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Where Demented Wented: The Art & Comics of Rory Hayes

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I’ve posted briefly about Rory Hayes and the Mark Beyer connection before. I recently got ‘Where Demented Wented: The Art & Comics of Rory Hayes‘ from Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham.


This is a real insight into Hayes’ work. It isn’t a simple collection of Hayes’ art & comics, but includes articles and interviews that open up your understanding of an artist whose work is largely disturbing and unappealing. It seems that while many of his contemporaries were producing work that rebelled against the comics code or explored taboos, Hayes’ early work embraced the comics that sparked the code and produced comics that emulated the storytelling conventions of the pre-code EC Horror comics such as Bogeyman Comics, sadly not reprinted in their entirety in this book.

The book also features a strip about Hayes by Bill Griffith (of Zippy fame). Griffith had this to say about Hayes;

Rory Hayes was the real thing; a genuine ‘outsider’ artist working alongside his more self-aware compatriots in the heady days of the San Francisco Underground Comix scene of the 1960s and ’70s. His work retains its raw, primitive power to this day, teetering precariously between chaos and control, madness and oddly endearing teddy bears.

Hayes has what you might generously call ‘limited appeal’ to the general public. You have been warned – these stories aren’t for everyone.

An introduction and 19-page excerpt are available from the Fantagraphics site.


Written by The Department of Illustration

September 8, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Jeet Heer on R. Crumb’s Genesis

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Jeet Heer has a review of R. Crumb’s (soon to be released in the uk) Book of Genesis Illustrated.

Surprisingly, given his reputation as the chief sexist of underground comics, Crumb has taken a strongly feminist slant on Genesis. Influenced, as he notes in the commentary, by scholars like Savina Teubal, Crumb sees within the book a struggle between two religious systems: the familiar patriarchal God of the fathers (whose story runs from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob to Joseph) existing side by side with a covert matrilineal traditional of powerful women (including Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel).

I for one can’t wait for this.

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Posted in Advice, Buy This, Comics, Review

Jim Medway Recommends

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mawilJim Medway recommends a couple of books this week, notably Sparky O’Hare by German cartoonist Mawil.

I think I’m going to have to hunt these down…

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 1, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Posted in Advice, Buy This, Comics, Review

Died Young, Stayed Pretty

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Ward Sutton draws up a cartoon review of ‘Died Young, Stayed Pretty‘, a documentary all about gig posters.


Written by The Department of Illustration

September 1, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Posted in Comics, Review

Pluto – vols 1 & 2

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Pluto cover

Matt at Exquisite Things reviews Naoki Urasawa’s Pluto vols 1 & 2, which gives Tezuka’s Astro Boy a more grown up flavour.

Pluto makes for compulsive reading, something I’d attribute to both Urasawa’s knack for intrigue, and manga’s typically high octane pacing. Despite its ‘mile a minute’ narrative flow, Pluto maintains an emotional depth that can hit surprisingly hard. I won’t spoil anything for you, but just wait till you read North No. 2’s story in Volume one. It’s emotional stuff, and has been known to reduce grown men to tears. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 1, 2009 at 1:04 pm

Posted in Comics, Manga, Review

Batgirl #1 “Honestly? I don’t get it”

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Nina Stone of The Factual Opinion writes up her thoughts on Batgirl #1.


Riddle me this – why does this particular girl get to be Batgirl? What makes her qualified? All I can tell is that she’s got the costume and some kind of CB radio. Is she strong? No. Does she posses some sort of power? No. Some sort of specialness…like she’s really smart, or great at track and field? No. In fact, based off what I read in this book, whenever she’s in action she nearly fucks everything up. I think she might have a slight talent for throwing sharp little bat-like knife gadgets. Sort of.

Written by The Department of Illustration

September 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Posted in Comics, Review

R. Sikoryak’s Masterpiece Comics

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I love these strips. Straight-up, no-nonsense love ’em. I’m also wildly jealous that one man can master so many different styles in a way that he makes look effortless.

Please, go and visit his site, follow him on twitter, read this one two three part interview and then pay your hard earned cash so that you can own a copy of masterpiece comics when it is released.

Here’s a bonus Schultz/Kafka crossover which features in Ivan Brunetti’s Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories.


Written by The Department of Illustration

August 25, 2009 at 4:45 pm