|“Weird Tales of the Ramones” Box Cover Art by Jim Woodring|
In the late 1970s, Punk was very much alive in New York City. The scene was centered around a former country-and-bluegrass bar in lower Manhattan called CBGB. Possibly the most well known and influential of those bands was the Ramones, an incredibly prolific and influential (and loud) band that went on to record 21 studio and live albums and performed over 2200 concerts from 1974 to 1996.
August 16th sees the release of a rather unique box set celebrating the Ramones called “Weird Tales of the Ramones.” The release includes three CDs (85 songs), one DVD (18 videos) and a graphic novel featuring work by top comic/graphic novel artists that includes:
|Art by William Stout|
Including a 52-page original graphic novel with a line-up of talent like that is certainly a unique offering, so CBR News caught up with Rhino Records Vice President of Creative Services Hugh Brown, who also served as Art Director on this project.
To start with, Rhino had been releasing Ramones single discs in deluxe editions as well as an anthology, but guitarist Johnny Ramone always wanted a boxed set. While he knew a boxed set was in the works, unfortunately Johnny’s death on September 15th, 2004 came before they began working on it. Since the anthology contained all the nuts and bolts of the Ramones, Rhino figured they needed to go in a different direction for the boxed set. “We decided with this boxed set to do something different, in this case as a comic book. So, we have the story of the Ramones as told by comic artists,” Brown told CBR News Tuesday afternoon by phone.
The origin story of the Ramones will be told by artist John Holmstrom, who has a long history with the band. Holmstrom art directed their first cover and illustrated the back cover on their second release. Brown said you’ll also be able to find a “The Simpson’s” styled story in “Homer Meets The Ramones,” a Lichtenstein style story by Steve Romance called “Ramones Romance,” a “Weird Tales of the Ramones” story that looks like a traditional EC Comic by Bill Stouth, a 3-D section (the package includes glasses) called “3-D Toons From The Crypt” and much more.
“There’s an outside wrap by Jim Woodring,” explained Brown. “When you open the book, it’s about the size of a typical graphic novel. There’s an O card on the left side panel that has a John Pound (“Garbage Pail Kids”) illustration. In the O card you slide out another book that Bill Stout did one cover for, but if you turn it over it’s by Steve Vance!”
|Art by Steve Vance|
The book is filled with parodies and fake ads like you used to see in comics from the ’60s and ’70s and combines 24 different art styles, “…but it really hangs together nicely,” said Brown. “It’s a nice mix of true story type stuff and a bit of whimsy thrown in.”
One artist Brown was really interested in having be a part of this project was a legendary “Mad Magazine” contributor. “I really wanted to get Sergio Aragonés, but when I called him I asked if he was a fan and he said no, but he replied, ‘My daughter is'” So I sent him a DVD and a couple of references and he did one of those gigantic pictures of the Ramones on stage with like a million people in the audience. It’s fantastic. People in the office freaked out when they found out he was coming into the office. I meet tons of people, but spending time with Sergio was just fun.”
Fans in attendance at this week’s Comic-Con International in San Diego can start the Ramones fun early by visiting the Tower Records booth. They will have on sale a silk screened poster featuring artwork by Aragonés, plus three giclees by Shaw!, Stout and Vance. All of these will be limited editions of 100.
In addition, Rhino will have post cards available at the Tower booth featuring the artwork of 10 different artists available for you to track down and have signed. Aragonés, Vance and Shaw! will be signing at the Tower Records table from 3:00 – 4:00 PM on Saturday afternoon.
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