Monday, March 21, 2011

David Gough inspirations-day one: Kevin O'Neill-Nemesis

Day one of five things that influenced me as a kid.

2000ad was a British sci-fi weekly, borne from the same year that brought us punk and Star Wars-in fact you could say it was a beautiful bastard child of the two.
To any kid with a rapacious imagination, it was a revelation.

In its tenure, it brought to the fore some formidable comic book talent- Brian Bolland, Mike McMahon, Dave Gibbons and my favorite Kevin O'Neill.

The story goes that O'Neill had been an office junior at publishers IPC,who having shown some aptitude, was thrown the bone of an art assignment on one of Tharg's (the alien editor) strips.
Such were the times back then.

He quickly elevated to covers, before regular duties were assigned to titles such as Ro-Busters, ABC warriors and the magnificent Nemesis the Warlock.

Nemesis was like nothing in comics that I'd ever seen before-an angular headed ET freedom fighter touched by mystical madness.
With perfect foil-Pat Mills writing an anti religious parable about alien cleansing exterminators wearing KKK garb led by a tyrannical Torquemada, O'Neill's imagination was free to indulge his neurotic, scratchy renderings with all manner of weirdness and progeny.

It wasn't even comics, it felt like the twisted mind warp of someone who had been genetically cultured from the same petri dish as Bosch melded with some alien offspring.

This was no comic for kids.

Indeed, his work was to come under the scrutiny of comics code censorship, which has always left me to marvel at what manner of grotesque horror he had to tone down, given the full tilt that did make it to print.

Then of course America beckoned and off he went to illuminate Marshall Law, Batman and his more recent stellar work on League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, all of which I collected just because.
However, it's his Art on Nemesis with it's gothic detail and
demented subversion that upon revisiting, can conjure again, all the artistic aspirations, sense of play and enthusiasms I had as a child.

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