In Shampoo, comics artist Liam Cobb tells stories of burning houses, a sky-high rooftop pool and a love story between a scientist and his assistant working in the jungle. The comic is an experiment in tone and texture as much as it is one in story and image-making. Liam says: “I wanted to make the most of the colours and textures Risograph printing is capable of, so I came up with three stories that explore different themes and put them in one book. The colours were tricky but probably one of the most satisfying things about the book when it was finished.”
In the first, The Party, a woman who lives in a beautiful Modernist property tires of her guests and decides that the logical solution is to burn the house down, forfeiting art works, a grand piano, and hundreds of people for a bit of peace and quiet. “I wanted to draw a really nice building and then destroy it, I’m not sure why. Maybe it helped that in my mind it was full of wankers”, says Liam.
While The Party combines various tones of red and green, The Pool At 10,000 Feet tells an ambiguous story about a man and his dog’s journey through the corridors of a confusing multiplex, entirely in purple. “I was trying to get the last of my interest in dystopian sci-fi out of my system. I’m not sure if it worked in that respect, but I really enjoyed playing around with texture and ended up getting carried away.” In the final story, Two Men in the Jungle, Liam ends on a happy note, a love story between a scientist researching fungi and his assistant, Juan. “It was originally going to end in tragedy, but I decided to change it and I think it’s better for it,” he says.
Liam describes his interest as lying in the contrasts and crossovers between architecture and nature, where the sanctity of architecture is disrupted by plant, and human life. The order and chaos that characterises Shampoo, the shifts in tone – in terms of colours and storytelling – and compositional style, are marks of the confidence that derives from knowing your subject and your medium inside out.
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