Monday, December 29, 2008

El Planeta Manzana

A panel from an upcoming summer Mome story (published by Fantagraphics)
Correction- this story seems to be in the save for later pile. Possibly making a appearance in Sandinista Vol.3 or The Post Modern Cadaver 3.

Sketchbook #5

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Work & Records No.2, Bauhaus


It's quite nice to be putting together a Bauhaus mix for my sister, as she did introduce them to me back in 1988. Two cassettes that had seen better days. Obviously these things had been covered in incense and whatever else, rolling around on the floor of that beat to shit 1979 Ford Fiesta that she shared with my brother Andre. The car was not unlike a traveling gypsy styled confession booth of sorts. Tonya had turned that car into something other than an automobile. It was unique and I loved it. Those two tapes that I borrowed were The Sky's Gone Out & Burning From the Inside. I was a musical sponge then, (still am) and grabbing random LP's and tapes from my sister's room was my entry into many conflicting genres and styles. Add to that whatever tapes her friends had lying around and some fine music from my older friend Becky who took pity on a very awkward youth.

But anyway, yes, Bauhaus. Essentially you have here a group that is equal parts glam, funk, dub, Leonard Cohen, & Iggy. like most groups, this timely collection of frictional elements would turn out a diverse set that proved difficult to match when the members separated.

The elements-A baffling vocal presence that can stretch from the nasal highs of Bowie's to the godly weighted oak of Cohen with little strain. Add to that often abstract and humorous lyrics that also touched upon a strict religous upbringing. Add to this some very entertaining stage antics and good cheekbones and you have Peter Murphy.

Backwards clipped trebly distorted funk/glam guitars, forward propelling acoustic minor chord plucking, and scratchy, very scratchy percussive chicken clucking bock bock guitars and smooth washcloth vocals brought to you by Daniel Ash.

Deep burrowing earthworm dub bass and funky eye bootings courtesy of David J. (Haskins)

Old timey deadpan stickwork and five gorilla tom tom team style rhumba finess by David Haskins

Were they arty? Yes. aggressive? Most definately! Subtle? sometimes. Inventive? absolutely.
Why didn't they last? Well, shit, I guess you could argue artistic differences but I think it had more to do with the image they fostered and eventually became albatrossed by. Now why would a unique band capable of such a variety of music confine themselves to such obvious goth imagery? It proved so distracting that eventually most of the press on them at the time would talk more about what they looked like than the music contained inside. Artists that know how to play this game can often subvert these obvious tags by giving them the opposite to work with.

Consider the following examples-1. The Pixies- their LP artwork is a universe in itself- the music (which is very rock) is now alien rock, capable of untold heights. Obviously the music held its own, but still. They dressed down, completely unassuming.
Eventually the music defied categories and one could expect anything from them on future releases.
2. Joy Division. The music is really heavy and yet they are not called goth due to their wardrobe choice which was brilliant. Unassuming work clothes. Just four lads that make tunes. Incredibly overcast tunes, but still.
3. Throbbing Gristle- I love the cover to "20 Jazz Funk Greats", again, four people standing in the grass looking quite ordinary, even smiling, while delivering some completely disturbing, uncomprimising misery inside.

This might imply that I am encouraging the downplaying of self expression. Yes and no. Imagine Bauhaus all wearing brightly colored sweaters and always smiling. They'd be taking the piss obviously, but bypassing labels and expectations as well that all have to do with herd uniform aesthetics. Your weapon is then ambiguity and confusion. They sound like this yet they look like THIS. How can that be? Anyway, I'm on a tangent here, all this to say at the end of the day, their whole catalog considered, they are not nearly conservative enough to be a goth band. If possible, seek out the following tracks for samples-

1. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything 2. In Fear of Dub 3. Dark Entries 4. Kingdom's Coming 5. Third Uncle (Eno cover)

The tracklist for my sister is this-
1.Bela Lugosi Is Dead
2.Dark Entries
3.St. Vitus Dance
4.Telegram Sam
8.Night Time
9.The Passion of Lovers
10.Of Lillies & Remains
11.Kick In The Eye
12.In Fear of Fear
13.Muscle In Plastic
14.Man With The Xray Eyes
15.In Fear of Dub
17.Third Uncle
18.Silent Hedges
20.All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
21.Exquisite Corpse
22.Antonin Artaud
23.King Volcano
24.Who Killed Mr Moonlight?
25.Slice of Life
26.Kingdom's Coming
27.Here's the Dub

The Ballad of Geraldine

Sunday, December 21, 2008


These are the results of getting a call from my man Sid (New Yorker cartoonist) re: hanging out at Gleason's Gym on a Saturday night. Sid took pictures, which in retrospect is what I should have done. I'll probably go next time with a flash Holga and some super crazy high speed film. Anyways, we attended a night of boxing- something like forty matches in one night- all of them 3- one minute rounds. As the night moved on, children became teenagers and teens were succeeded by very muscle heavy, tattooed adults. I tried to quickly document some of the inbetween moments, during the breaks when the trainers were giving advice. There were alot of interesting moments there. The only thing I could do was gesture draw as the poses often lasted less than thirty seconds.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Original Art Available/

I've posted a few pen & ink drawings of various sizes that I am intending to sell. It's time they left the nest, you know how it goes. Those interested should email me regarding pricing, etc. at

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A New Buckingham Fades

I may have to duck out for a cocktail as I've got the cabin fever.
Here's more future Fantagraphics work on the boil as seen below-.

Needless to say, I need to get out of here before I start writing about the similarities between Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" album and Wire's "154". I'm totally serious but i'll save that for another time. In the meantime break out your copy of the Stooges "Funhouse" and listen to "Hurt". Now there's a Joy Division template if I ever heard one. Don't get me wrong- I love them both. Anyways-

Work & Records No.1, Autoclave

One of the benefits of re-structuring my studio would have to be the valuable close proximity of the turntable to the drafting table and scanner area. While I'm back to work on the Calvo/French project, I have been putting on some records by a group I've enjoyed for quite some time called Autoclave. This quartet from Washington D.C. released records between 1991 and 1993 but lasted for only a small duration of that time.

Demo (not exactly sure what's on here as I never owned a copy)
S/T 7" Single on Dischord/K Records {I'll Take You Down/Go Far/It's Not Real Life} Recorded by Barrett
Lever v/a Single Simple Machine Records {Summer} Recorded by Barrett
Teenbeat 50 v/a Teenbeat Records/Matador {Dr.Suess} from demo
Autoclave s/t 10" Dischord/Mira Records {Dr. Suess/Still Here/Hot Spurr/Vision/Bullseye/I'll Take You Down} Recorded by Jeff (Geoff) Turner WGNS
Autoclave CD Collected Dischord {contains Dischord 7" & 10" tracks along with alternate inferior version of Summer & unreleased track Paperboy}

Autoclave consisted of Christina Billotte on The bass guitar & vox, Melissa Berkoff on The drums, Mary Timony on guitar & vox, and Nikki Chapman on guitar. The bands work included a great number of moods & sounds- the highlight of the recordings being the wayward and lazily drifting guitars, clarity & richness of the vocals, and tight rythym section. If I was to reference anything comparitively I would suggest early Fugazi & the always stellar Throwing Muses. The musicianship and audio quality of their catalog is of the most part very excellent, the only drop-off being any recordings from their demo, which believe me, is no real flaw. The demo version of "Dr. Seuss" from Teenbeat 50 is crunchy & crispy, yet superior to the WGNS recording on the s/t 10". Had the Dischord CD included the complete demos and Barrett version of "Summer" it would have been relative one stop shopping for the handful of wonderful recordings they left us. Back to work.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mome 13 Now Available From Fantagraphics Books

My second appearance with publishers Fantagraphics Books is now available. A while back I completed work on a 12 page coffee, pen & ink story for their anthology entitled Mome. The story is called The Marriage Tree and appears in the Winter edition- number 13. The Marriage Tree concerns itself with three brothers married off to another set of three sisters and what happens with the situational aspects of romantic misparing and the occasional reanimation.

As the story has a dreamy quality about it, coffee seemed important as color choice. It lends itself to a detached otherness which allows the more supernatural and folky elements of the story to stream forth. In various parts of the story the coffee is used as an active agent in letting the ink work independent of me. Hair is probably the best example of this. Something as natural and unrestrained as hair is often treated as such with free flowing ink bleeds. Other subjects for this treatment are trees and architecture- things that are often distorted based on emotional readings. An example being perhaps that a victorian building may appear more friendly in the daylight etc.

Also appearing in this collection are Gilbert Shelton, Tim Hensley, David Greenberger, Thomas Ott, Sarah Edward-Corbett, Kurt Wolfgang, Josh Simmons, Laura Park, Nate Neal, and Dash Shaw.

Go ahead and take a look-
Previews and ordering information for Mome 13 are available here

In order to avoid spoiling the art awaiting you in the volume I've used out-takes from the story as examples in this post. I hope that isn't a pisser.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Works In Progress/Save Me A Place

The following are some rough scans of the artwork for a previously mentioned collaboration between myself and French comics writer David Calvo. The project is called The Gathering of the Flowers and intends to be a 96 pager. I'll post more as they come. in other news, due to recent worldwide economic duress, I have done my part by cutting back on The Wild Turkey for the more cost efficent Duggan's Dew. Strange times indeed. Tastes good when listening to Hoagy Carmichael.

Sunday Night Goes On Forever

Monday, November 10, 2008

Metropolis, The Big Gooey Hotplate of Nocturnal Desire

Deadlines come and soon they shall pass, ebbing forth into new foamy breaths of coronet mermaid beach b-movies. I mean, ahem, ah, say - here's a picture of me after being squirreled away for three days working on that Fantagraphics deadline. The raccoon bit IS true. There are two of them- Randy and Ramona. They aren't rabid like the other guys I had at my windo previously. Move to Brooklyn, enjoy the wildlife!

Also, some of the earlier pieces I posted are rough drafts that have since been redone. I'd also like to note that my sister made me watch boththe movies IF and Daisies (in one sitting). I think I'm changed forever!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A preview of story #6/Mome 14

So here in merry Michigan I've carved pumpkins, pan-seared brussel sprouts off a freshly frosted stalk with garlic, had my ass handed to me on a platter in bowling, made my sister watch crappy horror movies, and drank that fire water known as Carlo Rossi that my parents still keep around the house. Yes, it's even worse than you remember, but I'll go back to my snobby booze ways soon enough. I-spied some Miller Light in the fridge, must be from when grampa visits..maybe I'll hit that tonight. Last night I finished this story for Mome 14 (due in February 2009).

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Working Holiday/Mome 14 Sneak Peek

I'm miles away from New York at the moment, working on another deadline for the Fantagraphics Mome anthology. My second appearance in the anthology is due early November- a 12 pager done with coffee and ink called The Marriage Tree. More on that later. In the meantime you can check out these five panels from the various stories I've been working on while in Detroit. I figured this time around I'd stretch out a bit and tackle a little bit of everything I'm interested in style wise and draw from some of the short stories I been stashing away. The usual forays into sci-fi parody, ex-girlfriend hijinks disguised as fiction, and various non-sequitors and free floating questions. Once the Mome work is delivered I will begin work on a 96 page graphic novel with writer David Calvo for the french market. Also in the works- a movie poster and possibly another graphic novel..I'll pass on the info once that's been settled. Below are the panel samples from Mome 14- enjoy!

Friday, September 19, 2008


On Tuesday September 16th, Texas band -The Lovely Sparrows released their debut album "Bury The Cynics" and I was lucky enough to have designed and plastered my artwork all over the digipack sleeve. Months and months ago I was contacted to start submitting art as Sparrows singer Shawn Jones had found my work via (the largest concert poster database online). I believe he contacted me after having seen my poster for Smog. Anyway, I was up for it and the band was just about to record in the studio after Shawn had completed several home demos.
I had Shawn send me what he had written, and listened to it until something began to take shape in my mind, color scheme, seasonal references, mood, etc. To me the album had a bittersweet feel and the chording and lyrics sounded very much like music that perfect for Fall. That initiated the red, yellow, black and green color scheme.
We exchanged several emails about the emerging album title, possible track list and various mock-ups for the cover. The cover type came about after many rounds hand painting titles using pen & ink and brush. For some reason subtle, small type seemed inappropriate. The images were bold and the type couldn't afford to be shy.
As the recordings began, I would be emailed mp3s of the work in progress and as the art was being refined, so were the tracks. That was a pretty ideal situation to be in, as I felt very much involved with the record.
I think when Shawn had sent me the final mix of "Department of Forseeable Outcomes" I felt like he had created something quite extraordinary- the female baking vocals, rolling drums, and oh-so right touches of reverb, gave me chills. I would stare at the cover image as I listened, making sure it all melded. As a record nerd, i know how absolutely important it is for these things to synch.
Included here are all of the images that made the realms of further consideration. Half of these were not used, but may be used in the upcoming LP version, which may or may not have a slightly different cover/back cover and insert configuration.
Seeing the record on the store shelf at long last made quite an impression and It was very thrilling to hear the final mixes for all of the songs. If only we could get Shawn to release the demo version of the title song on some subsequent EP, then the intimate thread of the entire album could be heard via a completely different rendering. I'd like to thank Shawn for his faith in my art and for giving me something to work on that was extremely fun.