Sunday, 14 February 2010

Rickie Trembles: Purveyor of filth!

Canadian Rickie Trembles (real name Rickie Tremblay-son of anti-Nazi comic artist and book illustrator Jack Tremblay) is one of those enviable, multi-talented bastards, like Richard McGuire, only less clean cut (I can imagine if he did a children's book it would come out slightly different). He plays guitar and sings in post-punk group The American Devices, makes strange alien like sculptures (which remind me a bit of Jim Woodring), makes films and animation, and of course produces some excellent comics (as well as hosting a Motion Picture Purgatory radio show). Of course modest Trembles would probably call himself a jack of all trades and a master of none, claiming especially that his artistic skills are less than perfect, but I think his slightly pixilated neon stick figures are hilarious and unique. He would probably fit into a school of aesthetics known as 'American punk' (or at least this is what Stephen Heller calls it in his book 'Graphic Styles) which covers the appropriation of the cut up collage style of punk flyer's to the aesthetics of RAW magazine and comic artists such as Gary Panter, Kaz, Mark Beyer and Julie Doucet

Although he started out doing lurid autobiographical comics in his music fanzine turned comix 'Sugar Diet' (which were famously branded disgusting by no less than Robert Crumb!) it is his sometimes scathing (and always brilliant) comic strip reviews of cinema old and new that grabs my attention the most. He is pretty unforgiving when it comes to a lot of modern films, and by placing quotes from the films against his surreal 2D interpretations he shows up just how ridiculous the film in question is. He also takes a pretty refreshing view of CGI which I can happily say that I agree with (he think it's shit!)

It is clear that although Trembles is a fan of some arthouse cinema and documentaries, his real passion lies in trash. Old horror/slasher films, exploitation cinema, and nudity with an absurd storyline seem to be Trembles main concern (he cites some of his favourite films as Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls, Videodrome, and Flesh Gordon) and he is a master of unearthing obscure oddities .

His movie review strip 'Motion Picture Purgatory' was serialised in The Montreal Mirror until the end of the 80's when the slasher movie craze ended and a new era of political correctness began to dawn. Trembles has been accused of being anti-women, despite being a strong supporter of feminist activist/musician/screenwriter/comix writer Lydia Lunch and pointing out that the review he did that was rejected for being sexist was for a film written by feminist author Rita Mae Brown. He did work for various other publications and returned to the Mirror in 98 (click here for a visual history of these events).
He has just released the second volume of his collected Motion Picture Purgatory strips which you can purchase off Amazon or via his website, and he continues to record and play with The American Devices.

More, better resolution images to come!

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