Apocalypse, Rinse, Repeat: The Graphic Experience of Greg Irons’ ‘Light’

Despite a tragically short life, and despite still being almost completely unknown, Greg Irons has exerted an extraordinary influence on the course of underground and mainstream comics, graphic design, and the tattoo world, where he is regularly cited as a legend. Irons was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and moved to San Francisco during 1967’s Summer of Love, where he immediately found work designing event posters for music promoter Bill Graham…

Too Many Braincells Drowning in Inkwells: The Artwork of Nick Blinko

Thanks to the record covers he drew for Rudimentary Peni, the band for which he was vocalist and guitarist, artist Nick Blinko’s initial audience was mainly confined to the members of the thriving British anarcho-punk scene of the early 1980s. Despite apparently operating in the same aggressive idiom as their peers, however, it was immediately clear that the Peni were unique…

Earth Visitor’s Passport: ‘Tour of the Universe’, 1980

A collision of imperial phase-Young Artists—the London-based illustration agency whose imagery would dominate and define British science fiction and fantasy art throughout the 1970s and ’80s—and an attention to graphic design detail that bordered on the unhinged, Tour of the Universe was a bold attempt to create an immersive world of science fiction art and prose that still looks as wildly ambitious today…

The Cyber Baroque World of Italy’s Rondò Veneziano

Positing a fantasy world where Renaissance and Enlightenment values co-existed with the joys and preoccupations of the coming technological age, the Rondo Veneziano orchestra was the brainchild of Italian record label owner Freddy Naggiar, who noticed the lack of Italian instrumental music on the international scene and charged orchestra director and arranger/composer Gian Piero Reverberi to come up with someone or something to fill the gap…

Inventing Sci-Fi Noir: Jim Steranko’s ‘Outland’

When Heavy Metal published 1979’s stand-alone Alien: The Illustrated Story to coincide with the release of Ridley Scott’s now-canonical sci-fi horror, no one knew what a “graphic novel” was. The adaptation, with frequently gruesome art by Walt Simonson and words by Archie Goodwin, was strikingly innovative while remaining true to Dan O’Bannon’s screenplay, and it soon landed on the New York Times Best Seller list…

Bob Peak Promotional Art for ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, 1983

Although the extraordinary theatrical poster for Disney’s Something Wicked This Way Comes was illustrated by David Grove, Bob Peak painted these equally impressive pieces that, as far as I know, were never used. Peak, of course, was one of the finest commercial illustrators of the 20th century, and he virtually defined the visual concept of the modern film poster, starting with his colorful montage for 1961’s West Side Story