Sunday, October 28, 2012

Yes, Denmark is a small country...and if you wanted to make a list of famous Danes, and I mean a list of Danes famous outside of Denmark itself, it would be a very short list and most likely with Søren Kierkegaard the philosopher and Niels Bohr the Nobel prize winning physicist at the top of it, but of course also including our Cannes award winning meister film director: Lars Von Trier.

So what's that got to do with comics?...not much except that back in 1999 von Triers production company Zentropa published a wacky and quite funny comic book featuring "interpretations" of all of von Triers films made up until that time. It was called: The Egghead Trap

The creator of this forty page attack on all seriousness found in von Triers films was Jakob S. Boeskov who later made a name for himself in the international art world when he submitted the fantasy ID Sniper rifle design to an international arms fair and was approached by contractors who wanted to produce it. The Egghead Trap was created when Boeskov was an emerging new comic book talent (something he seems to have abandoned since) and is drawn in a Lo-Fi style seemingly influenced by classic sixties underground comics, John Holmstrom, MAD magazine and nineties comic book stars like Daniel Clowes and Peter Bagge.

As mentioned nothing is spared to make fun of both von Trier's films and himself, especially his psycho-sexual hangups and alleged fondness for the Third Reich... and one must admire that von Trier and Zentropa agreed to be the publishers of The Egghead Trap, they could just as well have sued Boeskov!

Definitely one of the more obscure things to emerge from the LVT/ Zentropa empire and I would probably never have heard about it had I not found it in a central Copenhagen second hand bookstore.

Today Boeskov shows at prestigious art world galleries and resides in New York but after reading The Egghead Trap you can't help feeling a bit sorry that he didn't continue his work as a comic book artist.

To be continued...

Monday, October 22, 2012

In my early teens I started biking all the way from the outer suburb where I grew up to downtown Copenhagen. As always my destination was the wonderful world of This image is the cover of their catalogue from 1980. A few of the folks who worked there by then is still behind the counter. I still drop by at least once a week.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Being of modest means and firmly rooted in the belief that all new things suck until they become old things...I often pass over the seductive new arrivals displayed in the windows of  Copenhagen's leading comic book stores,  to instead browse the dusty brown cardboard boxes filled with dog-eared and decaying comic books at the leading second hand comic book stores. Weird and disgusting as this may be, it  has its  picking up the pictured copy of underground comic Slow Death #4 a few summers ago, which contained not just one, but two early Sci-Fi stories by Richard Corben, plus the cover, signed with his pseudonym: GORE.

Published in 1972 by Last Gasp, Slow Death is typical of what you might call the "second wave" of underground comic books (after the pioneering days of the late sixties) containing mainly sloppily drawn story lines centered around dope smoking and/ or sex, plus one or two more stories of superior quality (usually dealing with the same subjects...)

In this number Richard Corben clearly takes the lead with "The Awakening" and "Mangle, Robot Mangler" drawn in Corben's early styles which masterfully combines his legendary airbrush technique (in black and white) with a brush and pen inking technique uniquely his own. What I cherish about Corben/ GORE as a Sci-Fi artist is that he often introduces visual ideas and story-line concepts that are both mind blowing and truly original, a talent he shares with other Sci-Fi masters like Wally Wood and Moebius.

In The Awakening we meet Clyde William Boris, deep frozen in the year 1975 due to terminal cancer, and now brought back to life in the year 2163... only to find himself confronted by girls with sexy curvaceous bodies, but adorned with the faces of middle-aged men! (of the chain smoking and scotch-drinking type...) A few other surprises are also in store for the unfortunate Clyde in this story of a mere four pages.

The second story, Mangle, Robot Mangler (a six-pager) is obviously a take on Russ Manning's Magnus, Robot Fighter, but in typical counter-culture style  the tables are turned on the robot-bashing protagonist and this time around we are handed a sizeable helping of some typical Richard Corben action and ultra-violence, as the overly self-confident Mangle battles a bio-robot but ends up somewhat broken, and much in need of a helping hand...

I suppose that some day "The complete works of Richard Corben" will hit the stores in deluxe hardcover edition with a full color giclee print signed by the master. In the meantime, I'll have my fun searching the netherworld of comic shops and digging out these gems  - they're well worth it.

To be continued!

Jim Steranko - one of the few comicbook artist to look like his own art: Slick smooth and stylish. Whatever happened to this brilliant artist after he retired from comics in 1969? Did he become Paul Gulacy's teacher? We will know if we look very carefully but the internet is very brief when it comes to this obvious connection.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Well,  a big thanks to Hans for taking this initiative!

As Hans mentioned we are both comic book fans, with Hans handling the decadent capitalist superheroes (expertly drawn comics about flying men in coloured underwear), and me taking care of the artistic revolutionary comics (sloppily drawn comics about sex, drugs and women with very large breasts, or behinds)

Since I grew up in the seventies (just as Hans did), and was young in the eighties and nineties, most of my exposure to the media of comics happened then and I consider this to be very fortunate since I arrived at the time of Metal Hurlant/ Heavy Metal magazine and their early generation of artists. A time when comics were definitely no longer for kids, a time when anything could (and did)  happen on a piece of white board with panels drawn on it. A very exciting time.

Of course, I didn't pick up the original Metal Hurlant, published in France in 1974 but the Danish language version called Total Metal which reached the newsstands and bookstores in the mid-eighties. This I read with feverish pleasure, discovering the work of Moebius, Serge Clerc, Daniel Torres and many others. Later on, I dived into the American version Heavy Metal where I encountered the genius of Richard Corben and other American visionaries, like Paul Kirchner and his wonderful The Bus, still one of my all-time favourites.

In the nineties came Daniel Clowes and "Los Bros" Hernandez, but since I stopped developing as a person around the year 2000 and think all new comics published after that date are mainly shite, I've begun to dig into the fascinating world of Golden Age comic books, now available as scans at websites operated by fans.

Well, that's all for now - to be continued!..

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Game of Thrones is turned into a graphic novel by the same publisher which also publishes the famous book series. Bantam is a traditional publisher which doesn't have much experience with comic books. The good news is that it's a lengthy release. The first 180 pages of comic book cover only the first half of the first book. Plenty of drawn pages lie ahead and we can be pretty sure, not too many details will be left out. A pity these ambitions don't show through all aspects of this first installment...

Clearly it has been Bantam's goal to capture younger readers. From that perspective, Tommy Patterson is not a bad choice as the artist chosen for the job. TPs style is cartoonish and childish. All characters are rendered younger and more alike compared to the TV series. The younger characters is given more space, suddenly Sansa start seeming like an interesting character.

What also makes mature readers keep their distance is the poor depicting of human emotions. From the artwork it can be hard to tell if a character is truely annoyed or angry. As you read through the book you start fantasising what this could have been with an artist that suits the adult nature of the original story. Brian Bolland perhaps?

It’s now more than 6 months ago that Moebius passed away. Due to mediocre rules for naming children here in DK, my wife and I were not allowed to name our new-born son Moebius. At the opening of this blog it's time to honour the master once more!

One of the things I really admire about Moebius’ works is that it got better and better over the years. The insane escapades of the Incal lies many years back and some will argue, that he was less creative towards the end of his life. That might be so but the quality of his craftsmanship never ceased to improve. The final Blueberry story, Apache for instance, shows superior inking technique. The way he gives shape to the drawn objects are nothing less than outstanding. The inking goes perfectly well with the colouring, rendering and explaining the depth of each scene in an outstanding manner. And since Giraud was famous long before Photoshop was around, he also had a serene relationship with his computer-colouring.

It also seems Moebius and Giraud was united before his death. The two artists become one again. I think that could have been Giraud’s secret ambition when he drew his above mentioned Blueberry album. The inking of this story is sharper and clearer than any other Blueberry story. And the colours are slightly brighter than normal. Intentionally Giraud pushed the image of the western backdrop, to utilize the aesthetics of a Moebius SF environment.

He was a traveller all his life, he never settled for one particular style. Every single time a new story was published, the style was slightly different from the last. A true master he was.  

Plopish in the air!

Plopish is a new blog covering every imaginable aspect about comicbook nerddom. So who are we? Lennard is an artist with a lifelong passion for comicbooks. Exactly the same can be said about me, Hans, except I’m an architect instead of an artist. Both of us dreamed about becoming a comicbook artist when we were kids. Our biggest differences lie in in the kind of comics we love; Lennard is into gritty underground indie stuff and I am a fan of Marvel slickness: Both of us are fans of many European titles. It’s safe to say, that the two of us in combination cover an extremely wide range of aspects about comics.