Our Wedding Program 1989

Images © Todd Klein.

While cleaning out our guest room for redecorating, I found a small pile of these printed programs I made for our wedding. Hand-lettered and drawn, printed on pale pink paper, colored pencil on the drawings. I hadn’t seen it in many years. Still looks okay to me. Happy to say we remain together.

And Then I Read: BUG! #6

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Lee Allred, art by Michael Allred, colors by Laura Allred, letters by Nake Piekos.

The final issue of this series is, like the rest, trippy fun with lots of Jack Kirby overtones and characters. Bug has reached New Genesis to find it has been converted into a board game, with the New Gods as cardboard place markers. His nemesis, Chagra, the cause of trouble on the many worlds Forager has visited is revealed as someone a little different, and the unleashing of The Black Racer seems to mean certain death for the title character. Meanwhile, two Source Walls and the connections between them are explored, the conflicts are resolved and final mysteries revealed amid philosophizing and reunions.

I enjoyed this series particularly for the great art, and the fun everyone is having with the Kirby concepts and characters (much less grim than many recent versions). Recommended.

And Then I Read: BUG! #5

Image © DC Entertainment. Written by Lee Allred, art by Michael Allred, colors by Laura Allred, letters by Nate Piekos.

The software glitch that happened a few months ago kept me from reading the last two issues of this miniseries, but I’m getting to them now. I found that I didn’t remember many details of the plot, but it really didn’t matter in this case, as my enjoyment of the series is based on other things. The art is terrific, the colors are excellent, the lettering is tops, and the writing is fun in a sort of free-flowing, trippy way, as if Lee was simply looking at each page and making cool things up for it as he went along. Could be so, I don’t know.

Essentially this is a romp through and within the worlds of some lesser Jack Kirby creations: Bug, the main character, and in this issue, OMAC, as well as other new characters, villains and oddities that Jack might have thought of but didn’t. Elements of the story are magnificently fantastic, such as the villain stealing entire oceans and the answer to Kirby’s Mother Box, a Brother Box. Mike Allred clearly loves Kirby, and though his art sticks to his own unique style, he does a fine job with Kirby homages and styling.

One issue to go, which I will get to soon. Recommended.

And Then I Read: ELECTRIC EDEN by Rob Young

I don’t read much non-fiction, but this one is right up my alley. It was recommended by Charles Vess and Michael Kaluta, and it’s an in-depth study of the many threads of British music that draw on traditional folk tunes and songs for inspiration. I well remember the folk revival of the 1960s, which brought British artists like Donovan, John Renbourn and Bert Jansch to my ears alongside many US acts, but a few years later I was also discovering an earlier British folk revival in the works of classical composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams and Gustav Holst. This book covers both, connects the two, and fills the years between and after with an entire evolution of folk influences that began with the late 19th century song-collectors like Vaughan Williams, and continued through all kinds of musical interpretations well into the 21st Century.

Some of the names and songs were known to me, many were not, and a discography at the back gave me a chance to find music by those I didn’t know on YouTube to sample. It prompted purchases of some, like John Martyn’s first album, Nick Drake’s third and Van Morrison’s second, and the enjoyment of many other artists I didn’t know. The stories are well told, though sometimes tragic as artists took paths leading to poverty or self-destruction, or had unexpected tragedy thrust upon them, and the interweaving of the many careers and personalities across the face of Britain, Wales and Scotland is well done by author Rob Young. At times his style is a bit show-offish, as in the first chapter, but it’s also colorful and very well researched, including his finding of some artists who had disappeared from public knowledge.

While the sixties are at the center of the story, there’s plenty of artists and stories from later decades as well, with the discography running up to 2009. In some cases, I liked the stories better than the music, but it was all interesting and fun to explore. If you like groups like Pentangle, Fairport Convention, The Incredible String Band, Steeleye Span, and artists like Maddy Prior, Nick Drake, and Sandy Denny, their stories are here, and many more you may not have heard of, but might like. I’m still exploring the discography myself.

Highly recommended.

Pulled From My Files #86: SHAME logo

Images © Lovern Kindzierski, John Bolton and Renegade Arts.

In 2010 I agreed to letter a painted allegorical miniseries for Alexander Finbow of Renegade Arts in Canada, written by Lovern Kindzierski, painted art by John Bolton. Part of the job was to design the cover logo. I believe I started with some rough ideas from John, which I no longer have, but it gave me the approach he wanted, and it was one I liked: thin overlapping letters with graceful shapes offset by a scratchy rendering approach. This first marker sketch is going in the right direction, but is too hard to read. Continue reading