In early Summer of 2008, I got an email from Keith Phipps, (editor at The Onion's AV Club) describing a book project they had in the works. It would be a book of lists, titled "INVENTORY: Sixteen Films Featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls, Ten Great Songs Ruined By Saxophone, And One Hundred More Obsessively Specific Pop Culture Lists." Undaunted's Jon Resh was designing the book, and they were hoping I could add ten spot illos to the mix. Always eager to get some more book work under my belt, I enthusiastically signed on.
Keith sent me a heap of text in the Fall, I quickly realized that I was being handed a dream job. INVENTORY's lists covered horror films, punk rock bands, comic books, cheezy films, and pretty much every other subject that gets me drooling. The Onion folks and I haggled a bit over which ten of their 100-plus lists would get illustrated, (I still get misty eyed, remembering how my bid to draw Kirk & Spock in their "Patterns of Force" Nazi drag got nixed), but ultimately, it didn't matter. There were no duds in the bunch, and however the final picks settled out, it was all good.
Having made our choices, I got started on the roughs, and I'm pleased to say that working with Keith & Jon was smooth sailing all the way. I turned in what I thought was final art on the ten B&W illos in December 2008, only to be asked for a surprise eleventh illo. The subject of this one was the Ramones and their love of recreational drugs, (again, illustration doesn't get better than this). Another last minute surprise was the revelation that the book would be printed in Cyan as well as Black. As a longtime fan of the duotone palette, I jumped at the chance to add a second color to the illos. After a day or two of Photoshop tweaks, I turned in the final (two color) art in February of 2009, and since then, I've been perched on the edge of my seat in anticipation of seeing the finished book.
It's now October of 2009. I've finally seen a freshly-printed copy of INVENTORY, and I think everyone involved with the book should be proud. My illos printed beautifully, Jon Resh's design job is spectacular, and above all, it's just a fun, FUN book! After tearing open the package and hurriedly flipping the pages to check out my illos, I found myself immediately sucked into the book's compelling contents. After spending an hour or so just enjoying the Hell out of INVENTORY, it dawned on me that this is the first book I've been involved with that I've actually wanted to read! If you're a pop culture junkie, I'm confident you'll get a kick out of it as well.
Here are four of the eleven illos I drew for INVENTORY: