Welcome to the third 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.
80. Francesco Francavilla’s thick, black lines and retro inspired work is often applied to comic book stories or prints. His work with Marvel, Dark Horse Comics and DC Comics is truly a sight to see, and when he pairs that aesthetic with his Mondo prints, it creates a winning combination. His Mondo prints have carried this pulp aesthetic across perfectly, and in many ways it’s hard to pick exactly what Francavilla print to shine a light on.
However, as I sifted through his many great prints, I kept coming back to his brilliant representation of the Desmond Davis directed, Ray Harryhausen driven, Clash of the Titans. The iconic Medusa sits large with her terrifying gaze staring directly at you – Francavilla captures her soul staring eyes perfectly, pairing it with other great iconic creatures. While Clash of the Titans is a 1980’s classic, this print makes it feel like it should have come out in the 50’s. A timeless print for a timeless film.
79. The first of many Jay Shaw prints on this list – six in total – is this almost laugh out loud, but no less bad ass print of Rocky III. Jay Shaw’s work here feels like the response to the hardest challenge of all – how to make a Rocky print without Rocky on it. The Oscar nominated Survivor song Eye of the Tiger is as iconic as Rocky Balboa himself, and Shaw’s print is a direct homage to that song.
Shaw’s Rocky III crosses the line of absurdity, heading into the realm of pure genius, and then traipses right back across that absurdity line again. Shaw’s work has consistently strayed from black and white through to bright colours, and it’s his clear understanding of how to manage a colour palette that elevates him into that ‘Mount Rushmore’ of Mondo artists, right alongside Martin Ansin. The black and white of this print is truly brilliant.
78. Vania Zouravliov’s work is like nothing else in the Mondo oeuvre. Almost dream-like, it eschews the traditional screenprint aesthetic completely. While some of Vania’s work is more miss than hit, there are some that are truly home runs. His collaboration with Aaron Horkey – a mystical, transformative, ethereal and haunting print for Tod Browning’s Dracula – is one of them. Even with its all timer status, it doesn’t hit the same spot for me in the same way that many of Aaron’s other work has, and in this circumstance, as much as Vania’s 13 Assassin’s does.
Takashi Miike’s film is on brand with the directors traditional violence and gore. But, there’s a contemplative slant to it that helps fuel its Seven Samurai-esque visage. It’s quite possibly Miike’s best film, full of grand, larger than life characters, and glorious cinematography. Zouravliov’s print somehow manages to embody all of this into one sweeping action. Yes, there’s decidedly a lot less than 13 assassins on the print, but the sweeping motion that the sole figure is in suggest a raging battle beyond the borders of the frame.
77. For many, the first time that Mondo became a company to keep an eye on as a purveyor of pop culture art, was with Olly Moss’s Star Wars trilogy set. Yes, I’m well aware that it’s almost blasphemous to suggest that out of all of Mondo’s output, this is the 77th ‘best’ print that they’ve released, after all, shouldn’t this be in the top 10? There’s a strong possibility that the ubiquitousness of this grand trilogy of iconic prints has caused me to slightly tire of them – even though the intelligence in their design is undeniable.
Often imitated (by other artists, and Moss himself), but never bettered, this trilogy is the ultimate challenge to the great Tom Jung and Drew Struzan originals. This is possibly the pinnacle of Moss’s work – the silhouettes of iconic characters making up the events within the films – but for me, my affection for Star Wars is simply not as high as many others, and there is a couple more Moss prints to come.
76. Aaron Horkey’s Dead Man is the sort of print that you’d expect to be hung in an art museum. It’s comparatively small against other Mondo releases (traditionally, they’re a 24×36 inch size), coming in at 7×16.5 inches, yet it squeezes an infinite amount of artistry into a small space. The ornate, almost illegible title is simply beautiful, and paired with an eerie and otherworldly deer that has a flower as a head, well, this is an unforgettable print.
However, with that said, even though this is a stunning print, it sits at number 76 mostly because as a representation of the film Dead Man, it’s sadly misses the mark. This is not to take away the beauty within it, it’s just a worthwhile note that for the film it’s representing, it doesn’t ‘sell’ the film all too well. With that all said – if you ever get the chance to see this beautiful print in person, do it.
75. Jeff Proctor’s ability to display gore and horror is unmatched. The viscera on display on many of his prints will have many questioning the person who decides to frame it on their walls. Take one glimpse at his gut churning Maniac print and you’ll know what I mean.
Here, Proctor manages to transform the signature gore in Lucio Fulci’s madhouse film Zombie (aka Zombi 2 aka Zombie Flesh Eaters) into a fun, yet no less ominous print. One of the iconic scenes of Fulci’s film is the underwater tussle between a zombie and a shark – it has to be seen to be believed. Proctor presents the two beasts here in a fight to the death, beckoning the viewer to seek out Fulci’s film.
74. If there were one name that many people immediately associate with Mondo and all things screenprints, it’s Tyler Stout. A true master of the art, Stout has managed to turn the floating head format into something to behold – it’s a far cry from what lines the multiplexes we all attend religiously. For one of the signature Mondo Mystery Movies, Stout created an atomic bomb of a print for the anime classic, Akira.
A master artist is able to imitate other artists style, yet all the while retaining their own style. Here, Stout manages to display the aesthetic of Akira wondrously, with each key character presented in a thematically appropriate pose. This is organised chaos, with the extensive explosion helping to centre your eye, eventually directing your gaze to its peripheral fallout.
73. William Friedken’s pseudo-remake of Wages of Fear, Sorcerer, focuses on a truck carrying volatile cargo as it travels across precarious terrain. It’s tense. It’s taut. It’s knuckle biting stuff.
Jay Shaw appears again on this list with his portrayal of that fateful tale. The truck sits on a slanted terrain as a cloud of death-smoke hangs ominously over it. Shaw once again embodies the mood of a film with ease in this print. The dark crimson provides a stark backing for a treacherous story.
72. Ferris Bueller is a bit of a dick. He manages to ruin his friend Cameron’s life in more ways than one as their day out in Chicago goes from outlandish event to outlandish event. This culminates in Cameron’s fathers prized possession – a grand red 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder – being destroyed as they foolishly attempt to ‘rewind’ the speedometer. It’s an ignorant and destructive action that cements what a fool Ferris is.
Jay Ryan is a genuine master of screenprints, and while his output for Mondo has been less prolific than many other artists, one look at his work on The Bird Machine will show that his output of art prints puts many to shame. Here, he turns his exceptional talent towards capturing that iconic scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in all its necessary glory. By displaying this moment, Ryan recognises that Bueller is not the hero many think he is, and appears to ask, is all this destruction and family devastation worth it just for one ‘day off’?
71. In the first of many entries for Ken Taylor on this list, we take a look at his creepy print for the F.W. Murnau classic Nosferatu. Max Schreck’s tendril like fingers loom over the tableau like the mysterious and nefarious being that he inhabits.
Created to be paired with his iconic Metropolis print (more on that later), this Nosferatu print feels as era appropriate for a thematically dark black and white film. Nosferatu creeps and leers with eyes that feel like they follow you in the room you have it hanging. For extra horror effect, hang this behind a door.
Swing back tomorrow for part four…