covers- IMMORTALITY ISN'T FOREVER
E volution of a portrait. That first image from 1989 has never been printed anywhere. It was my first attempt at a cover when I took the original 192 page big Bacchus story to Dark Horse. I seem to be under the influence of my old buddy Bissette there, perhaps because he had just started publishing From Hell in his Taboo, a fondly remembered anthology that was also the birthplace of the Moore-Gebbie Lost Girls. I rejected that and made another painting in 1990, the second image above. There's still a feeling of it being a horror story, which Bacchus was never meant to be, but I was prepared to give that impression if it helped attract readers. The third picture was for an issue of Dark Horse Presents in 1991, which explains its vertical format. They used to run a strip down the left hand side of the covers, with medallions showing the characters appearing in the issue. I used a closer view of that picture when I published 'Immortality' myself in 1996, this time in a 96 page version, cutting the original book into two parts. It was my first attempt at painting in oils for publication This is the set of paints I mentioned in my earlier post on the Bacchus Color Special, though I used the medium for a long time in my teens after getting a set for Christmas. (My ambition was to be Claude Monet; not just a follower, but actually the man himself.) There's some collage on there too: the grapes, and a configuration of markings from a photo of a marble slab which I pasted under the eyes and around the nose and mouth. I was getting closer to what Bacchus ought to look like. When I sold the original of #3 I had another potential buyer who was upset at missing out, so I agreed to paint a new version as a commission. This new painting, from 1998 I think, is also in oils and on a larger scale than the others. I kept a photographic transparency and used it when the time came to print a new edition of Immortality Isn't Forever (that title sounds too much like a Bond movie) in 2002. However, I painted a better ear in #3; I guess it's one of those things you realise you've been thinking about for far too long, and anyway, the best comic strip characters tend to have a physiognomy that defies photographic rationalisation. The more real he looks, the less like (Eddie Campbell's) Bacchus.
John Coulthart draws our attention to the exhibition of fakes and forgeries at the Bruce Museum in Conneticut, May 19
The NY Sun had a good long article on it on may 10.
"In 2000, Sotheby's and Christie's were embarrassed to learn they each held the one and only "Vase de Fleurs" by Gauguin. And consider those legions of small, unsigned works still beckoning scholars whose enthusiasm outweighs their discernment. The sheer scale of falsity prompted Newsweek's celebrated quip that of the 2,500 paintings Corot made in his lifetime, 7,800 were in America..."
while your at John's blog, check his showing of his own pastiches on May 21.