Welcome to the fourth entry in this ten part Top 100 Mondo Prints. Make sure to check out the posts covering entries 100-91 and 90-81 and 80-71 and 70-61 and 60-51 and 50-41 and 40-31 and 30-21 and 20-11 and 10-1.
70. The HBO TV Series Westworld has brought a haunting world of science fiction to life in all its multi-million dollar glory, but for many, Michael Crichton’s original film remains the holy grail of robot western theme parks gone awry stories. Yul Brynner’s somewhat emotionless expression helps evoke that feeling of hopelessness as the theme park spirals out of control.
Methane Studios captures Brynner’s memorable gaze, replete with a red eyed, piercing glare. His face falls away like computer code over an almost unnecessary silhouette. Methane Studios work has often been seen as the ‘filler’ work of Mondo’s outputs, but it’s prints like their Westworld one that reminds that they are most than that.
69. How do you even begin with topping the greatest movie poster of all time? (Vertigo by Saul Bass). Well, the easiest answer is, you don’t even try. There have been endless amounts of grand Vertigo prints – Gary Pullin’s eyeball and bright orange print being a particularly notable entry – but out of Mondo’s output, it’s WeBuyYourKids output that feels wholly unique and explorative of the themes within Hitchcock’s classic.
The repeating motifs within Vertigo have been consistently explored in different prints – yet none have really touched on the imagery of the flowers in the way that WBYK do. Kim Novak’s silhouette carries an exhausted appearance in her lips. Her iconic hairstyle has been replaced by a bouquet of bright, glorious flowers. It’s mesmerising and hypnotic.
68. Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mind is like no other on this planet. To encapsulate the bizarre realms of his work, there is no better artist to lean on than Florian Bertmer. Everything on this print has a purpose and is executed perfectly.
The typeset of the title. The intricate and kaleidoscopic circular background. The two goats. And of course, the mysterious figure in the centre. The art directors of Mondo are often the hidden masters behind the art – understanding how to pair an artist with an intellectual property is almost a fine art in itself. So, to pair Florian Bertmer with The Holy Mountain is a stroke of genius. Bertmer’s work is often great, but no better than right here.
67. While the key output of Mondo’s print work is for film properties, they have started branching out to other intellectual properties like comics, TV shows and video games. Oddly, in the world of screenprints, there haven’t been as many prints for video games as you’d expect. Gradually Mondo have eked out a place for these prints to flourish, and one of their early examples is the collaboration between Olly Moss and Jay Shaw for Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us.
For those unfamiliar, The Last of Us takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where humanity has been overrun by a mutated strain of the cordyceps fungus. Oh, of course, that fungus, I hear you say. Well, this particular fungus weaves its way in to the mind of the creature it’s taken over. Moss and Shaw present this fearsome spore in a skin-itchingly beautiful manner – it’s unsettling, but it’s a sight to behold.
66. The first of two entries for Terence Malick’s war epic, The Thin Red Line, is João Ruas’ disturbing take on the desperate nature of war. A man appears to claw his way out from the shirt of a soldier. The face of that soldier is torn in various directions by a tree like element. The soldiers gun is held in a fashion that suggests he’s not prepared for war.
The sole red dot gives a hint of the battles on Guadalcanal between the US army and Japanese soldiers. A white dot where the sun should be hovers in the top right corner – suggesting that just like the soldiers face, these men are out of place and almost out of time. Malick’s film explores the hopelessness of the wars we fight in. A poster is often a tool to help sell or promote a film. Here, Ruas’ work is an extension of the film, adding to the conversation rather than trying to promote it.
65. The Thing is one of those properties that Mondo has explored through the eyes of many artists. For some, Tyler Stout’s early print is the pinnacle for the film, for others it’s Jason Edmiston’s wide open landscape. For clarity, I’ve opted to not include Drew Struzan’s iconic poster in this list as it was created long before Mondo was an established company.
Jock’s print feels like the first that truly grips onto the disparate and desperate mood that drives the alien creature within John Carpenter’s classic film. Survival is tough and painful. Survival is organic, something that runs through your veins. While for us mere humans the concept of an alien creature taking down people on a remote Antarctic station immediately conjures up the notion that the creature is driven by malice. Jock’s print suggests that while the creature at times takes on a human form, it never stops being a creature that is driven by the need to survive. The tortured face that stretches up into the darkness here displays the pain associated with that survival, whether it be the alien or the men whose numbers are limited.
64. Mondo’s television print output has been widely varied and interesting – they’ve had gallery shows dedicated to Game of Thrones, Adventure Time and Regular Show and of course a huge Nickelodeon showcase. While Bryan Fuller’s take on Thomas Harris’s greatest murderer – Hannibal Lecter – never got a dedicated gallery show, Mondo did still release some truly fantastic prints for it. Daniel Danger’s bookshelf is suitably ominous. Kevin Tong’s stag in the snow is daunting. But, none have topped the duplicity of Hannibal in the way that Phantom City Creative’s two Hannibal prints have done.
Here, Mads Mikkelsen’s killer is presented in both forms – a dapper, blood drenched pin stripe suit, and from Will Graham’s visions as a tar drenched antler-adorned soulless being. Phantom City Creative’s likeness for Mikkelsen is exact, with the head tilt they apply to his regular form showcasing the alluring, attractive quality that Mikkelsen brought to the role of the serial killer.
63. William Stout’s status as an art legend was cemented in history long before he started working with Mondo. His work on films as a production/creature/art designer is stunning, but his work with paleontological art is where I find the most joy in his work. It’s expressive and exhaustive in ways that much paleontological art isn’t – his creatures feel alive, and almost as if they are about to leap off the page.
By pairing Stout with one of the greatest cinematic creatures – King Kong -, Mondo hit a goldmine. Like Franceso Francavilla’s work earlier, Stout’s thick lines help accentuate the creatures on display here. Kong looms over both his conquered foe and the title, beating his chest in celebration of who he is and what he has done. The muted colours suggest the doom that lays in wait in Kong’s future. Impressively chaotic, this is Kong, the king of the jungle, the king of his domain, before mankind comes along to ruin everything. You can just feel the awe that Stout has for this creation dripping from the print.
62. The first time I saw WeBuyYourKids Alien print, I just knew that I had to have it. Its unique, bizarre, microscopic cell like take on Ridley Scott’s classic film is unlike any other Alien print out there. It’s insane and green and curious and fascinating and did I mention it’s green? It’s so very green. I’ve stared at this print for longer than I probably should, mostly because it’s just so very darn expressive. Alien is not really an expressive film – it’s a quiet alien slasher film in space that relies on the darkness and unseen to help fuel its fear factor.
But, what works so well for me with this great Alien print is (just like Jock’s The Thing, and in fact, WeBuyYourKids The Thing print) that the alien lays dormant inside the skull and mind of the human body. Of course, the memorable death of John Hurt’s Kane first comes to mind with the alien bursting out of his chest, but what else comes to mind is the translucent membrane that is Giger’s aliens head, with a human-like skull peering from within the black viscera. At once, mankind is the alien, and the alien is us.
Plus, the print is really fucking green.
61. Way back in 2012, Jay Shaw ran a solo show titled Don’t Go Out Tonight. It was a stark series of prints based on the films released by Blue Underground. It’s a bonkers set of film prints, with memorable pieces done for films like Salon Kitty, Q: The Winged Serpent, The New York Ripper and Torso. It’s evocative and creepy stuff with black, white, red and yellow making up the distinct palate.
While all the prints in the series are impressive, it’s Shaw’s take on Sergio Corbucci’s Django that hits the right marks. The cowboys boot spur being transformed into a wheel of guns spitting bullets all around the place is genius and as fantastic a representation of the Western genre as could be. The fun and thrill from the genre is palpable here, and out of all the prints in the Don’t Go Out Tonight series, this one leaves you with the need to seek out this film.
Tune back tomorrow for the end of week one’s output and entries 60-51…