoted to her wide-ranging and witty erotic art.

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Did You Get Your Pill Today? (1970).

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Romeo and Juliet (1971).

Update: Added two posters.

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The illustrators archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Elaine Hanelock’s Hollywood stars
The art of Marijke Koger
David Chestnutt’s psychedelic fairy tales
Yellow Submarine comic books
Heinz Edelmann

Elaine Hanelock’s Hollywood stars

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The essay I wrote about psychedelic art for Communication Arts earlier this year had a word limit so there was little mention of the way the psychedelic style was swiftly co-opted by advertising and commercial art as a means of reaching a youthful audience. This is a really a subject in itself, the way in which an aesthetic that was countercultural in 1965 was becoming mainstream by 1968, and was still rippling through the world of graphic design in the early 1970s.

Elaine Hanelock’s posters of Hollywood stars of the 1920s and 30s were published by Royal Screen Craft Inc, Los Angeles, in 1968, and combine two trends: psychedelic art and the nostalgia for old Hollywood that emerged in the mid-60s. There are ten posters in the set: The Marx Brothers, Clara Bow (the “It Girl”), Mae West & WC Fields, Laurel & Hardy, John Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin, Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Will Rogers, and Wallace Beery & Marie Dressler. Nobody seems to know anything about Elaine Hanelock’s career elsewhere but her posters continue to find an audience among collectors.

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The Sea of Monsters

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The German definite article has unfortunate implications when applied to a group of Brits, but if we overlook this detail the poster makes an interesting contrast with its US counterpart. Where the American design depicts all the film’s main characters, Heinz Edelmann’s painting concentrates almost solely on the creatures from the Sea of Monsters with no Blue Meanies in sight. As is often the case with film posters, both designs give a slightly different impression whilst being accurate in their selective representations. Yellow Submarine was reissued on DVD and Blu-ray last year. It looks and sounds marvellous.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Tomorrow Never Knows
Yellow Submarine comic books
A splendid time is guaranteed for all
Heinz Edelmann
Please Mr. Postman
All you need is…