Tag Archives: Bob Dylan art

Bob Dylan comic books: three little-known rarities

Bob Dylan comic books

Bob Dylan comic books: Rock N’ Roll Comics #50 © Revolutionary Comics 1992

The three Bob Dylan comic books published in the Rock N’ Roll Comics series in 1992 are pretty rare.  And they are little-known: I stumbled across them for the first time a month ago – nearly a quarter of a century after they were published.

Bob Dylan comic books are a growing niche, increasingly popular among Dylan collectors. Most of the recent titles are best described as graphic biographies. They are modern, hardback, long-form books, rather than the traditional thin, paper bound magazines like Rock N’ Roll Comics.

Rock N’ Roll Comics pioneered a cartoon approach to their biographies of musicians, including their three on Bob Dylan.  They were an imprint of Revolutionary Comics (slogan: “Unauthorized and proud of it”) of San Diego, California. The company also published comic book series on pop music and sport, notably baseball. Sadly, it went out of business in 1994.

As a collector of Dylan books, I bought the three Bob Dylan comic books because I was intrigued to find out whether mixing genres – applying the avowedly lowbrow Batman-type treatment to a serious subject like Dylan – would work.  It does.

These three comic books are rare – and little-known – certainly to this English collector. They are delightful artefacts – collectable Bob Dylan art at a cut-down price.

All three Bob Dylan comic books in the series were written by Jay Allen Sanford and illustrated by Blackwell. Scott Pentzer painted the cover of #50; it’s not clear who did the other two covers.

Bob Dylan comic books #1: Kingdom Come (1961-1965)

Bob Dylan, Part One: Kingdom Come (1961-1965), Rock N’ Roll Comics #50, August 1992 tells the story well of peak period Dylan.  And it has the most striking cover (above) of the three.

Bob Dylan comic books #2: The Jester’s Thorny Crown (1966-1976)

Bob Dylan comic books

Bob Dylan comic books: Rock N’ Roll Comics #51 © Revolutionary Comics 1992

Bob Dylan, Part Two: The Jester’s Thorny Crown (1966-1976), Rock N’ Roll Comics #51, Sept 1992 handles a complex decade of Dylan’s development with assurance. To my eyes, its cover is the weakest of the three.

Bob Dylan comic books #3: Hard Rain A Comin’

Bob Dylan, Part Three: Hard Rain A Comin’, Rock N’ Roll Comics #52, Oct 1992, the concluding part of the Bob Dylan comic books trilogy, is my least favourite.  But it’s still good enough to make you wish for a sequel to bring the story up to date.

The cover of #52 has a wistful, middle-aged Bob, looking perplexed, staring into the distance. You’ll probably know where it originated.

Bob Dylan comic books

Bob Dylan comic books: Rock N’ Roll Comics #52, © Revolutionary Comics 1992

Bob Dylan comic books: overview

These three comic books are worthwhile additions to any Bob Dylan art library: as a collector, I’m pleased to have acquired them.

The Rock N’ Roll Comics concept – comics for grown-up music fans – is both ambitious and compelling. It elevates the art of the comic book above the pulp level aimed at children or poor adult readers. The comic books tackle serious subjects, give them context and present them in a format which will satisfy even the demanding reader.

You could take the view that, judged against the best books on the musician, these Bob Dylan comic books are relatively weak – presenting a slightly juvenile, dumbed-down version of the Dylan story.  But judged on their own terms, as cheap pulp non-fiction extolling a cult figure revered by a cult audience, they work well.

Bob Dylan comic books: the words

The comics’ texts give you a reasonable summary of a (then) 30-year career, covering many key aspects of the musician’s life and achievements.

The device of inserting “Chronolog” sidebars on each page enriches the Dylan narrative – they contextualise his creativity through a (US-centric) diary of what else was happening at the time.

The text of the comic books isn’t the strongest, however.  The dialogue doesn’t always flow like natural speech. And there’s the odd factual error – Dylan’s 1962 trip to London to record Madhouse on Castle Street was for a BBC TV show (not a radio show, as claimed).

Spelling errors occasionally pop out – “wierd”, “recieved”, “disguarded”, “course-ground”… .

Bob Dylan comic books: the pictures

The best illustrations in the three books are impressive. I enjoyed the quartet of startled folkies realising that they’d stumbled into a rock show at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

Overall, though, the illustrations are a mixed bag. Bob Dylan can often seem like a different person from page to page. And you occasionally need the text to work out that you’re looking at The Beatles… Mick Jagger… The Band… .

The art doesn’t match the excellence of the three comic books reviewed here a few weeks ago.

But comic books in general have moved on since 1992. Series like Rock N’ Roll Comics were necessarily produced at a great lick, to tight deadlines.  More modern comic book creators can lavish more attention and take longer over their work.  Hence, the books cost more to produce.  And are more expensive.

The cover artwork of the three Bob Dylan comics is variable. The first cover of the trio (#50), head and shoulders of Dylan looking arrogant, smoking, with a background of him walking the streets, somewhat wistfully, is my favourite.  Number 51 is the weakest. Number 52 is an attractive reworking of the album cover of Under The Red Sky.

This rarely seen trio of Bob Dylan comic books is both desirable and collectable.

It’s complemented by issues in the series covering several key rock bands, notably The Rolling Stones (#6), Led Zeppelin (#13), The Doors (#26 and 27) and The Grateful Dead.

If you know of similar Bob Dylan comic books from other publishers, please share your expert knowledge with readers of ROCK ART EDITIONS – Leave a reply at the top of this post. Thanks in advance,

Copyright: Rock N’ Roll Comics covers #50, #51 and #52 © Revolutionary Comics 1992; photos © Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2015; text © Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2015. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Bob Dylan mural: bravo Minneapolis!

Bob Dylan mural in Minnneapolis, Minnesota, USA

New Bob Dylan mural in Minneapolis, MN © Eduardo Kobra/StarTribune/Tom Sweeney 2015

A wonderful new Bob Dylan mural has just been unveiled: bravo Minneapolis!

The enormous Bob Dylan mural, realised in a just couple of weeks, is now the world’s largest, most impressive piece of Bob Dylan-related art. It also becomes the planet’s most prominent, most exciting piece of public rock art.

The new Bob Dylan mural is a fine work. Its composition, portraying three different Bob Dylans, sensibly resists the temptation to show Dylan only in his mid-1960s pomp. It reflects the fact that Bob Dylan has been a major creative force for over half a century. Good call.

Its enormous scale, vibrant colour palette and mixture of realistic portraiture and abstract embellishment make it a pleasure to look at.

Its prominent location lends the Bob Dylan mural an appropriate grandeur. You wouldn’t miss it while pounding the city streets. According to StarTribune, the Minneapolis daily newspaper, you can see the new Bob Dylan mural on the corner of 5th Street and Hennepin Avenue.

Fans of rock art – and Bob Dylan – are indebted to artist Eduardo Kobra and his team for delivering such a striking piece. And to Goldman Sachs, owners of the wall, and Hennepin Theatre Trust, who managed the project.

The lovely photo (above) by Tom Sweeney captures the piece in its virgin state and places it in context, its urban setting in Minneapolis. The StarTribune has a gallery of photos of the Bob Dylan mural in various stages of completion. It’s a telling, historic sequence of pictures. They would make the centrepiece of a fine collectable book celebrating the magnificent artwork.

Bob Dylan mural – the world’s premier public rock artwork?

But is the new Bob Dylan mural really the world’s premier public rock artwork?

Well, I can’t think of a better piece. Can you?

Public rock art is a newish medium. So there’s not much competition. Not yet. Rock musicians are being celebrated in public artwork, as more towns and cities around the world start chasing the tourist dollar. The new Bob Dylan mural could persuade many other communities to celebrate their local musical heroes.

In London, the pieces of street rock art I’m familiar with include: Amy Winehouse statue in Camden; Billy Fury mural in nearby West Hampstead; Smiths mural on the South Bank; and numerous blue plaques such as that commemorating Bob Marley’s brief stay in Bloomsbury.

If you know of other public artworks in your part of the world, please Leave a reply, above, and I’ll be pleased to cover them in ROCK ART EDITIONS. Thanks in advance.

Copyright: artwork © Eduardo Kobra 2015; photograph © StarTribune/Tom Sweeney 2015; text © Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2015. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Bob Dylan art: to buy or not to buy?

The launch of three signed limited edition prints from Bob Dylan The Brazil Series will be tempting some readers of ROCK ART EDITIONS to consider becoming owners of Bob Dylan art for the first time.

To buy or not to buy?

If you’re one of those who thinks carefully before parting with £1,000+, here’s a list of questions you might ask yourself before deciding.

Bob Dylan art: Boxing Gym 2015

Boxing Gym, Bob Dylan The Brazil Series © Bob Dylan/Castle Galleries 2015

First, you need to decide why you’d buy a limited edition print by Bob Dylan – are you an art lover, a Dylan fan/collector, or an investor?

Bob Dylan art for lovers of paintings

Would you be buying Bob Dylan art because you love paintings?

If so, you might ask yourself a supplementary question: why buy Bob Dylan art when you could buy a limited edition print by, say, Chagall, Miro or even Picasso for a similar price? Or when you could buy a couple of dozen high quality reproductions of masterpieces of Western art for under £1,000?

Bob Dylan art for fans/collectors

Would you be buying Bob Dylan art because you’re a fan or collector of all things Dylan?

If yes, would you rather buy a limited edition print of a Bob Dylan painting than, say, a rare pressing of the Freewheelin’ LP, or a mint copy from the original print run of one of the famous posters, or a limited edition photograph by, say, Daniel Kramer or Elliott Landy, or a first edition copy of Bob Dylan Writings And Drawings?

If you’d be buying a print simply to obtain Bob Dylan’s autograph, you’d certainly be saving yourself a lot of fruitless effort. Securing Dylan’s autograph by presenting him in person with a pen and piece of paper is well-nigh impossible. Dylan’s security cordon is commendably tight: you’d never get near enough to ask for his autograph.

But Dylan’s autograph is no longer rare – it’s circulating on many thousands of limited edition prints. Is £1,000+ a competitive price for a Dylan signature?

Bob Dylan art

Man On A Bridge, Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank Series © Bob Dylan 2008

Which piece of Bob Dylan art would you buy? Fans/collectors can now choose from a wide selection. Bob Dylan art targeted at Everyman first became available in 2008, with several images in The Drawn Blank Series. Publishers Castle Galleries/Halcyon/Washington Green have added a new range of images from the same series every year since.

And now they’re also offering the first three prints from The Brazil Series – Ranchers, Boxing Gym and Favela Villa Broncos. More images from the Brazil Series will surely come. They’re all very different from the publisher’s Bob Dylan The Drawn Blank series.

Bob Dylan art for investors

You want to buy Bob Dylan art for investment? You read reports that Christie’s, New York just set a new auction record, selling Les Femmes d’Alger by Picasso for a gravity-defying $179m. So investing in art is a no-brainer, right?

Wrong!

If I was considering buying Bob Dylan art for investment, I’d ask myself a number of hard questions, including:

* which pieces of Bob Dylan art, from which of his ten series, should I buy?
* what return would I hope to make? Over what period?
* is there an after-market for limited edition prints by Bob Dylan?
* how, exactly, would I sell a piece or a portfolio of Bob Dylan art?
* how “limited” is a limited edition on offer?
* how likely is it that more versions of an image will be released?
* how much more Bob Dylan art will be offered for sale?
* will new releases dilute the value of my holding?
* rather than buying relatively low value Bob Dylan limited editions, should I buy Bob Dylan originals (at considerably higher prices) instead?
* are other types of Bob Dylan collectable more saleable?
* do other examples of rock art – eg Mick Jagger portraits by canonical artists like Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton – have a better investment potential?
* would I be better off investing in limited edition prints by more celebrated 20thC artists – Matisse, Leger, Miro et al?
* how many pieces of Bob Dylan art would I need to make up a worthwhile investment portfolio?
* would I be better off investing in other, more conventional asset classes – property, shares, savings account… ?
* would I get more satisfaction from a holiday in California or the French Riviera, or from buying that new carbon fibre road bike I’ve been lusting after… ?

Mick Jagger by And Warhol

Mick Jagger 1975 © Andy Warhol 1975

Bob Dylan art: to buy or not to buy?

These are some of the many questions that a novice buyer of Bob Dylan art might consider. You’ll have other questions – please share them with readers of ROCK ART EDITIONS by posting a comment via the Leave a Reply button at the top of this post.

In the end, of course, it’s a personal choice. Only you can decide whether or not you should buy Bob Dylan art. And whether that art should be a signed limited edition print from the new Bob Dylan The Brazil Series.

Your call. Good luck!

Details of the three new prints from Bob Dylan The Brazil Series: Castle Galleries.

Copyright: images as indicated; text © Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS 2015. Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.

Bob Dylan art: the Brazil Series – three new signed, limited edition prints

Bob Dylan art: The Brazil Series

Bob Dylan art – Favela Villa Broncos, The Brazil Series © Bob Dylan/Castle Galleries 2015

Bob Dylan art is ever more accessible.

Castle Galleries, publishers of the Bob Dylan Drawn Blank Series, have just released three signed, limited edition prints from a new collection, Bob Dylan The Brazil Series.

The three images, Medium format in giclee on paper, are: Ranchers and Boxing Gym (both portrait, 15.5″ x 23.5″) and Favela Villa Broncos (landscape, 24″ x 18″).  They are £1,110 each, unframed/£1,250 each, framed.

They’re also available as a portfolio of three prints (£2,950).  All four products are signed and come in numbered limited editions of 295.

Bob Dylan art: The Brazil Series – background

Following The Drawn Blank Series, Bob Dylan art changed direction, with a very different looking collection, The Brazil Series.  The Brazil pictures are bolder, more sombre examples of Bob Dylan art – more socially engaged, more concerned with groups of people.

Clearly conceived as a collection, The Brazil Series of paintings (acrylics on canvas) and drawings (pencil on paper) was exhibited at Museum for Kunst, Kopenhagen, National Gallery of Denmark, September 2010-February 2011.

Bob Dylan art - The Brazil Series Copenhagen exhibition catalogue 2010

Exhibition Catalogue © Bob Dylan/Museum for Kunst, Kopenhagen/Prestel 2010

The catalogue for Bob Dylan The Brazil Series has nearly 50 images – 80% were displayed in the Copenhagen exhibition. The hardback catalogue – highly recommended – has been popping up for some time in remainder shops: I spotted a pile in Oxford’s The Last Bookshop, discounted to £3 each, last October.

You can see where The Brazil Series fits within the growing body of Bob Dylan art in this ROCK ART EDITIONS guide to his first ten series.

The Brazil Series prints are available online from Castle Galleries, selected outlets in its High St chain (eg Cardiff and Cambridge) and some independent art retailers such as Hawthorn Gallery, in Stalybridge, Cheshire.

Coming soon on ROCK ART EDITIONS: Bob Dylan art: The Brazil Series – to buy or not to buy?

 

Copyright: images Bob Dylan and Castle Galleries, Museum for Kunst, Kopenhagen/Prestel; text Gerald Smith, ROCK ART EDITIONS.  Unauthorised reproduction prohibited.