Monday 7 November 2011

What Goes Round Comes Around - Roger Brand Revisited

About a year and a half ago I made a posting under the title Roger Brand and The Curse of the Green Death. The cautionary tale of the decline and fall of this comics genius was sourced from a variety of accounts and anecdotes and subsequent to it's appearance I have been put right on a variety of factual errors. The first of these to surface was the fact that the splash panel featured in the tale The Haunted Sky was in fact drawn by Dan Adkins, but that was a minor (ish) deviation from the truth as compared to some of the other assertions that I erroneously reinforced from my evidently shaky sources.

What alerted me to this departure from actualite as opposed to the myth that I was unconsciously reinforcing, was a flurry of visits to this post over the weekend and a comment from Michele Wrightson on the posting in question.

Further exploration led me to the most fascinating and revelatory blog on Roger Brand which is an absolute must visit. On the Comics Journal blog and titled A Lousy Week For Woods (Remembering Roger Brand) and brilliantly written by the one and only Kim Deitch it contains photos of both Roger and Michele along with samples of his artwork which adds so much more to the understanding of Roger Brand and his work than my feeble effort did.

However that's not the end of it as Kim's article has acted as a catalyst for what amounts to a collective catharthis as friends and colleagues of Roger Brand, step forward with their own reminiscences of this amazing man.

I would strongly urge anyone remotely interested in Roger Brand's life and work as well as the development of the underground comics scene to check out this incredible posting.

P.S. There is also a Flickr page featuring the work of photographer Clay Geerdes which you can access at this link, where you will find more photos of both Roger and Michele along with many other underground comix artists from the early 1970's.


  1. I remember your original post very clearly, Peter, and Kim Deitch's article is a marvellously written and very moving account. I am still not as familiar as I ought to be with Roger Brand's work - I can at least dig out that copy of Web of Horror #2 and take another look.

  2. Aha Dave (hope you are reading this in the voice of Peter Cook's E. L. Wistry) but I fear you will be wasting your time with Web of Horror Issue 2.

    Here's the contents list for that issue:

    Jones painted cover & back cover = **
    Reese inside front cover pencils and inks = **
    "Mother Toad" Wrightson story pencils and inks 5 pages = ***
    "Breathless" Wrightson story pencils and inks 7 pages = ****
    "Sea of Graves" Kaluta story pencils and inks 7 pages = ****
    "Web of Horror comic art contest" Kaluta pencils and inks 2 pages = ***
    "Man Plant from the Tomb" Reese story pencils and inks 6 pages = **

    In fact although Roger Brand would have been a perfect recruit to the pages of Web of Horror, he didn't illustrate any of the stories for that title - would have been great if he had though...

  3. We must have different copies, Peter. (Is that possible? I know the magazine had a chequered production, but...) Anyway, I have it here in front of me and it includes the stories you list there plus two others. One is "The Un-Masking" (a 6-pager drawn by Alfred Payan, allegedly, though it looks to me like old Warren stalwart Tony Williamsune), and the other is a 6-pager "Ashes to Ashes" written by Ron Barlow and illustrated by Roger Brand - and indeed 'tis no mistake, for the splash panel is signed "Roger Brand '69". The art does suffer from the over-heavy inking technique that Kim Deitch refers to in the article, and I would say looks rather rushed compared to Brand's best work, so maybe his sad decline was well advanced by this stage.

  4. Dammit you're right Dave. Many apologies, as mentioned in a much earlier posting my Web of Horrors are MIA and I've been reduced to seeking out the stories on the erm ... Web. My source which included a listing was evidently incomplete.

    The irony is (hangs his head in shame at this point) that the image that appears on this posting is from that self same story Ashes to Ashes.

    With every passing day I feel more and more like Count Arthur Strong.

    Terrible state of affairs...