Posts Tagged ‘Stone Roses’

The McCarthy Paradox


Monday, January 21, 2008

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Readers of Comics Comics may know (but more likely don’t) that Frank and I share a fondness for the British cartoonist Brendan McCarthy. Frank reviewed his book, Swimini Purpose, in our first issue. I only knew a little bit about him, but Frank knew and knows a lot, and has shared much. Anyhow, I like McCarthy for some of the same reasons I like Steve Ditko — he combines a nuts-and-bolts drawing ability with a genuinely eccentric vision of human distortion and psychedelia. When he draws astral planes they seem solid, constructed and utterly believable. He doesn’t dabble in flat-planed, cartoony, Peter Max-ian psychedelia (a type I love) but instead sets out to make a “realistic” psych-world. Just like Ditko. That made him the perfect cover artist for Peter Milligan’s Shade the Changing Man and a wonderfully off-kilter realizer of mainstream visions. It also, like Ditko, left him without a good match for his abilities. One needs a special kind of writer (like Milligan or some of the 2000 A.D.) guys to capitalize on those kind of abilities: sci-fi, surreal, and a bit silly. Perfectly British. Like that other great stylist, Steranko, one gets the feeling from reading the occasional interview and his previous web site, that lately McCarthy believes his own hype a bit too much and, as of late is proudly (and depressingly) doing storyboards and the odd comic book cover, as well as a disappointing issue of SOLO. Without strong content the stuff kinda turns to mush (like the drawing above). Remember The Stone Roses second record? It’s like that. So much talent, but not entirely sure how to use it. Anyhow, he has started a blog, and it’s a good way to keep up with his evolving vision. I hope he’ll hunker down, tighten up, and make something worthy of his talents. Presumptuously enough, I have my fingers crossed. It’s a fan’s lament, and not really fair (because who I am to have unrealistic expectations?), but isn’t that what fans are for?

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