Desert Island Comics – Episode 57 – Krent Able
Desert Island Comics, where we populate an ever-growing series of South Pacific islands with their own individual artist-in-residence. Said artist gets nothing but 8 of their favourite comics and one measly luxury. But seriously, what else could you possibly want?
This week we welcome Krent Able to the FPI Desert Island Comics. Krent’s been a favourite here at the blog since I saw his work in Stool Pigeon (the late, lamented music paper which minored in great comics). Granted his work isn’t the politest you’ll ever see. In fact there are some parts of his work which frankly you can’t unsee if you tried from now until retirement, but his strips are funny. Grotesque, disturbing, controversial sometimes, but damn they’re funny.
His first collection, Krent Able’s Big Book Of Mischief, was published by Knockabout in late 2012. It was pretty great, and I said so. His modus operandi in that book involved merciless lampooning of a musical collection of some note; Courtney Love, Lily Allen, Justin Timberlake, Goldfrapp, Lady GaGa, 50 Cent, Michael Jackson, Lou Reed, and many more come under Able’s disturbing (disturbed?) gaze.
Krent’s gone above and beyond here, as he’ll tell you later on, the desire to provide just the right images for his Desert Island Comics resulted in the destruction of one of the books he loves. But in pieces or not, what he’s picked are 8 crackers. And do stick around till the end, as he’s also picked perhaps the strangest (definitely the most violent luxury yet).
Ladies and gentlemen…. Krent Able:
Read Yourself RAW
My ancient copy of this giant sized badboy is highly knackered, after years of pawing. It opened my eyes to new, arty ways of making comics, after growing up reading the sicko splatterfest that was early 2000AD. It’s a compilation of the first 3 issues of RAW magazine – pretty much a who’s who of 80’s underground-ish artists, featuring Charles Burns, Gary Panter, Mark Beyer’s hilarious ‘City Of Terror’ (plus trading cards!), and my favourite, Munoz and Sampayo’s ‘Mister Wilcox, Mister Conrad’, a seedy noir tale. Munoz is a fantastic artist, all scratchy and spontaneous looking. You can really taste the ink.
Pravda La Survireuse- Guy Peelaert
A stunning pop art comic from 1968. The colours and minimal compositions are amazing, and the heroine, Pravda The Overdriver, wears a little leather outfit and rides a badass jaguar bike through eye-bleeding psychedelic landscapes. You could blow up every single panel, stick it on your wall, and swan around your bedsit like David Hemmings. Guy Peelaert went on to do the cover for Bowie’s Diamond Dogs, and the poster for Taxi Driver. This book has, unbelievably, been out of print for years, though Fantagraphics have just published ‘The Adventures Of Jodelle’ by Peelaert, from 1966, which is similarly great.
Sin City-Frank Miller
The one with Marv. Oh boy, the art in this is amazing – you’re really there with Frank, you can feel him attacking the page, his mouth all frothing and his eyes bugging out, getting all worked up about liberals and pinko pansies, so immediate and in the moment. I bet there’s a Munoz influence in there, along with the Steranko. Mr. Miller really plays to the strengths of the medium, doesn’t try to make literature or high art, and just does what comics can do best –punch you in the face repeatedly until you cry like a little baby.
R.Crumb-Paris Museum Of Modern Art catalogue
This big hardback art book is gorgeous, with loads of Crumb’s original comics beautifully printed on nice thick matt paper. The dust jacket unfolds into a giant poster of various thick-legged gals. The art has been scanned with all the whiteout, bits of paste-up and jizz stains intact. There’s also a cool photo of him sucking on a bong, and many more of him getting piggy backs and scampering up women. For a scrawny, shy, not exactly good-looking guy, he sure does well. He sets the bench mark for all cartoonists in that respect.
Twentieth Century Eightball –Dan Clowes
A collection of humourous strips from his Eightball comic, from the 90’s. Some of this stuff is pant-pissingly hilarious. This is the one that really inspired me to make my own comics, and gave me the basic framework for what I wanted to do, putting my own spin on it. He’s a genuine, freak of nature genius, inventing new add–ons to the comic language with every book he does. In this comic, he did that thing where a comic looks all old, in order to get all subversive on you. Did he invent that? What about the speech bubbles half in and half out of the frame, so that you’re only ‘hearing’ part of the dialogue? Look at his comic The Death Ray, breaking up the story into mini-comics in different art styles with their own little titles. It’s mind-boggling and brilliant, though, on the downside, sometimes I wish he’d lighten up a bit and put some of the energy and humour of his early work back into his more recent stuff.
Hellboy-The Crooked Man
I’m not a huge Hellboy fan (though obviously it’s great), but this one’s got art by Richard Corben, and is inspired by the stories of Manly Wade Wellman, one of my favourite writers of weird tales. Some of his best stories, from the 60’s, feature a character called Silver John (based on Johnny Cash), who wandered the Appalachian mountains, playing his silver-stringed guitar and fighting backwoods evil. They’re kind of like strange, charming folktales. They made a film about it, that’s only watchable if you’re on some kind of medication, under strict medical supervision. Otherwise your brain would turn to custard. Corben’s art perfectly captures the atmosphere of the forests and mountains, and he’s the master at drawing creepy (but pleasingly buxom) old witches.
Pinnochio by Winchluss
A pervy retelling of the Pinocchio story, written and drawn by genius Frenchman, Winchluss. It’s Walt Disney’s camembert nightmare. Just look at that panel – it looks like Goya drawing a Victorian children’s book. It really doesn’t get any better than that. If you don’t already have this book, or aren’t about to buy or steal it, then I have no respect for you- you’re lower than a worm. A sad, wriggly, worm.
Hard Boiled – Frank Miller & Geof Darrow
My copy of this is in Portuguese, so I’m not really sure what’s going on with the story. Violent nonsense, I’ll wager. It’s really just an excuse for Geof Darrow to go bug-mental with the mega-detail. I’ve been scanning the art and magnifying it, and the level of detail is really quite staggering. I nearly fainted. Anyway, the copy I’m planning on taking to your island is the same one I saw years ago in Forbidden Planet, a gigantic black and white version, which I foolishly never bought. I’m assuming this blog will be furnishing me with one as part of the deal for writing this and scanning these images. I had to bend my RAW comic to fit on my A4 scanner, and now it’s fallen apart. Just saying.
Luxury Item – Flamethrower. This would be useful for establishing my superiority on the island, when encountering ‘Others’ etc. Also good for killing animals, and cooking them at the same time.