The 12 Days of Comics: 2010 - Day 10

“Neely Covers Comics To Give You The Creeps!” by Tom Neely (I Will Destroy You)
Demographic: Horror/EC Comics Fans
Selected by: Justin Giampaoli
Subsequent Interview by: Ryan Claytor

Justin: Simply put, Tom Neely is one of my favorite indie artists working today. I religiously buy every single book he produces, and even the anthology style projects he’s involved in. One of my all time favorite books is “The Blot,” but alas, it didn’t come out this year, so I’d like to suggest “Neely Covers Comics…” It is essentially a pin-up book of his interpretations of old EC Comics style horror covers, but serves as a terrific primer for those curious about his artistic style.

The brilliant thing about Neely’s work is that he combines two anachronistic styles which have no business being together. His figures bear some semblance of resemblance (heh) to early Disney work from Floyd Gottfredson. Readers will swear that they can spot white Mickey Mouse gloves and other subtle features on the figures that are pulled from their psyche and steady diet of Disney. Those residual TV and movie cues are overlayed with storytelling content that has an almost fetishistic appetite for classic horror motifs. The result is this oddly compelling composition of cute affable figures doing ironic, disturbing, or downright despicable things. Neely’s visuals are absolutely striking. He’s the type of illustrator I’d want to collaborate with in any capacity, be it the design for a web-site, an off-beat company logo, a late night animated show, the album cover for my band, or even a comic. For more information: http://www.iwilldestroyyou.com/

Ryan: This is an easy veto for me. You lost me at, “It is essentially a pin-up book.” I like narrative with my art. Especially if I’m going to plunk down my hard-earned $6, I’d like it to last a while, rather than just a passing glance at each page. This veto is not so much a slight to Neely or yourself. In fact, as usual, after your description I feel as though I have another artist to add to my “to read” list. Maybe this new release would work for a long-established Neely zealot, but I definitely won’t be making a book of covered covers the first work of his I pick up. Let’s hear about your back-up comic.

Justin: ARGH! Honestly, I wasn’t trying to sneak one past you here, but the thought crossed my mind that this might happen since you’ve been itching to use your executive veto power! I can’t argue with your logic. I sincerely hope you do track down some of Tom Neely’s work in spite of the veto. I recommend “The Blot” wholeheartedly, and if all else fails, Tom is set up in the Small Press Pavilion every year at SDCC, so buy it then!

As for a replacement selection, oh, it’s so tough! I’m tempted to go with “Afrodisiac” (AdHouse) by Jim Rugg & Brian Maruca (plug time!), which is a biting dose of blaxploitation parody operating on the reclamation of stereotypes and examining society’s fear, jealousy, and fascination with black men, particularly their prowess with white women, but I want to keep the mini-comics vibe alive, so…

“Henry & Glenn Forever” by Igloo Tornado (Self-Published)
Demographic: Hard Core Rockers, Not Easily Offended
Selected by: Justin Giampaoli
Subsequent Interview by: Ryan Claytor

Justin: Igloo Tornado is an art collective comprised of Tom Neely, Gin Stevens, Scot Nobles, and Levon Jihanian. This is a collection of strips featuring Henry Rollins, Glenn Danzig, Daryl Hall, and John Oates (of the eponymous “Hall & Oates” if you didn’t catch it). The subversive magic of the book is that it flips every audience expectation on end. Despite their hard-edged real world personas, Henry & Glenn are very much a couple. They possess the dubious sexuality and are overly emotional, while Hall & Oates live next door and are portrayed as the gruff Satan Worshippers. Neely takes the Floyd Gottfredson affectation I cited above, and lays a Chester Gould motif over it, so that Rollins looks like a dark-haired, menacing punk fashioned after Dick Tracy. The result is this dichotomous portrayal of aesthetic and content, enveloping the audience in a modern slice of wit, acerbic sarcasm, and deadpan humor. Personally, I prefer the purity and consistency of Neely’s solo work, but you can certainly understand why this book continues to sell out and, probably generalizing, has a loyal following from places like the Razorcake Magazine crowd in LA. Get in on the fun at: http://www.iglootornado.com/

Ryan: Ha-ha! Nice mini-plug for “Afrodisiac” up there. Sly, Justin, sly. Let’s get back to your actual choice, “Henry & Glenn Forever.” When I was on tour this past summer, I saw this book on several coffee tables where I crashed and counters where I signed. It seemed to be all the indie buzz at Comic-Con this past year as well. I can see this making a great, unique, underground gift for that rock enthusiast in your life. It’s sure to inspire a “Wha– What is this? Where did this come from?” type of awestruck joyous response… for the demographic Justin listed above. Maybe since I’ve seen this publication before, I don’t have quite as many questions about it as I do about the collective who produced it. Besides “Henry & Glenn Forever,” have the collective produced any other, uh, collective projects? From the limited information available on the Igloo Tornado website, it seems like the collective is more of a space for them to promote one another’s work than to produce collaborative projects together. Am I right, or am I just skimming their website too quickly?

Justin: As far as I know, you’re right. Igloo Tornado seems to be more of a promotional platform for the work of the independent creators involved. I only came to be aware of it via Tom Neely, and am unaware of any other projects the collective may have put out working in unison.


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