A portrait of the late Amy Winehouse by Lee Bermejo. The illustration was done for Italian magazine XL and their column called ‘Dark Side.’
If you are a fan of comic books, artist Lee Bermejo‘s name is probably familiar to you. His work has been widely featured in modern adaptations of classic superhero comics such as Superman and Batman published during the 2000s and beyond for DC. Bermejo has many respectable accomplishments in his pencil box including an IGN Comics Award for his 2008 graphic novel Joker which also spent some time on the New York Times best-sellers list.
In 2013 the mostly self-taught artist was recruited by Italian magazine XL to do some illustration work for them. The concept, according to Bermejo, was to create images of famous musicians with superhero attributes. The column written by Ezio Guaitamacchi was called Dark Side in which Guaitamacci would detail the too-soon deaths of famous musicians, including many members of the so-called “27 Club” such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Amy Winehouse (pictured at the top of this post). Bermejo’s images are profound as they often depict his famous subjects in physical states not unlike the circumstances of their actual deaths. In addition to his poignant portraits for XL, Bermejo also did imaginative portraits of other music legends still with us such as Black Sabbath and Axl Rose of Guns N’ Roses. I find it morbidly amusing Bermejo chose to illustrate Axl lying in a coffin wide awake with two pistols, adjacent to a skull with a top hat which presumably once belonged to his pal Slash—who, by the way, is still very much alive.
I’ve posted Bermejo’s illustrations for XL as well as a few others below. Some are slightly NSFW.
John Lennon for XL.
Johnny Cash for XL.
Syd Barrett for XL.
Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison for XL.
Elvis Presley for XL.
Jeff Buckley for XL.
Whitney Houston for XL.
Lou Reed flanked by the members of Metallica for XL.
A thought-provoking illustration by Bermejo of AC/DC vocalist Bon Scott which appeared in XL. The image presents an alternate ending to Scott’s death where instead of being found dead in his Renault 5, he is pictured mischievously sneeking away from the car with a beer in his hand.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Girls & guns: Outrageously sexy pulp illustrations from vintage ‘men’s interest’ magazines
Illustrations of films by Dario Argento, David Cronenberg, Ridley Scott & more from Cinefantastique
Nothing so dangerous as an idea: Ralph Steadman’s illustrations for Ray Bradbury’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’
Sex signals: Trashy illustrations from vintage ‘Frederick’s of Hollywood’ catalogs
Witches, black metal demons & the devil: Scary illustrations that will become your new nightmares