Best of Nude

I first discovered Nude magazine in 2005. I was working in the Southwark area of London and tucked away behind Waterloo station, on Lower Marsh just off The Cut is a super cool little retro shop called ‘Radio Days’. This is where I picked up my first square bound copy of Nude, it was in its relatively early days then and on a free promotion in this shop. It called to me and I’ve looked out for it ever since. (I even subscribed when I eventually moved away.)

NUDE Issue 5
The first issue of Nude I ever picked up

Nothing beats a real alternative magazine, especially one like this, that was dedicated to all things counter-culture. Over the years it has featured such varied subjects as Vinyl toys, subversive art from the likes of Jimmy Cauty, Jamie Reid, and Billy Childish, inspirational new emerging illustrators and designers, alternative comics, indie-press and fanzines, off kilter movies, music, (including memoirs from the ‘beautiful losers’, the bands that never made it), and fabulous photos of alternative lifestyles, from female Teddy boys, to roller derby divas to British underground wrestling and street art tag teams. Diversity was very much in the order of contents. It’s even had interviews with some of my comics heroes including Alan Moore, Charles Burns and Daniel Clowes.

Featuring Daniel Clowes and Teddy Girls

Nude always seemed to feature things I was just getting into, or conversely just barely aware of- like it was reading my mind and feeding me ever more suggestions of things I might like. It often made me feel like there was a secret London with lots of interesting things going on to those in the know. It also featured great book reviews. It was like a new friend with lots of similar interests, but it was way cooler than me!I didn’t always read it cover to cover, but it’s the kind of magazine you keep and treasure, and I often find myself going back over old copies and discovering things in its pages that hadn’t interested me before.

cult crafts, new illustrators, and not to mention Nick Cave

Like I’ve said, the magazine was a real treasure and I was sad to learn that this year would see its very last issue. This recession has meant tough times for everyone, and magazines, especially independent ones are destined to suffer more than most. But after almost a decade Nude has had a good innings and its creators are ready to move on to new things. I was glad I got in touch with them when I did, as I am very proud to have been invited to contribute to the mammoth celebratory issue Bare Essentials: The Best of Nude Magazine, where you can find my personal top ten best of UK comics & indie creators cobbled from my own ten years experience in the UK comics scene.

180page best of out now, includes me!

Go on, check it out, I urge you. Before you miss a little bit of Indie Publishing history. You’ll be glad you did….

Angels in Trenchcoats

Another idea I am tinkering with at the moment involves Angels in Trench coats. It’s a bit of a personal theme for me this one. In Supernatural, Castiel is a perfect example. And it wouldn’t surprise me if his look is based on the angels of Wim Wender’s ‘Wing’s of Desire,’ (which I consider to be the originator of this theme). I drew this sketch of Castiel in the summer and I really liked it.

My Castiel sketch

I drew various Cas sketches in fact in an effort to exercise my minor obsession, lol. However, the idea still haunts me and I was inspired to create a small collection of cards featuring other angels in trench coats. I have three pretty firm candidates, Castiel (obviously), Peter Falk (watch Wings of Desire), and Agent Cooper, who is an agent of good in TP and arguably exists to deliver souls like Laura’s out of evil (see the end of FWWM in particular), he also looks “Damn Fine” in a trench coat. But who should my 4th Angel be?

I feel certain that the set needs 4 to be complete. I don’t mind the interpretation of ‘angel’ being loose, at the end of the day they are all angels to those in need. But one thing I definitely would like them to have is an actual trench coat, not a Great coat or a Duster or a Bad Ass Long Coat. Only a simple Trench coat will suffice. Also they have to be a character that has appeared in live action, (despite the fact that there are many angels from comics), to keep the style of the artwork consistent across the set of cards.

Some suggestions that have been made to me so far include:

  • Connor MacLeod (The original Highlander, and I’m quite partial to this idea)
  • Marv, From Sin City (not completely sold on this, and it needs to be Marv from the movie)
  • John Constantine (But it would have to be John from the movie, and how could Keanu ever be Constantine?)
  • Angel (From Buffy etc, he’s clearly ‘an angel’, but did he have a trench coat?)

So you can see my dilemma. The one suggestion I’m completely disregarding is Nicolas Cage, ok? (I can’t bear City of Angels, the god-awful U.S re-make of Wings of Desire. If it’s the only version you’ve seen, shame on you! Go watch the original immediately)

Now’s your chance to comment! I look forwards to hearing your suggestions ;-)

Digital drawings: Faux Blondie

Recently I found my self inspired by some photos I stumbled across on facebook. They were these fantastic shots from the 1980’s, mostly but not exclusively, in black and white and featuring famous bands, performers and creative types.  I loved the 80’s alternative and gothy ascetics that were so pervasive in my older sibling’s comics and music collections. It always seemed impossibly cool to me , so I was thrilled to see these photographs  from the actual time (and not some reinvented version of the 80’s that have been recycled in fashion for long.)

Videodrome portrait copywrite of Steve Cook

I loved them so much I made contact with the artist and asked if I could take a shot at producing a digital drawing based on his work, to which he kindly said yes. The artist in question is none other than Steven Cook, who as it turns out, is an influential  cover designer for British comic 2000AD, and logo designer for DC and Vertigo comic lines. He’s also an avid photographer and digital artist. His photos from the 70’s to the 90’s of the UK music and T.V scenes are little jewels, but it’s his personal work with friends and models that really shine. They are often theatrical and stagey; fantastical portraits of unreal people, alternative versions of themselves in a parallel dimension.

Faux Blondie
Faux Blondie,Illustration based on a photo by Steve Cook

More recently Steve embraced the digital age and produced some stunning digital collages using vintage photographs and mixing them with elements of his own photos to produce the ‘Alternity’ dimension. This is a world where anything can and will happen, in old black and white photos spacemen are found by children on the beach, Elvis is shown alive and well as an old man in South London, and some half glimpsed sea monster’s tentacles reach for bathers on the shore. Oh, and Andy Warhol has a night in with TV and his cat.

I can’t recommend  Steve’s work enough. If you are into strange portraits of the weird and wonderful, then this one’s for you