Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nine SCREW covers by SPAIN RODRIGUEZ, (1940 - 2012)

Spain Rodriguez drew many wonderful covers for SCREW Magazine during his long cartooning career. Here are the nine I have in my collection, but I suspect there are lots more. If anyone has a SCREW cover by Spain that's not posted here, I'd love to see it.

Here are two paragraphs I wrote in remembrance of Spain for Tim Hodler at The Comics Journal:

By 1982, I’d outgrown the superhero comics I’d read steadily through my teen years. To fill the void, I was buying all the undergrounds I could find at various long-lost quirky NYC comic shops like Soho Zat. As is typical, Crumb was the gateway drug. Fritz the Cat led quickly to Zap Comix, and while I loved nearly everything I saw between Zap‘s covers, I was particularly drawn to Spain Rodriguez’s bold pages that looked as if they’d been drawn by Wally Wood on four hits of blotter acid. Spain was sketching a world I desperately wanted to visit: brutally violent, brazenly sexy and relentlessly hip. Spain’s vision is a paranoid sci-fi fever dream where insidious corruption trickles down from the hidden seats of power, while leather-clad culture warriors fight that power in the name of the people’s revolution. Good stuff.

Roughly a decade and a half later, in the midst of a notorious legal jam, I found myself reaching out to many “big name” cartoonists in the hope that I’d score contributions for my benefit book. I was struck by the generosity of Spiegelman, Crumb, Robt. Williams, Kim Deitch, and some of the other underground greats, but again, I was especially touched by the kind spirit of Spain Rodriguez. During a visit to San Francisco, Spain graciously spent most of a morning driving me around town in his vintage auto, sharing stories about the city he loved, his underground comix collaborators, and other anecdotes from the kind of life that would make any sane person green with envy. From the Road Vultures to the ’68 Democratic Convention and the Mitchell Brothers’ O’Farrell Theater, this was a man who’d been given a front row seat to the spectacle of mid-Twentieth Century America in transformation. Luckily for his readers, Spain had both the intelligence to understand what he was looking at, and the skill to share his insights with us in ways that were both moving and beautiful. In this instance at least, the cliched caveat that one should never meet one’s heroes was entirely wrong.

  SCREW #1,115, dated July 16th, 1990

  SCREW #1,293, dated December 13th, 1993

  SCREW #1,327, dated August 8, 1994

  SCREW #1,346, dated December 19th, 1994

  SCREW #1,358, dated March 13th, 1995

  SCREW #1,469, dated April 28th, 1997

  SCREW #812, dated September 24th, 1984

SCREW #506, November 1978

 SCREW #875, dated December 9th, 1985

Saturday, August 11, 2012

SCREW #1,118: Cover art by Eric Drooker

Here's a nice George HW Bush cover attributed to "Dr. Ook," aka Eric Drooker, the illustrator extraordinaire who has provided many fine covers to The NEW YORKER, as well as posters for the Occupy Wall Street movement. It appears that Baby Bush has a stinky diaper loaded with leftover cash from the Savings & Loan scandal! The issue is dated August 6, 1990.

SCREW #1,143: Cover art by Sabina Van der Linden

This issue is dated January 28, 1991. I know next to nothing about Sabina Van der Linden, but this cover has always stood out in my memory as one of the strongest 1990s-era SCREW covers I've seen. Any additional info on this artist would be greatly appreciated by your humble archivist! Beaucoup thanks go out to SCREW alum Ken Pastore for sending me this cover, 
(plus a few others that I'll post soon).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Where have you gone, Rodney King?

SCREW’s take on the 1991 roadside beating: 
a hot guy-on-guy S/M session gone bad, 
(I guess Rodney forgot his safe word).

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Forgotten SCREW Cover Art of Tony Millionaire, Part Two: Issue #1,312, or "Holy Cow, That's Creepy!"

Part Two of our long, reluctant march through the forgotten SCREW cover art of Tony Millionaire brings us within view of SCREW #1,312, dated April 25, 1994. 

Compare this cover with the one from my previous post, (SCREW #1,416) and a common theme begins to emerge, one that we'll see Tony Millionaire obsessively explore in nearly all of his SCREW outings: sexuality in the animal kingdom. This is risky territory, given SCREW Magazine's policy forbidding the depiction of human/animal relations, but Tony Millionaire is not the type to let rules or community standards stifle the exorcism of his personal demons.

In this instance, we see Millionaire's familiar Maakies characters, (Drinky Crow and Uncle Gabby) stumbling upon some divine, bovine incarnation of fecundity. The crow and the monkey seem delighted at the prospect of gorging themselves at the overfilled teats of this fantastic figure of farmland fertility. 

It's an amusingly silly image, but what deeper statement is Millionaire reaching for in this picture? Does he ask us to ponder the dark nature of our own bestial procreative drives by blurring the line between human and animal sexuality? Or is Millionaire attempting to tap into that niche contingent of comics fans who become excited at the sight of a nude human female body topped by a cartoon animal head? Is Millionaire himself a pioneer in the furry fandom movement? 

In this drawing, (as with his other covers) I have difficulty grasping Tony Millionaire's true intent, but one thing is clear to me: this is no way to sell stroke mags.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Forgotten SCREW Cover Art of Tony Millionaire

MAAKIES cartoonist Tony Millionaire has been giving me shit over some mildly risque designs I drew recently for BROKEN SKATEBOARDS, (available for purchase here: ) so I thought I'd dig deep into my archives in order to spend the next few weeks exploring the forgotten SCREW cover art of Tony Millionaire.

Known to today's readers primarily as a children's author, few would suspect that the avuncular creator of wholesome properties like BILLY HAZELNUTS and TONY MILLIONAIRE'S SOCK MONKEY™ was in earlier decades impoverished enough to turn up, hat-in-hand at the door of  at 116 West 14th Street in NYC, address of the World's Greatest Newspaper? Truly those must've been dark times.

Millionaire's SCREW cover drawings, while in no way erotic, are interesting nonetheless for the peek they offer into what is clearly a uniquely disturbed imagination. Let's begin our exploration with SCREW #1,416, dated April 22nd, 1996: the cover drawing shows a creature, (most likely an ape) dressed in human clothing, preparing to reap a harvest of what are apparently human breasts, while a nude woman watches angrily from a perch in a nearby tree.

This unsettling image leaves the viewer with a multitude of questions: what does the simian gardener plan to do with his vegetables post-harvest? Is he engaged in some evil experiment involving genetically-altered crops? Why is the nude woman displeased? Is she the monkey's spouse, and if so, is she jealous of the attention being showered on this garden of human breasts? Why would a woman be married to a monkey, and more importantly, how did this cover drawing, laden with implications of bestiality, slip past SCREW's guidelines banning any depiction of human/animal relationships?

Perhaps its best not to ponder the meaning of this drawing too long. I fear that in this case, the search for understanding will send the viewer down a twisting tunnel that leads to confusion, despair, and ultimately madness. More Millionaire next week!