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Kev Harper the Talent Behind Scheme Comix

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Glasgow has a wealth of graphic artists who illustrate for Marvel or DC or their own imprints, like the Hope Street Studios or Kev Harper, the major talent behind Scheme Comix. The reason Glasgow has such an array of artistic talent, so the story goes, stems from the influx of American comics during the fifties, sixties and seventies, which were carried as ballast in the cargo ships that unloaded their goods along the docks of the River Clyde. The ballast was unpacked and then split into packages of comics sold across the city in kiosks and book stalls to eager kids.

For me, it Spiderman halfway-up a skyscraper fighting the Lizard, aka Dr Curt Connors (issue 76, fact fans) that turned me on to the power of graphic art. A few words can easily create a fictional world - ‘The cellar in the castle was dark and gauzed with cobwebs, the only light came from a flickering candelabra that limned the shape of a coffin, on the flagstone floor, its lid askew, and the white of old flesh glimmering inside.’  But to illustrate such a world takes time, dedication, patience and considerable talent. When I first bought these comics, I’d often skip the words just to pore over the fantastic illustrations, frame-by-frame, by the likes of Steve Ditko and John Romita Sr. The excitement and sheer bloody joy these artists inspired is akin to that achieved by Kev Harper with Scheme Comix.

Just a few years ago, when still a student at Glasgow’s College of Building and Printing, Kev Harper put out the first Scheme Comix:

My original idea was to do a ‘zine which was purely for the love of doing it so the first issue featured two strips, one by myself and the other by a classmate who I sort of pressured into contributing, I printed them up on a photo copier and then left them in pubs, record shops, comic shops basically anywhere they’d have the best chance of being picked up.

I’m lucky enough to know some very talented people so Scheme quickly became a show case for our comics & illustrations. My main strip at the time was Deadbeat74 which was a shameless attempt at trying to be the Glasgow Harvey Pekar and that’s how it carried on for I think it was 6 issues and then it just kind of got sidelined until this year when I decided to re work the idea and put out a new issue (numbered issue #1) as part of my degree in digital art.

Scheme Comic # 1 contained several different strips: Joe King, Future Detective which plants a Chandleresque P.I. in a sci-fi landscape, reviews have described Joe King as “excellent” and “an enjoyable pulpy read.”  Next up is, Space Kittens 1,2,3,4! follows the adventures of an all-female space crew, which has been parised for its “great artwork and witty lines.” While Dining with St Peter, is “a delightful” stand off between two beings with super powers and Break on Through: A Journey Beyond the 4th Dimension! has been described by Comic Bookbin as:

...a story with a fantastic twist that wouldn’t be out of place on The Outer limits or Armchair Theatre. Once again, Kev Harper gives us inspired visuals to feast on and T. Bye gives us a story to give us goose bumps.

The final tale, Tijuana Bible co. is the adventures of two drifters on the road. Scheme Comix takes the form of a traditional UK comic, with many different story lines; but it does in the style and with the ease of the very best US comic.

What are your influences?

I’ve always loved comics but recently the whole medium seems obsessed with being “dark” and ultra violent which in my opinion is a hangover from people trying to emulate Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns for the last 20 years. For me unless it’s in books such as Hard Boiled or Preacher it’s just boring so with Scheme Comix I wanted to try and make it a Sci-Fi anthology that was fun like the early issues of 2000 AD used to be. So I started looking at things like the original Flash Gordon and Dick Tracy comics and trying to come up with ideas that would be adventurous and entertaining so out of that came the Joe King: Future Detective strip.

The biggest problem for me is that even though I can just about string a simple story together I’m in no way a writer but like I’ve already said luckily I know some very talented people so with some gentle persuasion I got the excellent Cramps inspired Tijuana Bible Co. by the equally excellent Sharon Irvine and Dining with St.Peter by David Walker, who came highly recommended to me and did not disappoint. Along side them I managed to get some top editorial work from Louise C. Davis (then Gordon) and some help from the guys at Root Creative, that’s when it all really came together

What sort of response has Scheme Comix had?

So far, touch wood we’ve had nothing but excellent feedback from all our reviews particularly from a personal point of view for the Space Kittens 1234 strip which was inspired by a Glasgow based punk band I used to go see (I have to shout out a big thank you to Penny and Shona for getting behind it) but I’m pleased most by the response from everyone who has bought a copy of Scheme Comix.

Kev has proven he is a major talent, who can draw with the best of them, and with such talent at the helm, Scheme Comix has a great future ahead.
 
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More from Kev Harper’s ‘Scheme Comix’ after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Harry Smith smokes a joint and gets you high: A double dose of alchemy

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A Harry Smith double bill.

The first video is Harry smoking a joint while talking with Patrick Hulsey in New York City in 1999.

In the second video, East Village raconteur, animator, videographer and pop culture archivist M. Henry Jones of Snakemonkey TV recalls and recreates the initial thrill of discovering Harry Smith’s work.
 

 

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Comic Relief: The Adventures of Unemployed Man

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Unemployed Man and his trusty sidekick, Plan B (who was forced out of the workplace for being too expensive to insure by his former employer) have a word with the “Hero in Chief” in a panel taken from Erich Origen and Gan Golan’s The Adventures of Unemployed Man graphic novel.

Obama better have a fuckin’ Plan B is all I can say…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Liverpool’s Beatles actually from Manchester according to Fox News

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‘Manchester’s famous mopheads.’

Okay, you assholes, keep your filthy hands off my rock and roll!

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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The bizarre world of Jean Lecointre: Pastry porn and punk rock fruit

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Inspired by vintage fashion and sci-fi magazines, cook books and advertisements, collagist and animator Jean Lecointre created a bunch of indescribably hilarious short films for French TV called ‘Turkish Delights’ and ‘Oasis More Fun’. If you dig pastry porn, the noirish world of palmiers and psychotic fruit, you’ll love this.
 

 
More weirdness after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Face to Face with Allen Ginsberg

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This is a fine interview with Allen Ginsberg taken from the BBC series Face to Face, in which Ginsberg opens up about his family, loves, identity, drugs and even sings.

The series, Face to Face originally started in 1959, and was hosted by John Freeman, whose skill and forthright questioning cut through the usual mindless chatter of such interview shows. Freeman, a former editor of the New Statesman was often considered brusque and rude, but his style of questioning fitted the form of the program, which was more akin to an interview between psychiatrist and patient. The original series included, now legendary, interviews with Martin Luther King, Tony Hancock, Professor Carl Jung, Evelyn Waugh and Gilbert Harding.

In 1989, the BBC revived the series, this time with the excellent Jeremy Isaacs as questioner, who interviewed Allen Ginsberg for this program, first broadcast on 9th January 1995.

Watching this now, makes me wonder what has happened to poetry? Where are our revolutionary poets? Where are our poets who speak out, demonstrate, make the front page, and tell it like it is? And why are our bookstores cluttered with the greeting card verse of 100 Great Love Poems, 101 Even Greater Love Poems, and Honest to God, These Are the Greatest Fucking Love Poems, You’ll Ever Fucking Read. O, for a Ginsebrg now.
 

 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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The Grateful Dead Movie’s animated intro is celluloid tryptamine

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Animated by Gary Gutierrez, the first 7 minutes of The Grateful Dead Movie feature some of the trippiest visuals you’ll ever see. This is to cartoons what DMT is to psychedelics.

“The Grateful Dead Movie”, was largely the brainchild of Jerry Garcia. It was designed to be a memento for the fans, documenting five days of concerts at Winterland in San Francisco in October 1974.

 

 
Thanks to Marty Weinstein

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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I believe God is a good God. Why? Because he created Marianne Faithfull.

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Marianne Faithfull looking stunningly gorgeous in 1967 French musical comedy Anna starring Anna Karina and Jean-Claude Brialy. In this scene Marianne sings ‘Hier Ou Demain’ written by Serge Gainsbourg.

Oh, Marianne. My knees are trembling, my upper lip quivering, my groin is vibrating like a tuning fork struck by the hand of God and storm clouds are bursting in the skies hovering above my feverish head. My dog is slapping me silly and begging to come to my senses. Could this be love? .
 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Michel Polnareff: French pop that rocks
11.11.2010
12:07 pm

Topics:
History
Music
Pop Culture

Tags:
Michel Polnareff
La Poup

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Having spent my early teen years in France, I was exposed to alot of French rock singers. Of course I was in love with Francoise Hardy and I owned a bunch of singles by Johnny Halliday and Sylvie Vartan. The Yé-yé scene was my scene. Michel Polnareff became a star after I left France but I was still following French rock close enough to appreciate his distinctive style, which was more Brit poppish and American West Coast hippie than his French peers.

English recording studios offered more advanced technology than Paris, so Polnareff went to London to record La Poupée Qui Fait Non. It was released in 1966 and immediately became a huge hit. Great French rock songs are rare and this one hovers at the edges of greatness.

La poupée qui fait non translates as ‘the doll who says no’.

She is a doll who says “no, no, no no”
All day long, she says “no no no no no”
She is, she is so cute
That I dream of her all night
She is a doll who says “no, no, no no”
All day long, she says “no no no no no”
No one has every taught her
That one can say “oui”
Without even hearing, she says “no no no no”
Without looking at me she says “no no no no”
However I would give my life
for her to say “yes”
However I would give my live
That she would say “yes”
But she is a doll, who says “no no no no”
All the day long she says “no no no no”
No one has taught her
That it’s possible to say “yes”
Oh no no no non no
no no no
She says no.
 

 
La Poupée Qui Fait Non has been covered by many artists, including Saint Etienne and Jimi Hendrix. This version by Mylène Farmer and Khaled is the loveliest in my opinion.
 

 
Hendrix does La Poupée Qui Fait Non after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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Princess Hijab - Graffiti Artist
11.11.2010
05:00 am

Topics:
Pop Culture

Tags:
Paris
Graffiti
Princess Hijab

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Princess Hijab is a graffiti artist who daubs hijabs and burkas on advertising posters in the Paris Metro, as today’s Guardian reports:

Princess (Hijab)winds through the corridors of Havre-Caumartin sizing up the advertising posters lining the walls. She has agreed to meet as she scours stations for targets for her next “niqab intervention”. In Spandex tights, shorts and a hoodie, with a long black wig totally obscuring her face, one thing is clear; the twentysomething doesn’t wear the niqab that has become her own signature. She won’t say if she’s a Muslim. In fact, it’s more than likely that Princess Hijab isn’t even a woman. There’s a low note in her laughter, a slight broadness to her shoulders. But the androgynous figure in black won’t confirm a gender. “The real identity behind Princess Hijab is of no importance,” says the husky voice behind the wig. “The imagined self has taken the foreground, and anyway it’s an artistic choice.”

“I started doing this when I was 17,” she says (I’ll stick to “she” as the character is female, even if the person behind it is perhaps not).

“I’d been working on veils, making Spandex outfits that enveloped bodies, more classic art than fashion. And I’d been drawing veiled women on skate-boards and other graphic pieces, when I felt I wanted to confront the outside world. I’d read Naomi Klein’s No Logo and it inspired me to risk intervening in public places, targeting advertising.”

The Princess’s first graffiti veil was in 2006, the “niqabisation” of the album poster of France’s most famous female rapper, Diam’s, who by strange coincidence has now converted to Islam herself. “It’s intriguing because she’s now wearing the veil,” the Princess muses. Intially she graffitied men, women and children and then would stand around to gauge the public’s response; now she does hit-and-runs. “I don’t care about people’s reactions. I can see this makes people feel awkward and ill at ease, I can understand that, you’re on your way home after a tough day and suddenly you’re confronted with this.”

 
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Via the Guardian
 
More work by Princess Hijab after the jump…
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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