Friday, April 17, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Comics That Shaped Me (Part 5)


While I loved The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen, there was a graphic novel (technically a trade paperback collection of a comic series if you want to get pedantic) that really leapt out at me and absolutely blew me away. Elektra: Assassin. Written by Frank Miller of Dark Knight fame, the story was cool and a weird tale of SHIELD, Elektra and an assassination attempt on a President that is harbouring a creature known as The Beast. But the artwork by legendary Bill Sienkiewicz was something I'd never seen before - painted, experimental, and simply amazing.

I was so blown away by the art I hunted down the rest of Bill Sienkiewicz's work, which lead me to buying the awesome sketchbook of his art, and his amazing series Stray Toasters. Thinking about Stray Toasters now, I honestly don't know if I ever actually understood what was going on in the series. It seemed to be about a psychologist trying to track down some weird serial killer.

This was just as I was creating comics with Pete for the Swampland publications - heck we even advertised in Deadline! But everything I was inspired by was the sort of comics I'd been reading up until then. But Stray Toasters was the comics equivalent of watching a David Lynch movie, or a Peter Greenaway movie, for the first time when everything you'd seen before was Hallmark Channel made-for-TV movies. It was radical, free and so completely different - it was so experimental playing with the art styles, the typefaces of the text boxes, the format, the... well, everything.

So cool. It inspired me to free up my style a lot, and try doing things a little differently.

I really should dig out Stray Toasters and have another read after all these years.

Stray Toasters opened my eyes to other more experimental comics like Ted McKeever's Metropol, and Dave McKean's Violent Cases and Black Orchid. Which lead me to pick up something for its cover alone...

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