SpiderBaby Archives: The JSC Years, 1974-76; Back in the Future, Panel2Panel Swamp Thing Bookplate Signed & Ready to Ship…By srbissette on February 27th, 2009
Posted In: News
Here’s the actual bookplates for PaneltoPanel.net printed from the “Underwater Rendevous” color piece — they were all signed and delivered to John Rovnak at PaneltoPanel.net over a week ago.
This Swamp Thing book plate is available to you exclusively from PaneltoPanel.net –
This is by far the best-looking, truest-to-the-original-printings reprint volume DC has ever offered of our Swamp Thing run — and the first-ever reprint of Alan Moore’s true first issue of the series, Saga of the Swamp Thing #20.
There’s a limited number of signed bookplates, so don’t wait — order your copy today!
(Swamp Thing is © and TM DC Comics, Inc.; artwork ©2008 SR Bissette, all rights reserved.)
Digging back into the SpiderBaby archives, I’ve got a stash of my Johnson State College published works to share with you over the next few days.
This is hopefully of interest to enough of you to justify the posts and jaunts down memory lane — and serve to show my own students at CCS that yes, I did and do draw something other than grotesques, monsters and creepy shit from time to time. In fact, some of these vintage works show another direction altogether I was headed as an artist, and influences that still inform my work in less overt ways. You can also see how badly I needed the new arenas and paths Joe Kubert and the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art opened for me immediately after my time at Johnson State College (hereafter JSC).
All of this work (unless otherwise indicated) was drawn and printed during my two years+ at JSC in Johnson, Vermont, between September 1974 and August 1976 (I spent my final summer at JSC tutoring incoming students as part of the JSC summer program — and a sweet, fine summer it was, too).
First up is one of the many dance and theater programs I designed and illustrated during my time at JSC. At the time I was at JSC, Ken and Becca Kulp/Smith were heading up the dance company, providing a remarkable spiritual anchor and expansive, experimental adventurousness that spilled into the entire theater department. I miss them; I gave Ken my precious copy of the Gil Melle The Andromeda Strain soundtrack LP around this time, which he coveted. I don’t think it ever graced one of their dance performances at JSC, but you never know.
Above is the front cover of the program, and on the right is the back cover; it was a trifold program, and I hand-drew and hand-cut the color separations, using zipatone to layer the blue and sepia portions of the artwork. Not too shabby, and an essentially self-taught skill at this point. Once I was at the Kubert School (fall of ’76) and bonding with Rick Veitch, Rick taught me a number of skills I didn’t have at this time — but still, not too bad, given my amateur artist status.
My sole copy of the program had been crushed at some point, hence the vertical creases that might be visible on some monitors. I don’t have a copy of the poster, alas, which was a variation on this same design with the phantom dancers emerging from the water to soar into the layered skies.
I’m not sure when this particular production graced the glorious Dibden Theater stage, but judging from my clunky anatomical drawing skills (my God, look at the ridiculous build on that ectoplasmic woman, and those funky legs on all the figures!), I’d guess this is from sometime in 1975 or very early ’76.
A lot of memories here for me, though I’m not going to post the entire program — I hand-lettered much of it, and the names prompts a rush of faces, voices, bodies in motion and lots of great tunes (“Music by the Ersatz Bros. Pure Snazz Jug Band”).
Though I did the poster and program for this show, my involvement with the Johnson Dance Company was usually finding me working behind the scenes on the stage lighting chores. I was a grunt climbing the scaffolding and hanging lights, and occasionally was at the light board (though that usually was John Mabry’s department, if memory serves).
Having studied under my JSC advisor, mentor, guru and good friend Dick Emerson, my work on the dance performances was pretty important to me at the time. Dick taught me a great deal about lighting and color, all of which informed my artwork (and still does to this day).
Per usual, there was a comradre between all involved in these productions, but there was also a tribal mentality that defined the respective camps — the dancers (named below, along with the rest of the tech crew; that’s my hand lettering from the same program) were one tribe, and we tech folks were quite another. I was friends with some of the dancers, but had much closer friendships with the tech crew — Ann King, Spedelstein, Scott Sampietro, Mabre, Soko (aka ‘Sokrates’ aka Roland Jost), Bill Price, and especially Jack Venooker, who was my roommate and among my best friends throughout these years.
A couple of other names on this program require attention: among the ‘special thanks’ is Tim Vierick [sic], who financed my first-ever published comicbook project Abyss, and David Robitille, who was one of my art teachers at Harwood Union High School.
More to come!
Comments are most welcome, particularly if you’re among the old JSC circle…
(This archival artwork is ©1975-76 SR Bissette, renewed © 2009 SR Bissette, all rights reserved.)