Friday, June 12, 2009

Another Thing Coming

I recently found a beat up old copy of this comic from SPIRE comics, a Christian comics company drawn by Al Hartley a talented cartoonist who worked for ARCHIE, among others. I assumed it contained a lot of Book-of-Revelations stuff, which is usually a fun read, but when I cracked it open I was more excited by the pretty great art:

I find it interesting to see how the overheated elements from commercial comics like ARCHIE, their pumped up sexuality as well as the intense excitability of everyone (!!!) put into this ostensibly serious religious context:

My redrawing of it (click to enlarge):

Clearly, there's a lot going on here. The three young adults who are our guides could just be taking a casual stroll through the pages of the Revelation of St. John, but instead it's more like they're writhing and thrusting their way through the cosmos:

(Click to enlarge)

It's not clear if this is just native enthusiasm on the artist's part or a more deliberate attempt to surf the Aquarian zeitgeist. In the same vein, rather than affecting a sober approach, the characters can't help exuding that slightly manic cheeriness that one often encounters in real life with people who've had this type of revelation:

(Click to enlarge)

If Hartley had worked in modern superhero comics instead of ARCHIE his SPIRE characters would probably have the awkward hatchet-faces and tormented musculature of that milieu. But I think a lot of the weird double entendres and eroticism is as much a testament to the charge of his beliefs as it is to his professional background.

Here's a non-SPIRE related sketchbook page, featuring a drawing of the 1977 Sebastopol Apple Blossom Queen:

Finally, this is the finished version of the small commissioned watercolor I posted in the previous blog. It's of a friend who wanted to be drawn with her French bulldog, as a unicorn:


Alix said...

I really like this. The colors are great and I now want to become a genetic engineer so I can get myself one of these french bulldog-icorns

Alixopulos said...

thanks alix! yeah genetic engineers get all the good stuff.