Friday, June 11, 2004

Beautiful dreamers

My dear friend Mark Bode was interviewed by the NYTimes this week. He's publishing a book this month done in tribute to his father, the late Vaughn Bode. Those of you my age will remember his dad's underground comics but anyone will be able to appreciate Mark's unique interpretation of his Dad's style.

Mark and his lovely wife Molly are two of my favorite people in the world and it's nice to see him get some recognition for his work. The article is already archived so I can only give you excerpts:

... When Vaughn Bode, the maverick cartoonist and graffiti guru, died in 1975 at 33, he left behind a son and some of the most original and influential cartoon art done in the 1960's and 70's.

[Mark] Bode, ...peered over his Ray-Bans ... and spoke about his father and the forthcoming book. "That's about where we dropped Dad's ashes from the Cessna," he recalled with a laugh. "I
ripped the bag open at exactly 2:22 p.m., just like he wanted." But when 12-year-old Mark looked down, he saw a big yacht passing below, filled with half-naked women sunbathing on the deck. "I figured it was Vaughn's last joke."

At the age of 41, Mark has continued to fullfil his dad's legacy and has taken it full circle to complete Vaughn's last unfinished work.

Kim Thompson, vice president of Fantagraphics, said, "We told Mark, `When you complete it, we'll publish it.' " Over the course of 15 years, he added, the company has published 15 volumes of Vaughn Bode's work, and the books have been very popular among graffiti and tattoo artists.

Vaughn Bode's characters have had a seminal influence, and it was often a rite of passage for graffiti artists to do a Bode character... "My father never even heard of graffiti," Mr. Bode said, shaking his head.

Mark should know. His father's spirit is never far from his art or his dreams.

"Vaughn was still one of the most creative forces I've ever met," Mr. Bode said. "To this day I've never had a religion. But my father represents a sanctuary, waiting for me."


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