Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Awaiting the Collapse by Paul Kirchner

Awaiting the Collapse
by Paul Kirchner
Tanibis Editions 2017

If you read High Times, Heavy Metal, or Epic Illustrated at all during the mid 70s to early 80s, then you surely are familiar with the artwork of Paul Kirchner. Until last year a compilation of Kirchner's work from that era simply didn't exist, forcing fans of his art to scrounge among old magazines and scans to get the goods.

Now comes 'Awaiting the Collapse' from European publisher Tanibis Editions. While it's not the most complete collection of Kirchner's work, it comes close.

This is a quality hardbound book, measuring 12.5 x 9.8 inches, with good reproductions of the artwork.

All of Kirchner's 'Dope Rider' strips from obscure indie magazines and High Times from the 70s and 80s are present here. I had never before had access to these strips (scans of the back catalog of the magazine don't really exist) and thus, seeing them here uncensored and (in some cases) redone in full color is rewarding.

Also present are just about all of Kirchner's comics from Heavy Metal and Epic Illustrated: classics like 'Tarot', 'Hive', and 'Critical Mass of Cool'. 

Along with material from High Times and Heavy Metal, 'Awaiting the Collapse' features all of the covers Kirchner did in the 70s for the Al Goldstein sleaze tabloid Screw. Additionally, the book collects some softcore porn strips Kirchner did for National Screw (a short-lived spinoff title) and other porno mags.

As far as 'bonus' material is concerned, 'Awaiting' features a never-published comic titled 'Arena'.

For reasons that are unclear, 'The Mirror of Dreams', from the December 1981 issue of Heavy Metal, and one of Kirchner's best comics, doesn't appear in 'Awaiting'.

One of the more interesting sections of the book is its Postscript, where Kirchner recounts his adventures as an up-and-coming graphic artist during the early 70s, working with comics legends like Wally Wood and Neal Adams. Kirchner assisted the former with a number of strips for different publishers, including Creepy

In the Postscript Kirchner also provides an in-depth description of his technical approach to drawing and composing comics and illustrations.

Summing up, 'Awaiting the Collapse' is a valuable book for fans of Kirchner's art; devotees of graphic and comic art in general; and those who treasure 70s and 80s 'stoner' culture and its memorable magazines. 

Sadly, weasel-minded speculators are trying to sell the book for $96 (!) at amazon. My advice is to order a signed copy directly from Kirchner at eBay for $29.99 plus $4 shipping. 


fred said...

No mention of "The Bus"? Still sounds like a pretty cool book.


tarbandu said...

Editions Tanibis has published Kirchner's 'Bus' strips in two books: 'The Bus', and 'The Bus 2', which presents his work on the strip since 2013.

fred said...

ok cool, thanks!

Paul Kirchner said...

Thanks for this review! I came across it when I did a Google search to identify the cause of a recent bump in sales.

I have been very happy working with Claude Amauger of Tanibis. He is meticulous and produces an excellent product. We have a few more in the works: a collection of my new strip, "Hieronymus & Bosch," some of which appeared at the Adult Swim website in the comics section; a French edition of "Murder by Remote Control"; and eventually a dedicated Dope Rider collection. In January 2015 Dope Rider returned to High Times as a one-page monthly feature, so within a year or two we'll have enough to fill a volume. I've been putting them on-line a few months after publication at my Dope Rider blog.

I let Claude make the choices for what was included in the anthology and he wanted to give an equal balance to different areas of my work. This is why "Mirror of Dreams" was not included, nor were all my Screw covers. (Anyway, not all the Screw covers were worth including.)