Art: Paul Kirchner’s The Bus Stop
Here’s one of those things I think I saw back in the day, but never quite realised who or what it was. Put that down to many years as a teen looking at Heavy Metal in the 80s and probably not looking too closely at the surreal black and white brilliance of The Bus Stop when there were colourful, brasher, sexier things on offer.
But like most things, time is a worthy filter, and given the over the top sex and fantasy of Heavy Metal or the gentler, more thoughtful and altogether stranger meanderings of Paul Kirchner‘s The Bus Stop, I know which comes out on top. I’ll save the long bio, as The Comics Journal does a far better job than I could in this December 2013 interview, but here are the highlights…
Kirchner’s work has taken him from comics all the way through to advertising, he’s worked with Neal Adams, Wally Wood, but he’s rather wandered away from the world of comics. It’s a terrible shame, especially when you sit and look at some of the classic strips of The Bus Stop, taking something so ordinary as a typical US bus and its typical bespectacled, raincoat clad, newspaper reading passenger and creating a series of incredibly inventive flights of visual and intellectual fancy.
The strips have several themes, playing very heavily with ideas of visual and spatial perception, of messing with scale, of creating surrealistic recursive landscapes populated by seemingly normal, everyday objects and people, until Kirchner pulls the final twist, floors you time and again with his invertion.
I’ve picked out some favourites, but there’s a LOT here.