MAPS AND LEGENDS - 6
Yeah, I'm a week behind, but between the world being on fire and Thanksgiving vacation, nobody's reading that premium free content.
So let's jump into section 6 of the influence map for QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS. (And don't forget, it's available on 12/11/18.)
This is kind of the atmosphere of QUEEN OF NO TOMORROWS in a single image: the razorwire imposed over the neon, sharp materiality over a glowing and dreamlike series of images. This is a close-up shot taken at the Rialto Theatre marquee on Broadway a few years ago. It's one of the images that's stuck with me (indeed, it's the header on smoketowncomics.tumblr.com, which was the research tumblr that I set up when these stories were going to be a linked series of graphic novels. As to why that didn't happen? The simple answer is money. Unless you can draw your own pages, comics are very very expensive propositions. But maybe someday.) My photo, 2015.
Abandoned factory on San Fernando/Ave 19
Los Angeles is a city in a state of constant destruction and renewal, where abandonment and lying fallow sometimes leads to rebirth. For instance, the whole of the Theatre District in downtown. During the time of QONT, a lot of that area was a lot less civilized than it's become now. Oh sure, people still went there, but not as many, and none of them were ever tourists (which I often am.) I don't know that any such resurrection awaits this huge complex along San Fernando (really Ave 19 where it crosses…uh, some landmark). Still, it's an imposing structure, though a little sad as it's fallen to hollowing-out and broken windows and spraypaint. My photo, 2016 or 2017.
Just a shot I love, taken while walking alongside Riverside Drive in the Elysian Valley/Frogtown section of Los Angeles, which is tucked alongside the LA River and bounded by the 5 north. Right now, the place is going through rapid gentrification as offices move into warehouses. When the LA River flooded in 1938, this place was all but washed out, at least the street level. Astonishing stuff. Anyways, just liked the sense of remote and monumental from this shot. Make the familiar strange and all. My photo, 2016.
RE/Search Magazine aesthetics
I should probably do a longer piece on this, but I'll cover the basics here. RE/Search Publications was started by V. Vale of San Francisco (who'd previously run or been involved with SEARCH AND DESTROY, a tabloid size magazine of the punk era in SF, though it made it up and down the coast.) As a kid from the 'burbs, I never really saw this stuff except in glances in DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION (and that was just SLASH magazine.) But in the mid-80s, a bookstore called Amok Books opened up on Sunset, and they stocked all manner of insanity, always featuring the latest from RE/Search, and eventually spawning Feral House. RE/Search put together great-looking, minimally-designed publications that nonetheless had a very strong sense of graphic and information identity. Reading them now is a great look back into a cluster of what the underground looked like back before the internet, even before what we regard as the 'zine revolution of the 90s. That sort of solid, no-nonsense design was something I've always reached towards in my own work, at least graphics-wise.
I don't have much to say here. BLOOD MERIDIAN is one of my favorite novels, and to my eye is the quintessential American novel, laying bare the myth of noble westward expansion and showing it as a nightmarish and bloody enterprise, where often insane men didn't tame the land so much as survived it so that others might hope to civilize it, for there is no real civilization to be found in these pages. His prose is beautiful and spare and his vision uncompromising. One of the few novels I come back to and re-read on its own (this and Chandler, but we'll get to him.) And I'll confess, there's a few places in QONT where I was actively trying to do McCarthy. I won't tell you where, because they're probably too obvious and I'll only regret that later.