Krent Able basically takes all of those dark, disturbing ideas you and I may have every once in a while, the weird ones that pop up in dreams, the ones you don’t tell anyone about, and then he makes comics out of them. Lots of comics.
And they all feature household names of the music industry doing things that household names of the music industry really, really shouldn’t be doing. How does he get away with it? No idea, although I’m sure it helps that he’s actually very, very good, a fabulous artist, mixing enough comedy in with the grotesque to temper it.
Able’s work work is chock full of dark, weird, disturbing things, all body fluids, sex, blood, guts, gore, and lots of musicians doing lots of things that would have the Daily Mail exploding with self-righteous mock-indignation. Seriously, just look again at the cover – from the top and going clockwise, that’s Nick Cave, Courtney Love, Lily Allen, and 50-cent having all manner of bad, bad things happen to their persons right there. But no law suits yet, which is somewhat strange given the content involved.
So, here’s the frontispiece to give you an idea of the cast of characters, and some of the tomfoolery you’ll find in the pages … spot the familiar faces, the weaponry, the gore, the blood, the aggresive sexualisation in amongst the weirdness….
You may already be familiar with Krent Able and these characters, as this collection rounds up everything he’s done every couple of months in The Stool Pigeon music paper, and we cover that here at the FPI blog because of its very strong comics section.
So I already had a fine idea of what was in the book and how weirdly enjoyable it would be. And yes, it works as a collection, just 64-pages, but sometimes, especially when dealing with these 1-4 page strips of ceaseless shocks and disturbingly funny chunks of insanity, it’s a good thing not to outstay a welcome.
Okay, a couple of the earlier strips are a little ropey, as the artist struggles a little to find his form and his voice, but bloody hell, do they pick up quickly, and lets not forget this is Able’s first real pro job, he was unpublished when the first strip appeared in The Stool Pigeon. Within a few pages he’s hit his stride, and after a while there’s no indication of how early or late these things appeared at all, they’re just all in a really polished style, albeit polish wrapped in bodily fluids and gore…
Able’s no respecter of age, talent, or status either, as legendary music icons such as The Beach Boys, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Iggy Pop, Kraftwerk, Johnny Cash all get just the same treatment as young pop prima donnas Timberlake, Kanye West, 50-cent, Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga et al. No one is safe.
But the real star of the book is Nick Cave. Or rather Doctor Cave, reinvented quite brutally, quite brilliantly by Able – this is Nick Cave the bad, bad doctor, dishing out the pain and misery someone in his position is able to, but doing so with a peculiar sort of Nick Cave disdain.
Oh, and that name….. there’s a suitably disturbed reasoning for that….
“Krent Able was the name of my imaginary childhood friend – he used to encourage me to do bad things, unnatural acts etc. so I thought it was fitting that I used his name for the comics. He’s 3 and a half feet tall, has big Spock ears and teeth like a wild boar.”
Krent Able’s Big Book Of Mischief is published by Knockabout at the end of October. It will be a blast. There are so many great things I want to tell you about, so many wonderful images I want to share…. but no, maybe not here on the FPI Blog.
Should you wish to glimpse a few of the really weird things going on in his brain, complete with an image of Lady Gaga that I simply can’t get out of my head, and a phrase from Alison Goldfrapp that is never going to leave my memory, no matter how dementia riddled my brain gets – head to this interview with Able at Beardrock, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. Just to give you an idea of what you’re getting into here’s Able from the interview….
“Mind you, I don’t think you really see that many awful things in my comics- most of it is implied, or out of shot. Sexual stuff often seems to be funnier if you let the reader imagine it, and play around with the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, like they used to have to do in old films. For example, in the Lou Reed story, you don’t actually need to see the tip of Lou’s penis penetrating the monkey’s furry butt. I do enjoy drawing violence though, and I try to get all the details of the brains and intestines correct –I studied drawing anatomy, with corpses as models, in art school. They have the same colour and texture as spring rolls. If only they tasted as good!”
And he’s sort of right. There isn’t that much terrible stuff going on directly, not in your face stuff. Like the best gore, or the best body horror stuff this is all about pulling away at key moments and letting the reader fill in the very worst they can imagine. However, even with that proviso, I don’t recommend putting this one on Great Aunt Edna’s Christmas list. Not unless Great Aunt Edna has a colourful past and a history of depravity. But if you’re up for a little off the wall depravity, wrapped up in some fine cartooning, Krent Able’s got a big book full of mischief just for your eyes.
And if you can get yourselves down to that there London town, Gosh have a launch event for the book in November: