Some things are not easy. Like looking up for a long time without blinking or making the leap of imagination to understand what place Jim Stoten’s characters could possibly arrive from – doubly hard then that the latter induces the former. Thankfully it’s also very easy to get lost in his work – Jim is both eyeball melter and a consummate pro in the illustration world as his work spans the comic-book-editorial-clothing-music artwork-print spectrum with a psychedelic irreverence. This week he offers us insight into his world by way of five books from his shelves…
Kramer’s Ergot 5 Sammy Harkham and friends
I loved this book when I got it and now I love it so much that if I were to ever lose it somehow, it would genuinely make me cry. It is wonderfully strange. It took me a couple of years before I realised that it actually says Kramer’s Ergot 5 on the spine. It’s beautifully printed, and the comic strips are strange and funny and excellently made. I always end up reading the whole thing whenever I pick it up.
25 Cats names Sam and one Blue Pussy/Holy Cats Andy Warhol
I picked this up in an old book shop in Istanbul and when I found it I couldn’t quite believe what I was holding. I had never heard of it before – it’s actually two books in a lovely multi-coloured box. One is called 25 Cats named Sam and one Blue Pussy, which is lots of drawings of cats on different coloured paper. The drawings are quick and naive and more like sketches made with a genuine love (of loads) of cats. The other book is called Holy Cats and is by Andy Warhol and his mother. Enough said there I think.
The Brand New Monty Python Bok Monty Python
This book contains lovely old photos of the Monty Python gang during their sketches and behind the scenes and just mucking about. It also has some really brilliant weird inserts including a small leaflet called Norman Henderson’s Diary by Eric Henderson and Sex Craft for Happy Relationships. Terry Gilliam’s drawings feature heavily. It’s printed on yellowing paper and it feels like a treasure.
Ninja Brian Chippendale
First of all, this is giant. It’s A3 and the cover is insanely colourful. It is a compendium of comic strips that follow the adventures of a ninja. The strips were started by Chippendale when he was a kid, when the ninja was just fighting people and gathering treasures in a small cave. Chippendale then continued the adventures as a grown-up where the adventures become more twisted and broken.
Yellow Submarine Max Wilk
This is a funny little thing. It is in the format of a Penguin paperback, but the pages are printed in colour and it is almost entirely made of drawings and sketches from the Yellow Submarine. I thought I had the first edition, but I have since learnt that the first edition comes with a glitter pen line drawing under the title of the book. I have been looking and looking but still have not found one. This one will do for now.
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