Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cover Art for SCREW #1063, featuring cover artist Jim "Hak" Hopkins

By the early 1980s, the path that led cartoonists from Manhattan's School of Visual Arts to SCREW Magazine had been well-established. Kevin Hein, who in his SVA days assisted Art Spiegelman & Francoise Mouly at RAW, later sought full-time work in SCREW's art department, and eventually found himself sitting in the art director's chair. Many of Hein's SVA classmates sold art to SCREW, including Kaz, Drew Friedman, Peter Bagge, and a fellow named Jim Hopkins, who drew for SCREW under the pseudonym "HAK."

Jim Hopkins contributed many covers and comic strips to SCREW during Kevin Hein's tenure as art director. I've always considered Jim to be one of the most talented folks ever to grace the cover of the notorious smut tabloid. Issue #1063 features what might be the best of all the "HAK" covers, this one starring revolutionary stand-up comic Lenny Bruce. Sadly, I managed to save only the cover of #1063, but I believe this gorgeous drawing was accompanied by "Shpritz to Lenny," a touching three-page tribute strip which Jim was kind enough to allow me to reprint in my anthology LEGAL ACTION COMICS Vol. 1 in 2000.

A quick Google search has lead me to this blog, and this blog,
both of which feature what appears to be current work by Jim (no longer known as "HAK") Hopkins, now a veteran of the storyboard scene. From what I can see, Jim's stuff has gotten even more accomplished and beautiful than when I last saw it over a decade ago, (if that's possible).

SCREW #1063 is dated July 17, 1989. Scanning and color-correcting these old, moldering sheets of newsprint is always challenging, but doing justice to this drawing was especially tricky, given the subtlety of Hopkins' technique. My guess is that Jim started off with a B&W image drawn in either china marker or pastel. For his color seps, it appears that Jim did two overlays, ALSO in pastel or china marker, for his yellow and cyan plates. It's a lushly nuanced drawing that deserves better quality paper and a more sophisticated printing press than it got.