Posts Tagged ‘beatnik’

Howl!

Posted: December 17, 2014 by Kristilyn Waite in Art
Tags: , , , , , , ,

howl

How would you illustrate Howl? Allen Ginsberg’s legendary 1956 poetic ode to humanity, seminal in content and controversy, is written so excitably, teeming with vivid imagery, so simultaneously horrific and beautiful… where would you begin? Ginsberg enlisted Eric Drooker, a New York City street artist whose work he had been collecting for over a decade. Kindred in proletariat spirit, and experience, the two would collaborate on various projects. For Illuminated Poems, Drooker illustrated a collection of Ginsberg’s writings, including Howl. Howl: A Graphic Novel, published in 2010 by Harper Perennial, features another take on that endeavor, Drooker’s animation art created for the 2010 motion picture.

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Cover courtesy of fandomania.com

Cover courtesy of fandomania.com

While each of Aesop’s fables offers a moral lesson, the collective body of work attributed to him paints a comprehensive picture of the human condition that remains remarkably accurate, even today. The Ant and the Grasshopper, circa 550 BCE, juxtaposed the fates of a pragmatic ant and an improvident grasshopper, neither of whose polarized approaches toward living ends very well. In May 1960, Harvey Kurtzman’s take on the tale was published as a tiny strip in Esquire magazine, illustrating the culture clash between the beatnik movement and mainstream society. As with much great art, Kurtzman’s The Grasshopper and the Ant disappeared into the proverbial ether where it remained for over forty years. Lucky for us in the here and now, BOOM! Town has re-released a larger formatted and hard covered edition, much better for posterity.

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