Friday, June 25, 2010

Robert Crumb's GENESIS exposed!

"...And now a great dark dread descended upon him."

If you haven't already attended the Robert Crumb exhibit at the Portland Art Museum, I highly recommend you take some time this summer and plan a visit. At least buy the damn book! This is an amazing body of work drawn over the course of five years by one of America's most celebrated, prolific and perverse comic artists. For those of you who can't possibly come to Portland for the show, I offer the following 100% unauthorized and illicit photos as something of a glimpse into the inspired and inspiring spectacle that is Robert Crumb's Illustrated Book of Genesis...

This huge banner of Crumb's frontispiece greets you to the north wall as you turn the corner and enter the exhibit. I love how he drew this like an old EC Comic with all the major characters represented. Instead of the "Old Witch" we get "Eve", instead of the "Crypt-Keeper" we get "Adam". It is reproduced for the exhibit like a huge carnival sideshow banner and provides something of a table of contents and key for navigating the more than 200 panels of art as each section of the exhibit is marked with a plaque of the chapter's corresponding major character. I also appreciated the fact that Crumb's Abraham looks an aweful lot like Charles Bukowski.

He chose to depict the serpent as an anthropomorphic character, which actually makes perfect sense since the bible itself states that it is only after "The Fall" that the serpent is made to slither on its belly for all eternity. Crumb's portrayal is in stark contrast to most of the classical representations of the serpent such as the image above by the German master Albrecht Dürer.

Every meticulous panel was so well rendered that it was hard to choose a favorite page but this one naturally stood out for its violence and bloodshed. My kids were slightly disappointed to see that the wicked sinners are depicted as silly horned viking types but, nonetheless, we were impressed by that last panel of the psuedo-Aztec sacrifice. "You are in a position unsuitable to give orders, Dr. Jones!"

This panel just struck a cord for its insane detail and lush textures. This could be a textbook study for how to compose an engaging comic panel. The historical accuracy and emotional expression is worth noting as well.

"Shrill cries, angel dies...OUTBREAK OF EVIL!!!!"

Ding! Ding! We've got a winner! We knew Crumb's depiction of the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah was gonna rule! This is possibly my favorite page in the entire book/exhibit. Have you ever seen Basil Wolverton's biblical drawings? Highly recommended. Wolverton's drawings demonstrate a similarly unflinching and grand obsession with destruction and tragedy of epic proportions.

AUTOPSY! Well, actually an embalming.

I snapped this one right before being busted by a museum volunteer who sternly informed me that photos are strictly forbidden. Woops! It's one of the last panels in the entire 242 piece exhibit and I love this one because it shows lots of white-out, erasing and cut and pasted lettering. This is the sort of messy production detail you miss in the published work. Crumb's lettering is as impressive as his rendering of anatomy, architecture, historically accurate clothing, landscapes and animals. My kids seemed to think God's hair and beard got bigger as the story progressed but I'm not so sure. I'll have to pay more attention next time.

This is the sign that greets you as you enter/exit the museum. So what are you waiting for? This show rules so get your ass to Portland and get a bit of that ol' time religion. Next Friday (July 2) they'll be showing Terry Zwigoff's 1994 Crumb documentary in the museum theater!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Following the success of the recent SKULLS exhibit, I am displaying two drawings in this collection of ZOMBIE themed art at Brooklyn's MF Gallery next week! In fact, I am displaying the original art from the DARKTHRONE LP's F.O.A.D. and Black Flags and Dark Thrones. This will be the first public display of these drawings outside of my own neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. The Opening Reception takes place on Saturday June 26th from 7-10pm. Many artists will be in attendance and they promise an actual ZOMBIE ATTACK! Admission is free and open to all ages. Anyone 21 or older who arrives in full zombie makeup gets free beer all night (and my unequivocal admiration).

"The boat can leave now. Tell the crew..."

Saturday, June 12, 2010


photo courtesy of Patrick Rosenkranz.

Calling all Saints and Sinners! I occasionally receive impulsive feedback from readers who wish to denounce my alleged evil views and aesthetics. These comments are generally incoherent one-liners that are swiftly rejected in the name of decent grammar. I received two such comments just this morning. Well, this post is for all you chumps that have nothing better to do than attempt to share your unsolicited opinions regarding "good" and "evil" on a blog. Robert Crumb's Book of Genesis opens TODAY at the Portland Art Museum! If you live in the North West you know we are starving for culture, especially anything that deviates even slightly from well-established "high brow" posturing. That all changes today when the Portland Art Museum opens its hallowed gates for a display of the complete 50 chapters of Robert Crumb's ambitious illustrated Genesis collection. I know, I know. What could be more well-established than the Old Testament? But Robert Crumb's interpretation should prove challenging (or at least funny) and marks one of the first formal nods to an underground artist at the otherwise pedestrian Portland Art Museum. Don't miss it! Check out a sneak preview courtesy of comix historian and all-around-solid-dude Patrick Rosenkranz here. Godspeed! Amen.

Photo courtesy of Patrick Rosenkranz.

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Saturday, June 05, 2010


While we're on the subject of birthdays, let's wish a happy belated birthday to Judas Priest's 1980 masterpiece BRITISH STEEL! What a great excuse to post this amazing centerfold from their 1980 tour program (thanks, Stew!).

Thursday, June 03, 2010


I met this dude over the weekend at Maryland Death Fest and had to get a photo of his amazing tattoo! I didn't catch his name but he lives in Brooklyn and worships Frazetta and Bathory. What else do you need to know? I salute this brother's fine taste and commitment.

Some of you may recall that I posted a memorial for Frank Frazetta a few weeks ago. Those who actually read the entire post were rewarded at the end with an imaginary mix tape that I created to honor his legacy. You may also recall that I offered a Darkthrone print to the first person willing to assemble that playlist as an actual download. I am very pleased to announce that the metal blog INVISIBLE ORANGES was kind enough to indulge my request and the Frank Frazetta Tribute mix tape is now available for free download! These muscular hymns flow together rather nicely considering I assembled them in my mind in a matter of minutes. Perfect for your next hike into the Mountains of Might or for general battle against life's myriad adversity! INVISIBLE ORANGES has also posted a fun contest in conjunction with the mix tape. The deadline for contest entries is June 10th so check it out here. HAIL INVISIBLE ORANGES! HAIL FRANK FRAZETTA!

While we're on the subject of tattoos, I also met two very nice tattoo artists at Maryland Death Fest and while they were showing me their work I immediately recognized this slightly modified version of my old drawing for Phobia emblazoned across this dude's entire shin from knee to ankle. We hadn't formally introduced ourselves at this point so it was a pleasant surprise once we realized the perfect synchronicity of our conversation.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


Whoa! My kids really know their ol' man! Behold my fancy customized birthday card, courtesy of my wiseass son, showcasing just a few of my favorite things: Viking Ships, Swedish Cheerleaders, Iron Maiden and Cowboy Hats (thanks, T!). Yes, I am acutely aware of the Brokeback Mountain implications and the distinct possibility of this going viral. Yeehaw!