Sunday, 18 August 2013

My Art: Pasta Phelps Sauce

Here's one I did earlier in the year; A drawing for the upcoming Playerist Zine, where I wrote a page of waffle about those who really rely on getting attention from others in the media - namely, hate groups like the Westboro Baptist church, and advertising. This is the combination of the two: Pastor (or Pasta in this case) Phelps Sauce.

As you can see by the pic, Fred 'Gramps' Phelps is no Paul Newman that's for sure.

Review: Spunk Comics 1 And 2 by Dexter Cockburn

For those of you who have been reading previous reviews (Romp, Monty Comix #4, Hot Little Cut, JB's Comic Stories), you'll be aware that Dexter Cockburn, publisher of Canada's The Comix Company, has been putting out really interesting Underground/ Adult sex Comix for a while now, from some of the best people in this field (Aaron Lange, Robin Bougie, Carrie Q Contrary, Kayla Escobedo, JB etc).

You may or may not know that Dexter himself has a long list of his own comix out there also, and one of his most notable is Spunk Comics.

Dexter's comics are as much contemporary continuations of the 'Tijuana Bibles' sex comics of old as they are of '70s Underground Comix.

Ranging from light satire, to parody, to the gross out, but with cartoon graphic porn being the main staple, Dexter's drawings show funny, unashamed glee as his characters joke, fuck and suck their way through the pages.

The stories are riddled with puns and one-liners, which mostly end in porn/ stag film scenarios, where guy takes girl, or girl fellates guy in various positions until he 'pops his cookies', shooting his load (often funny in itself), often with an appropriate pay-off gag.

My favourite story was Pubert Blunderbuss, a suburban, slightly philosophical peeping tom, who walks around his middle class neigbourhood, seeing all kinds of depravity in the seemingly 'respectable' middle class surroundings, which includes the local catholic church (And it was a refreshing change to see that the local priest was fucking a grown woman instead of an alter boy!)

I also liked the more gross out, subversive/ deviant comix, such as the one-page strips; Lord Stucklewadd, and the 'Subversion Begins In The Bedroom' parody of uptight, All- American foam-mouthed conservatism and their "Clean up America" campaigns. The latter features Dexter's moral crusader and xenophobe 'Yankee Dildo'; who is outraged at the spectacle of a man being fisted by his girlfriend in an American bedroom! "Keep It Pure And All American: Keep It Missionary" cries the Dildo.

Dexter's drawing style is fun and playful bold line which reminds me in style of newspaper comic strips and also of early '90s UK adult humour comics such as Viz, Zit and Smut. There's also an infectious 'naughty school boy' quality to a lot of his strips, that recall back to the days of drawing rude cartoons in the back of your maths books, or the beginning of having fantasies about various real-life and fictional characters. His fantasy women, such as his muse 'Pippa Creme' have exaggerated but nice and fleshy proportions, most notably with their massive mammaries.

On a more critical note- after reading these comics, and several others of Dexter's titles which he sent me, I liked the various ideas of using different characters and scenarios (in his comics he uses everything from horror, sci-fi, adventure to comics parody and much more besides), but there was, with quite a few of the comics, a sameness and repetitiveness (with a few notable exceptions), to the execution of them. In most of the comics the actual sex scenes and sexual positions themselves are pretty much the same, which is your bog-standard male-orientated hardcore porn type stuff - girl fellates guy, guy gives her a good pounding, then cums all over her, which can get a bit dull after a while, even if the costumes are different. Also, while the female characters are all happy and having fun, they're almost always very passive, they don't have much to say at all and don't have much in the way of personality,  unlike the wise-cracking fellas. I personally like a little more variation in adult comics, and a bit more imagination and expression in the sex scenes, otherwise it gets a bit mechanical for me. I also like more personality in the female characters, but that's me.

Quibbles aside, Dexter's comics have a charm, visual distinctness and audacity to them all of their own;  in a world where his characters have no hang-ups, celebrate their horny desires and literally jump on top of each other at the drop of a hat, they all have good, harmless, filthy fun. He makes the comics he like to make, so more power to him. Out of those titles I've read of Dexter's so far; Spunk Comics in particular for me, had a variety of ideas, so I'd say they are a good place to start if you're thinking of checking out Dexter's comix for the first time.  You can find his comics here, along with many other underground greats:

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Review: Kripple Killer Konspiracy by Ian Pyper

This 40 page book by Ian Pyper is his own unique expression of artistic anger towards the UK government's current ruthless policies towards the disabled,  the mentally ill and the sick and vulnerable.

The book, which utilises beautifully rendered single page drawings with text (which could be described as somewhere between Underground/ alternative comix and Outsider art), comments on the dehumanising nightmare of conservative ideology which is currently molding British society into an increasinly uncaring, profit-driven system. Those clearly unfit for work (kidney dialysis patients, people with severe heart conditions, amputees, those with serious disabilities or the mental age of children, who need almost constant care etc) have been targetted and passed fit by corporate government contractors ATOS, who were awarded the contracts on the understanding that they would reach monthly targets designated by Ian Duncan Smith. People are being forced into the 'choice' of either having their money stopped (or 'sanctioned') indefinately, or of working themselves to death, or of ending up on the streets, or of killing themselves. Over 10,600 of those who were deemed fit for work have died since the governments welfare reforms started (it has been reported by The Independent and Guardian). Many of which were suicides.

The attempted justification of this Draconian policy via contempt-ridden propaganda, unfair assessments and widescale denial, is expressed through Pyper in the book also. As are the intrusive, anxiety enducing, inquisition style nature of the assessments themselves - where peoples' words are often twisted, distorted or ignored so that they don't score enough points to continue receiving benefit, despite their clear need for a safety net.

Ian Pyper's art expresses this victimisation and cruelty very well, which boils down the naked motivations of Ian Duncan Smith and ATOS; and those actual everyday practices and injustices that eye-witness ATOS employees turned whistleblowers-with-a-conscience have been exposing recently.

But that isn't all the book comments on.

The large-scale apathy of the general public, the 'it's not my problem', approach of many in society is also touched upon.

A worrying culture of those who feel no obligation to defend those who are being targetted is emerging, those who would rather bury their heads in the sand, think only of themselves, or blame the victims for their own fate, rather than stand up for their fellow beings. And we all know where that has led to throughout history.

As many artists indulge their own ego-trips and fantasies, chase the easiest route to financial gain, or attempt to escape the harsh realities of contemporary society completely, Pyper feels a responsibility to speak up and speak out, and to my mind, for this he is to be applauded. I felt like he could have gone into more detail about what is going on with these policies in places, but I am told he already is planning a second volume, and this is a great collection of art all in all. You can purchase Kripple Killer Konspiracy here:
I leave you with Pyper's own foreword, which is a very heartfelt and powerful piece of expressive writing in itself:

Review: Eyeball Comix #3

The third 60 page issue of Eyeball Comix is by far the best in terms of quality strips throughout.

First off is that striking cover by Kyle Platts which shows some surreal cyclops take on a battle between western colonialists and indigenous tribal peoples. There's also the great eye-popping full colour psychedelic inside and back covers by Gunsho (who did the amazing front cover for issue #2)
Betty Black starts things off with a great Eyeball Queen pin-up, who as can be seen in the pic, has been given a lovely bouquet of meat and offal.

Russell Taysom has a funny rhyming filler strip in 'Sexy Vamp' which is reminiscent of Johnny Ryan in it's tone.

Viktor Dunkel provides a genuinely disturbing horror comic, where a kind of psychotic visual revenge fantasy is acted out upon the late Dr Frederic Wertham (the McCarthy era comic witch hunter and man who was behind the shutting down and censorring of many comic companies in the 1950s along with public bonfires of kids comics and the introduction of the comics code).
In this strip entitled 'Pain & Knowledge' he is tortured by a demonic looking Skull faced 'gentleman' who performs a dark ritual within his 'Chamber of Mindfuckin'.

In the end, revenge is not meted out through murder, rather a much more sinister outcome takes place, which I'm sure the prudish moral crusader would have been horrified by.

Shades of Mike Diana, Clive Barker's Hellraiser, and touches of other Underground influences such as Rory Hayes and S.Clay Wilson in this strip I'd say.

Aidan Cook provides an entertaining Rock & Roll tale from the crypt, in his comic about a bullied school nerd who is beaten up by the jocks, who performs a satanic rite and invokes Joey Ramone to avenge him! A fun strip with lots of references to Ramones songs.

Barry Cook returns (accompanied by 'Lizard') with his Dr Sarcophagus character, whom I wasn't really keen on in previous issues. This story is better told however, involving a victim of one of the nazi doctor's minions - a sinewy flesh eating beast which absorbs and stores it's victims to return to it's master.

Robscenity's 'Sextermination In Paradise' is a darkly comedic S&M social satire involving a well-off pair of  new-age Trustafarians who are enjoying their stoned country picnic until it's hijacked by a couple of psychotic sadists who easily subdue and kidnap them.

From here the unsuspecting pair are subjected to painful

humiliation (complete with absurdist and pitch black gags - I mean jokes, not the things that go in your gob - although there's those as well) before being reconditioned and set out into the world again on a mission.

The strip seemed to me, beyond the fetish-fantasy pervery, like a send up of two British cultural stereotypes on opposite sides of the spectrum; On one - spoilt and workshy drug-taking middle class hippy loafers, and on the other; the vindictive and fascistic mentalities of hardcore tories and Daily Mail readers who want to 'get tough' on the layabouts they perceive all around them, and force them into adopting their ideology and values. Rob's art is as beautiful as always, and his penchant for fem-dom hasn't changed, although this time, a male character gets to be dominant also.
 The final main story is by Paul Arscott (formerly Paul Arserott) and is entitled 'DMT: Gateway To Oblivion'. This was a very effective tale, following the life of 'Herman Eddie'; a young drop-out who's been abusing various substances after leaving school.
Obsessed with altered states, narcotic highs, and psychoactive experiences, coupled with a reclusive fascination for death metal, porn, the occult,and the morbid, young Eddie is already living an isolated and precarious existence before he tries his first hit of DMT.  He experiences an intense, melting away of the reality around him, and encounters strange creatures who are trying to tell him something.
Impressed by his hit, he buys a greater quantity of the substance and goes home, where he prepares a huge cocktail of LSD, PCP laced joints, then smokes heroin in a hope of deadening his body, before taking the DMT which he hopes will take him away from reality to the 'other place'.
Sure enough, Eddie trips like crazy and astrally projects from his body flying over trees and oceans before being sucked into a volcano.
From here, Eddie's trip becomes a nightmare as his soul has been drawn into hell itself, trapped and unable to return to it's body, it is instead subjected to the many tortures of the underworld.

There is a twist of course and all is not as it seems.

This strip worked really well for me. It's narrated in a style similar to anti-drugs propaganda films, episodes of the twilight zone or old EC comics, which seem fitting in all respects. It's an OTT cautionary tale about abusing drugs, and the dark places the mind can go, and Arscott does a great job of putting all this into the constraints of a horror story and still making it gritty and disturbing but also darkly funny at moments. It's possibly my favourite of his stories so far.
There's a couple of other good one page fillers in here by the above contributors and over all this is the strongest issue of Eyeball Comix to date (and I was a fan of the other issues). Get one while you still can!

My Art: Girlfriend With Combover, Albert Tatlock, Fracking and other art

Here's some other recent stuff. The one to the left is a play on The Smiths' 'Girlfriend In A Coma' lyrics. I did intend to shade the whole pic with brushpens, but then decided I quite liked the simple line art effect with a little brushpen shading.

I've also put the initial sketch up too, which had the brushpen shading. I rejected that drawing though as the comb-over wasn't serious enough.

I copied off the photo/ cover art of The Smiths 'Best...' compilation, making my own changes.

My next recent art was a silly idea based on lyrics of the '80s radio pop-hit 'The King Of The Rock & Roll' by Prefab Sprout.

The original lyrics were "Hot Dog, Jumping Frog, Albuquerque", but for some reason I liked the idea of them singing Albert Tatlock in the chorus (Albert Tatlock was a very old school character from the old days of TV soap 'Coronation Street' for those who have no idea what I'm wittering about).

And here's The Skid's tribute anthem to Mr Tatlock, updated for the modern audience:

Here's one I did after reading that Frank Miller's black and white cover art for The Dark Knight Returns was going to be auctioned off and was estimated to sell for $500,000. What struck me most was how pumped up Batman looked, hence my parody.

Finally, here's a quick sketch that a drew and coloured in one evening in support of the Anti-Fracking protesters at Balcombe, West Sussex.

The picture shows Lord Browne, ex-BP boss and head of UK fracking company Cuadrilla, who also works for the government and is paid by the tax payer. On top of all that, his company have also been award huge tax breaks to frack around the UK by George Osborne.

For those not in the know, Fracking (the slang for 'hydraulic fracturing') is a very harmful way of getting to shale gas by drilling and pumping high pressure chemicals and water under the ground to fracture shale, releasing gas. The process causes contamination of water with methane gas and toxic chemicals, as well as the other toxic waste fluids being then left to evaporate causing air pollution, acid rain etc. In the U.S. where fracking has been going for some time, there have been many cases of sensory, respiratory and neurological damage caused through drinking water contaminated by nearby fracking gas drilling. Fracking also removes billions of litres of much needed water from the water table. Hear is a trailer for a very good documentary - 'Gasland', about 'fracking' in the U.S: