Illustrators #40 (magazine review).

Rick Griffin
All contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2023

This issue of ‘Illustrators’ is devoted to artists who are associated with the underground comix from America. Saying that, strictly speaking, Rick Griffin (1944-1991) is known more for his poster and album cover work but encompasses them all and much of it can be identified by eyeballs used in his illustration, after losing one of his own in an accident. I do think his work is known more stateside than over here. Once you’ve read the feature article by his daughter, Flaven Clayton, with its accompanying artwork, you should be able to quickly identify his work. Objectively, Griffin’s show’s he had an enormous range of work, going beyond ink and colour and calligraphy to airbrush. A heavy dose of satire and who knows how far he would have gone had he not died in a road accident over 30 years ago.

Vaughn Bodê
all contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2023

In comparison Vaughn Bodê (1941-75), who added the accent to his surname, as artist Trina Robbins noted when she first met him, looked quite normal before having sexual identity, shall we say, oddness. Writer Diego Cordoba’s extensive look at Bodê showed he sensibly realised he had to make money to live and his own projects funding. Another stylised artist, told initially he had no talent but that didn’t stop him selling his work and getting a following. It’s of note that he used marker pens for colouring, pointing out that as long as its effective, you can really apply anything in painting but know your medium.

Mark Bode
all contents copyright The Book Palace Ltd
(c) The Book Palace 2023

His son, Mark Bode, no accent in his surname, carried on the family business when his father died at the age of 33 in 1975, and maintained a similar style and colour medium. They both have a preference to using animals instead of men with a heavy dash of unclad women and centaur-women. Bode’s own main claim to fame is ‘Miami Mice’ which he claims wasn’t supposed to go on as long as it did. It did make me curious to look up both father and son’s work and much of it has become very expensive so surprised no publisher has thought to do some reprints at a more respectable price. Maybe seeing their work here might encourage that.

GF Willmetts

February 2023

(pub: The Book Palace, 2023. 98 page illustrated squarebound magazine. Price: £20.00 (UK), $27.99 (US) via Bud Plant. ISBN: 978-1-913548-27-8. ISSN: 2052-6520)

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