The Comica Festival will unveil Dave Gibbons' giant print satirising Roy Lichtenstein's 'WHAAM!' at Central Saint Martins, King's Cross, London, Saturday 20th April.
'WHAAM!' by Roy Lichtenstein is Pop Art's most famous appropriation of comic book panels. It is currently the toast of London as the star attractions a massive Lichtenstein retrospective at Tate Modern. But what about the unsung, underpaid artist who drew the panel he used?
Dave Gibbons, illustrator and co-creator with Alan Moore of Watchmen, has re-appropriated Roy’s original source for his iconic painting 'WHAAM!' and turned the spotlight back onto the brilliant illustrator, Irv Novick, who produced it in the DC war comic book All-American Men of War.
Gibbons has used Novick’s original composition to make 'WHAAT?', his own version of the panel, by removing none of Novick’s original elements. He has also stayed true to the full original script in both caption and balloon, probably written by editor Robert Kanigher, and to the design and placement of letterer Gaspar Saladino’s lettering and sound effects. Gibbons wittily turns WHAAM!’ into ‘WHAAT?’ and the missing onomatopoeia of the missile firing, ‘WHOOSH!’, into the telling question, ‘WHOOSE?’. And all those red dots are actually dollar signs!
Gibbons explains, “I drew the piece in Adobe Illustrator using vectors, so it can be enlarged to any size and still stay pin-sharp. I intend to do one huge enlarged version. The idea would be to present it in as much the same way as the Lichtenstein version as we could. I will then sell it and donate the profits to the Hero Initiative.”
It’s an appropriate charity, as its proceeds go to help comics professionals who need financial assistance. Gibbons has had this giant print specially made, and will also raise funds by signing a smaller limited edition prints of this image, available shortly.
Meanwhile, his controversial large blow-up of 'WHAAT?' goes on show to the public for the first time on Saturday April 20th as part of Comica Festival, a whole day of exhibits, interviews, live-drawing, competitions and a massive independent comics fair, from 11.00am to 7.00pm in The White Lab, at Central Saint Martins, King's Cross, London, admission free.
• For details please see: www.comicafestival.com and http://paulgravett.com/index.php/articles/article/the_principality_of_lichtenstein