Saturday, July 18, 2009

Devil Doll

Hello, it’s my 23rd birthday today and I have a number of things I want to show you, but I don’t want to overload this page, so I’ll save some things for later.
Many times I have talked of the virtues of the first four series of Monster in My Pocket and Mighty Max toys, how they were an important part in finding myself in childhood and then finding myself again at the end of my teen years.
I saw a programme a while ago about toys that said that most little girls when left alone in a room with boys toys and girls toys,,, they tend to play with the boys toys. The programme also said that the toy companies know this, but have a stubborn old fashioned attitude and want to keep forcing the traditional girl toys centred around fashion, make up, pets, animals, housewife duties and bringing up children.

But the weird thing is that all these girls’ toy franchises outlive the boys toy franchises and I deeply resent that. Polly Pocket outlived Mighty Max by several years, and more recently I seen it happen again, when Monster in my Pocket was revived in 2006 with the mythology/folklore/legend theme of the first four series, it died very quickly. But the various girls versions based around cute animals were launched at the same time and are selling well to this day, selling in all sorts of shops you can find anywhere, when Monster in My Pocket was restricted to ONE store called Woolworths((which has fallen on hard times)).
How do these girls toys sell so well if they are not remembered or enthused about later in life? I have a feeling that little girls are more persuasive and some of them can raise more hell than little boys if they don’t get what they want. Does that sound real? I just think of all the girls I used to see who demanded to have every Barbie accessory and then didn’t give a toss about Barbie in a years time. Boys toys don’t make the same impression on everyone and a lot of them are not imaginative at all, but there are certainly a few that are really celebrated.

Perhaps these boys’ toys don’t last because there are videogames and Games Workshop/Warhammer to fill those monster loving needs. But a lot of girls play these games too and I’ve noticed girls getting more geeky in the last 10 years((in good ways and bad ways)) mostly centred around Japanese things. (((Completely unrelated: Did you know that more than half of the people who create violent gore torture porn Japanese comics are women? I don’t know why I was surprised, because there is a very visible community of girls who like drawing and reading that on the internet. It’s just that these are usually called misogynistic))).

Anyway, I’ve been reading about mythical monsters in the last few weeks more than I ever have, been buying lots of books about it and it’s a lot of fun, I’ll make a list of books for you guys some time later. My favourites are Nuckelavee, Dullahan, Banshees, Bogeyman, Bloody Bones, Jenny Greenteeth, Cerebus, Ghouls and Minotaur. My favourites are often something to do with the countryside I live in and what feels like it could come around the corner,, almost like inherited fears and memories of the countryside. So a lot of the are of Scottish/Irish/Celtic legend.

Here is the complete(?) and extremely rare card art for the first three series of Monster In My Pocket, many of which were supposed to be in the third series but never got released as toys. I like the crudeness of the art...
Card Art

Best Gallery of the first four series of toys

Along with Andrzej Masianis, my other most favourite artist I’ve discovered on Monster Brains is Albin Brunovsky. I just bought “Albin Brunovsky Complete Graphic Work 1960- 1997”, it cost me just under 100 pounds((including posting and packaging from a Slovakian store, sadly the only place you can buy the book from.)) but it was more than worth it.
The book does not have everything, so when it says “Complete” it refers to a certain type of work he was doing, unfortunately it only has one small black and white photo of his seemingly very few paintings, some cool photos of his stage design, and it does not feature all his children’s book art. But what it does have is Hundreds of his amazing drawings and some photos and interviews with him.
It is a shame that there are so few places to buy this book from, I emailed this shop...
Slovakian shop
...and a guy set up paypal for me over emails and I bought it from him. The only other book option is a 1990 book which is far easier to find and much cheaper, but Brunovksy did his best work in the last 15 years of his life((it can be done, what an inspiration)) , so the 1990 book misses out on a lot of amazing work.

Here are some scans I made...

Here is some childrens book art not included in the book...
Book Art
Here is Monster Brains gallery links...
3 Monster Brains Links
Here is a 4 page gallery not linked to from Monster Brains...
4 Pages
Here is another shop option...
Brunovskys Son's Shop

The Silent Hill soundtracks you can buy, are never the full music tracks that you hear in the games, they usually want to fit it all into one disc and compress all the best moments into one hectic nightmare without a lot of the eerie calm you will hear when playing the game, and while I think the “compressed” soundtracks are possibly better, a few of the tunes do suffer from being crammed in and mixed with the others. Here is what I think is the best one from Silent Hill 1 in it’s much better full length glory...

...On the cd you can buy in shops, this is very different and not as good,, Konami should eventually release the full soundtracks on cd, but in the time being, the person who uploaded to Youtube this has the complete full length music to every game in the series, including several different versions and lots of unreleased stuff.


Uland said...

Happy Birthday Robert!

Aeron said...

Yeah, Happy Birthday. I was in a comic shop last month and saw an unopened shoe box sized case of "Monster In My Pocket" cards, I think it was the first series? and I thought of you. I think they were charging 70 some US dollars for it.

Anyway, thanks for posting those scans! I've been meaning to do a new post on Masianis with some of the work posted recently at "A Journey Round My Skull" but will now include a few pics from this post of yours. I love those two monster pics, particularly the one with the multiheaded creature vomiting! Are there many other illustrations of things like that in the book? If so, I'd love for you to scan them and post em in the future!

SEAN said...

Happy birthday Robert!
I managed to buy most of the first series of MIMP & some of the other ones, all at 50 cents a pop at the flea market. I also got some of the cards, including alot of those ones you posted for a quarter a pack. They are fuckin' cool. I was too old for them when they came out, but now they rule as far as i'm concerned.

Human Mollusk said...

Congrats, Robert.
What's up with the cathedral pics?

Hm, don't hate me but I think the MIMP art is mostly really bad... what am I missing?
Brunovksy on the other hand is a wicked renderer, and I can see why you would be attracted to his art. I really like the vomiting hydra guy and the one above that.

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Robert.
So both your favourite artists are etchers. Do you have the book on Rodolphe Bresdin by Maxime Preaud?
I think you would like. The lines are so fine you need a magnifying glass to see them.
Have you thought of doing etching yourself? It would probably suit you more than pen,- the advantage is that it is quite easy to make alterations with a scraper and burnisher.
And you can sell about a hundred prints of the same drawing.

Robert Adam Gilmour said...

Thanks guys.

Aeron- I edited and scanned in 3 more for you, the big boat one is in one of the links, but I thought it desrved a far bigger scan, because I think it is one of his best. And the two others are the only remaining explicitly monstrous pictures I could find in the book, that are not already in the links.

Sean- Good for you, I've been meaning to buy some off of Ebay for years, but never did it yet. I have been having dreams about buying them in little flea market shops for the past few years too.

Mollusk- I've just been buying baroque/ornate/gothic architecture/sculpture books and saving all the pictures I can of that sort of thing. I love those places. Simon Marsden is a good photographer for that sort of thing, his site is really good.

The MIMP card art is quite bad in some places, but I think some of them are quite atmospheric in a nicely garish and crude way, especially the six examples I posted on this page. I believe that artist ended up doing some Wilco album covers.
Beyond nostalgia, I think I can make a case for a lot of really dated and crude commercial fantasy art. I think a lot of that cheezy looking airbrushed sword and sorcery and heavy metal art had some atmospheric qualities and powerful themes that you rarely see later on because they become associated with bad cliches and therefore get left behind and everyone is too afraid to go back to those cliches and explore them in a more serious artistic persuit.
I seriously think that "Bad Girl" comics are a great untapped genre with lots of potential, and sometimes I look at those hologram gimmick and all sorts of shiny 90s comics and think that it could have went somewhere, but the association with untalented young artists keeps everyone away from wanting to explore some of those things. I've been forming a bad girl styled strip in my head for the past year and I think it could be pretty good.

Paul- I dont have that book,,,, and while Bresdin is extremely talented and I like him, he doesent have the same ethereal flow that makes me love Masianis and Brunovsky so much.
My 4 years in illustration classes taught me very little, the only significant thing I learned about was ink wash((which I havent done for a while))). I dont know anything about etching at all, I dont know what tools and materials to use.
Assuming you are Paul Rumsey, I really love your stuff and it gives me the sort of immediate thrill I associate with the all the best horror art that makes me think of all my lifelong strongest feelings about supernatural fear.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Robert. Etching is very easy. You should be able to learn everything you need to know in a couple of hours. Perhaps you can find a print workshop and classes near you?
You etch on zink,(about £10 for A4 sheet), you put on a layer of wax stuff with a roller, scratch through the wax with anything sharp,-pen,pin etc, put it in dilute nitric acid for about 10 mins, ink it up and pull a print.
You make alterations with an etching tool which has a scraper at one end and a burnisher at the other.
As I said, it is easier than working with pen and ink because you can make alterations (look at all the stages of some Rembrandt etchings)
That's why I work with charcoal on thick paper and erase with rubber and sandpaper, it means I can work fast without the anxiety of making mistakes. In fact the more mistakes and corrections I make the better it looks, because it builds up a texture. The same happens with etching, look at Goya's Disasters of War or Hercules Segers landscapes, the more alterations they make the more atmospheric the etchings look.

Anonymous said...

And etching is perfect for fantastic detail,- as in the work of Francois Houtin, Phillipe Mohlitz, Erik Desmazieres and Gerard Trignac.

Aeron said...

Paul, I'm surprised you're not more of a Lithographer given the charcoal pencil medium that can be used on a limestone or aluminum sheet.

I spent several years in artschool in the etching studio and the lithography studio (other side of the school) and was completely spoiled by all the amazing equipment at my disposal at the time. I really wish I still had access to all that ink, acid and printing presses!

And I'm incredibly envious of the equipment you mentioned acquiring in that recent email!

Anonymous said...

Aeron, I am always seeking a blacker black, and with etching, where the damp paper is forced into the grooves on the plate, the lines are raised on the surface of the paper like black worms which gives a sort of furry velvety black.
I have not tried litho on stone. I did some photo litho about 36 years ago at college, drawing in ink on acetate and also directly onto the photo plate with wax crayon under a green light, but it is the effects of etching that I like most. All those textures.
Another great thing about etching is that you can work on it anywhere, you can even sit in bed scratching an etching.

Gaspard Pitiot said...

Happy Birthday!!!

Paleo said...

Happy Birthday Robert! and thanks for the beautiful Brunovksy's pics

pickledpunk said...

Hey Robert. Happy belated birthday! I’ve been away for a bit as well as doing some other summer stuff so I’ve haven’t checked on EBD in awhile. Thanks for all the excellent info and links and such! That’s funny about he MIMP cards because I just bought a set of them recently. I agree they are a bit awkward and cheesy but there is a charm to them. Seems like the artist was creating the 2-D art after the actual look of the plastic figures. I’m also glad you mentioned Mighty Max toys. I have a nice collection of them. I bought most of them new in 1995-96. Those really are great monster toys...Very very clever. I’ll hafta take some pics and post them. One of my favorites was the severed Zombie Hand playset.

So your still buying books and more books ehh? One great book on mythical and legendary monsters I found is “Giants, Monsters, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth” by Carol Rose.

I dig Brunovksy’s work. Never heard of this artist till now...

Robert Adam Gilmour said...

Thanks guys for the wishes.

Thanks Paul for the info on etching.

PickledPunk, I have just over a third of the Mighty Max toys and they certainly were very clever, not all of the worked perfectly well, but most of them were very complex and worked with all those landscape shapes and character pieces able to close into one object.
I have yet to aquire "The Hand", it is one of my favorites and that recent big drawing I posted started as a drawing of that toy, but I ended up changing it into what it is now.

Thanks for the book recommendation, I'll put it in the list.

Anonymous said...

Do you have this one Robert?
It's very good, and only £14 "used"
at the moment....

Robert Adam Gilmour said...

I'll get it tonight probably, I've been getting a few.