More than 20 years after Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett first conceived of Gorillaz, the visual history of the cartoon band will be explored in an expansive ‘almanac’ due out this October.
The Gorillaz Almanac, published by Z2 Comics, will feature 120-plus full-colour pages of Hewlett’s artwork for the band. The hardcover book will also boast exclusive new artwork, the first-ever comic strip starring 2D, Noodle, Murdoc Niccals and Russel Hobbs, plus “puzzles, games and a raft of special guest appearances from Gorillaz collaborators past and present”.
Hewlett previously released an almanac for his beloved comic series Tank Girl in the mid-nineties. With two decades of Gorillaz work to cull from, Hewlett told Rolling Stone how his characters have changed from their self-titled LP in 2001 to 2019’s Now Now:
“[After] 20 years of drawing the same characters you can’t avoid change. I think I tried to draw more realism into them around the fourth album but now I find myself looking back at the original style, which reminds me of the 1970s Hanna-Barbera cartoons which I grew up on. Ultimately I would love to create an animation style as good as Chuck Jones’ style during the late 70s. Also, I can afford to buy better pens now.”
“The integration of comics/animation with the live world stretches back decades, from Gene Kelly dancing with Jerry Mouse to the groundbreaking Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” says Z2 Comics’ Sridhar Reddy. “But my friends and I were also those kids who grew up with dark British music, where Joy Division, David Bowie and the Cure painted apocalyptic visions in our heads. Combine that with the influence of 2000 AD, Heavy Metal and Moebius comics and you had a generation of kids where Roger Rabbit just wasn’t connecting, and the music comics being put out at the time were just bands playing superheroes with flaming guitars.
“When Gorillaz arrived on the scene, it was a confluence of all the ‘outsider’ elements of art and music and it immediately felt like home,” he adds. “They’d cracked the code, so to speak, and over the years they went from cartoons to fully formed characters with backstories, geographies and motivations. A comic book seemed like a natural destination, and we’re honoured the band chose us to make that happen.”
The Gorillaz Almanac is available to pre-order ahead of its 16 October release here.
Source: Rolling Stone