Nevs Coleman– reviewer
Matt DeGennaro and Phil Elliott’s Tupelo is sadly now out of print (although you can pick up copies on Amazon), Tupelo was originally published by Slave Labor Graphics in 2003 as a four issue mini series, and then published as a trade paperback featuring a cd by cult band Famous Monsters. I was working in the late Comic Showcase at the time and was staggered by how much each issue just… got it. Understood and recreated the atmosphere in my head. The sticky floors, the toilets with broken doors, the kids proudly showing off their home-made ‘X’s, the drone of the men who are too old in the head to be there. The Outside that oppressed with silent hostility. The outrage at the huckster hypnotist who stands in for every soulless advertising exec who preys on the insecurities they created and profits from them with promises of false hope.
They are, indeed, brilliant. Phil is some kind of Art Ninja Genius, distilling the page down to only its essential lines. Like a Toth, a Parobeck or a Kurtzman, this process looks like it’s easy, but it’s really the total opposite. Lesser talents can hide their weakness behind flashy layouts, unnecessary cross-hatching and other short cuts. If you’re working as Phil does, every flaw is going to scream out of the page at you. It never happens in Tupelo. The story pages are a beautiful discordant symphony. The… backmatter (hate that word) is both inspiring and a perfect approximation of prison letters, Zig Zag/Maximum Rock ’N’ Roll era music journalism and Punk Manifesto, with one issue containing an ideology that makes the likes of Fight Club sound like playing RATM too loud in your bedroom after your Mum’s asked you to clean up your room.
Phil is an astounding talented artist who’s just published In His Cups: Collected Tales Of Gimbley. It’s bloody good stuff and you should obviously all go buy it. Ideally, he’d be on a regular book and there are no end of comics being published that if I were given editorial responsibilities on the title, I’d just say “Give it to Phil. He’ll make it work.” Personally, I’d hire him to redraw all those Todd Loren knock-off rock biographies as and when he felt like it while he got on with whatever made him happy.
See Phil’s work here
all art copyright and trademark it’s respective owners.
content copyright iestyn pettigrew 2020