Archive for July, 2008
This year, I was asked to produce the promotional graphics for the Cinema St Louis International Film Festival. The above image is for this summer’s showcase of local filmmakers. The idea of a paratrooper decending on the city came from a legend I’ve heard about a skydiver who attempted landing on the St Louis arch. Apparently, he made the landing successfully, but after landing, he slipped off the top and fell to his death. Whether the story is true or not, I don’t know. But that’s where the concept began. Then, Derek Bryant, a good friend of mine, subversive advertising genius in the line of Howard Gossage, and former colleague with whom I often worked while I was an art director for an advertising agency came up with the idea of a multitude of paratroopers descending on the city, like the 101 Airborne Division during World War II. Another influence was the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. Although the client says they can’t see the connection, believe me, it’s there, if only in spirit. At any rate, while I was working on the image, the song Yellow Submarine was repeating itself in my head in the most disturbing way.
The fruition of Derek’s concept, and the true barrage of filmmaker paratroopers, will be depicted in this fall’s final promotional poster. The image for the showcase is meant to be a prelude.
Cover for HOTWIRE #2, Glenn Head’s anthology of alternative comics, published by Fantagraphics Books. This image was meant to reflect and pay humble tribute to the great, great cover art of old pre-comics code authority comics like EC’s CRIME & SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES – those gritty and graphic illustrations pumped out by Al Feldstein, Johnny Craig, Jack Kamen, and Wally Wood. The concept here quite literally ties in with the book’s title, obviously – a conceptual approach that, under almost any other circumstances would make me squirm, but because of the unique circumstances of this project, seemed to work well with the gritty attitude and feel that Glenn was looking for.
(For a look at an approximation of what Jackie might’ve witnessed, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAV3bOJaQuY)
Episode #3 opens with Jackie getting a job washing dishes at Ruby Ray’s Parisian Cabaret. This is also the chapter setting up the atmosphere of the cabaret, and environment in which Jackie finds himself. The characters inhabiting the cabaret, especially the entertainers, are a mix between people who actually existed (Desi Arnaz), characters based on people who actually existed (the saxophone player who makes people drunk is based on a mix between Lester Young and the great Johnny Hodges, who played for Duke Ellington), and fictitious characters.
(“A Night at Ruby Ray’s” opening splash page, originally drawn around 1997)
(HERE IS WHERE THE PAMPHLET FORM COMIC APPROACH TO BELLIGERENT PIANO ENDS & THE WEEKLY STRIP BEGINS!!! Go to BELLIGERENT PIANO WEEKLY STRIP #1.)
(This is an old Belligerent Piano splash page, drawn around 1998. I thought I’d include it, even though “issue #4” was never completed. It will, however, be completed in the weekly strip.)