Mondo Gets Marvelous
Exclusive look at Nightcrawler print from new Mondo show
By Richard Whittaker,
9:00AM, Fri. Dec. 11, 2015
With great power comes great responsibility. When Marvel Comics agreed to let local print experts Mondo unleash its finest artists on its universe of characters, creative director Mitch Putnam knew they had a responsibility to obscure some of the best and most underrated heroes from the House of Ideas. He said, "I don't think we said no to anybody."
Mondo has done multiple Marvel prints, both cinematic and comic, plus a one-man show by Mike Mitchell. But "Snikt Bamf Thwip: A Celebration Of Marvel Comics," opening tonight, is their first full multi-artist show in the world of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Eric Garza, Mondo's head of creative production explained that the pitch to artists was simple: "Who are your favorites – the weirder the better."
While the big names are inevitably represented, with the Captain Americas and Wolverines, Garza said, "One of the posters that we're doing is for Cloak and Dagger, and those are characters that you don't see a lot of products for them on the market." Going even deeper into the cosmos is Sonny Day from art collective We Buy Your Kids, and his take on the bizarre physical incarnation of the infinite, Eternity. Garza said, "We're complete fans of Sonny, and anything he wants to do, we're OK with."
One of the most exciting challenges and opportunities was to explore not just the diversity of Marvel characters, but to speak to its ever-increasing and diversifying fanbase. By capturing newer icons like Spider-Gwen and Captain Marvel, Putnam said, they were providing new takes on fan favorites for "not only older Marvel readers, but people who are just getting into comics now."
It's not just individual characters, but certain narratives, like the game-changing Planet Hulk, as depicted by new Mondo contributor Boneface. Garza said, "Whenever there's an artist who wants to do a storyline, that gets us really excited."
Putnam is particularly excited to show off pen-and-ink genius Becky Cloonan's version of Dark Phoenix, "which is a real breakthrough for her in terms of transferring her work to screen prints." Similarly, both he and Garza are thrilled to see Sam Wolfe Connelly's print of the swashbuckling X-man Nightcrawler on their gallery walls. Putnam said, "It's really exciting to see a gallery-style painter take on a character with such a distinct look."
"Snikt Bamf Thwip: A Celebration of Marvel Comics," Mondo Gallery, 4115 Guadalupe, Dec. 11-19. Opening night, Fri., Dec. 11, 7-10pm. Gallery hours: Tue.-Sat., noon-6pm. www.mondotees.com.