One thing the comic book world never gets enough of is unauthorized biographical comics about celebrities. Or, as we like to call 'em, "Contemporary Bio-Graphics"!
That's right, that's filmmaker David Lynch there on the cover! Not Matt Dillon in a bad hairpiece, we swear to God that's David Lynch. This comic was released right at the low point of David Lynch's popularity - the post TWIN PEAKS era, in which David Lynch couldn't get arrested and nobody cared at all about him or his work. Which means that practically no one saw this comic book, and that's a good thing because this comic book is REALLY BAD. Yeah, I know, you've seen some pretty bad comic books before. Well, buckle up cowboy.
The concept behind this "Contemporary Bio-Graphic" is that David Lynch is kidnaped and held on trial, forced to defend his filmmaking in such a fashion that we, the readers, are taken on a journey through his student years, past ERASERHEAD and DUNE and right through BLUE VELVET and WILD AT HEART to his hit TV series TWIN PEAKS. A fairly simple idea to express through the medium of comic books, right? Probably lots of reference material available for movies and TV shows, right?
Well, yes, it is generally pretty easy to find reference material for movies and TV shows and their stars and directors. But if you're Ken "Thor" Landgraf, the "artist" of this "contemporary bio-graphic", all you need is ONE PICTURE.
Yessir, this is one guy who really knows how to get the most out of that one photo he was able to find of David Lynch. Come on, Ken "New York City Outlaws" Landgraf, can't you work without a net? Can you, in fact, draw David Lynch without tracing a photo?
Hey! Apparently you cannot! When in doubt, just swipe Neal Adams. But what about feature films, say, Lynch's DUNE? That was a big Hollywood release, surely tons of reference material must be available to allow you to depict the on-set excitement of this big production.
Yessir, a cave and two guys. That's DUNE all right. Or maybe it's SANTA CLAUS CONQUERS THE MARTIANS, it's hard to tell.
Okay, okay Ken "Astroman" Landgraf, just go back to swiping your one photo.
Whew that's better. Hey, I wonder how Landgraf will use his artistic wizardry to depict Lynch's disturbing masterpiece ERASERHEAD? I'm sure it will be a wildly original tour de force. HOW WILL YOU DO IT KEN.
By copying the iconic image of Jack Nance from the movie's poster? Over and over again? Yes, by copying the iconic image of Jack Nance from the movie's poster, over and over again. Uh oh what's this? Kyle MacLachlan in DUNE? Quick get me one photo of Kyle MacLachlan in DUNE! Preferably next to his co star!
Observe how the artist cleverly disguises his swipetudinous activities by changing the direction Kyle's looking. Hey, he's looking to his left! NO WAIT HE'S LOOKING TO HIS RIGHT! I don't know what to think!
Sometimes, though... sometimes the grind of swiping photos gets to Ken, and occasionally even the great Ken "Alien Squad" Landgraf is forced to take shortcuts. This of course forces us to ask, just how more shortcutty can you get than tracing?
Why, just paste actual photos of TWIN PEAKS stars right down onto the original art! Eliminate the middleman! But even Ken "Axe McChord" Landgraf has a reputation to uphold and soon it's back to the grinding work of putting ink to paper.
If only there was more than one photograph available of model and actress Isabella Rossellini! What is a "model" anyway? Does it involve posing for photographs? Because more than one photograph of Isabella Rossellini would really help Ken out here! When there aren't enough photos available sometimes he has to resort to drastic measures - like swiping from other cartoonists!
You can easily fill lots of panels with Wally Wood swipes. They add class to any comic book. By the way, that's supposed to be Roger Ebert there on the right. I guess Ken couldn't find a comic book where Wally Wood drew Roger Ebert so he was forced to wing it. Don't strain yourself there Ken!
Okay, we've had a lot of fun here with the movie star photo swiping and all. What about landscapes? What happens when Ken "Starfighters" Landgraf is required to illustrate David Lynch's arrival in Mexico City to begin filming DUNE? Do you think he's just going to swipe a photo of Mexico City from "National Geographic" or perhaps from a travel brochure obtained for free from any travel agency in any city anywhere? Do you think he will exert even the SLIGHTEST bit of artistic and creative effort? Oh, you do, do you?
Had enough? Do you want some more? Want to see Academy Award-winning talent depicted in a series of crude photo tracings, the bare minimum required to suggest human beings occupying space?
Well, there you go. The whole comic is like this - bizarrely inept under-renderings of big movie stars, right next to obsessively OVER-rendered wrinkles and muscles, peppered with swipes from other, better cartoonists. And the WRITING... even worse. Why, the only thing that would give me hope for the future of humanity would be for this to all turn out to be a bad dream.
Whew! It was all a dream. This comic does not actually exist. Nobody wasted their time writing or drawing it and nobody paid $2.50 for it at the comic book store, and certainly nobody wasted time making fun of it on a website. Thank goodness! Now who wants pie?
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