Friday, 21 November 2008

Spain Rodriguez, Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman at the ICA.

This is a treat. The three alt.comics legends are giving a talk together at the ICA this Sunday as part of the Comica festival. Hopefully they'll tell few stories about the underground comix days... a period of history that seems ever more exciting as I read about it.

I've been a fan of Spain's work for a long time, there's really no one else like him in comics. There's a physicality in his work, an edge of "realness" that few cartoonists achieve. When there's violence, you know it's based on experience... it's not the fantasy violence seen in superhero comics. Anyone wishing to check out his stuff might want to look at:

This classic underground adventure strip includes characters based on Robert Crumb and Spain himself. It's also full of hilarious, raunchy humour. Fight the oppressor!

Some of Spain's best autobiographical and historical strips are collected in this book, including three of his great Road Vultures stories, and the classic "Chicago '68".

Zap Comix issues 13 & 15 feature more great autobiographical strips from Spain's Road Vulture days. While Zap 14 features the great historical strip "The Churl".

Every strip Spain draws is "political", but political issues are dealt with directly in "One Nation Under God" from Weirdo no.28 and "Faith-Based Terrorism" in Mineshaft no.20. Neither of these strips appear anywhere else (that I know of).

Spain has also appeared in pretty much every issue of Blab!, contributing some of the best work he's ever done (see "The Fighting Poets" (#9), and "Carny"(#10) for example). Hopefully these stories will be collected together in their own volume some day.

And of course there's the new book "Che". I wasn't sure if this would be an illustrated biography in the same vein as Mairowitz and Crumb's Kafka book, but I'm pleased to say it's a whole new 100 pages of comics, both written and drawn by Spain. Yeah!

And finally, for those who can't make it to the ICA on Sunday, here's an interview with Spain, conducted by Jon Ascher in 1998.

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