About The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio

Portfolio Contributors

Tom Brinkmann

Brad W. Foster

Jeff Gaither

Richard Krauss

Andy Nukes

Bill Shut

Floyd Sumner

Dan W. Taylor

 

Cartoonist Spotlights

Link to ZinographyR. Krauss

Link to DC McNamara interviewDC McNamara

Link to Spotlight on Noah Van Sciver N. Van Sciver

Link to VojtkomicsBob Vojtko

Link to Joe Wehrle Jr. page Joe Wehrle Jr.

Link to spotlight on Steve Willis pageSteve Willis

Zinographies


Hunt Emerson
Brad W. Foster

Richard Krauss
Rick McCollum
DC McNamara
John Porcellino
Dave Sim's Cerebus
Bob Vojtko
Joe Wehrle Jr.

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The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio
The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio cover

Michael Roden was an indie artist and musician for over 30 years. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1952, he discovered the work of HP Lovecraft in the early 70s and was inspired to begin drawing fantastic creatures and alien landscapes. Soon he was reading underground comix and was inspired by the freedom and experimental artwork of the cartoonists producing them. The era of self-publishing was beginning to take off and Roden began work on an art magazine he called Thru Black Holes. He explained the title in an interview in 1980, "...because of the nature of the black hole itself — sucking in matter and expelling it into some other realm of existence. In the case of Thru Black Holes the idea was to pull in other talents and give the reader a ride along with us into strange artistic realms." His first issue debuted in May 1978.

Roden spoke of his earliest influences with small press publisher Jim Main in 2007, "I really first started drawing in grade school. I would draw "Big Daddy" Roth and Basil Wolverton style drawings."

Roden went on to publish dozens of his own books under the Thru Black Holes nameplate and contributed to dozens more. He was one of only a handful of small press publishers who consistently published and produced new material from the early days of the newave era straight through to the present. Longtime friend and fellow artist Dale Lee Coovert maintains the web's most complete catalog of Roden's impressive list of published work.

Roden also loved music and formed the Thru Black Holes Band, releasing 24 indie collections from 1989 through 2004. Aural-Innovations hosts the Band's official website, where you can download all of the Band's music in mp3 format.

In early 2007, Roden was diagnosed with colon cancer. He passed away on June 14, 2007 at age 55, leaving behind medical expenses that are still remain to be paid. Several benefit sales have been set up to contribute to closing out his outstanding debts. Small press publisher Dan W. Taylor and mini-comic dealer Rick Bradford have generously set up benefit sales areas within their online stores. 100% of the proceeds are donated to the Roden Benefit Fund.

The Gallery #1 coverMain Enterprises has published The Gallery, a zine that spotlights the work of renown small press artists. The debut issue features Michael Roden. (It was reviewed here on MF.com.) $1 from every sale is donated to the Roden Benefit Fund.

Roden was an inspiring and influential figure within the small press community for over 3 decades. Jim Main has gathered a group of friends and fans to produce a special portfolio of art prints that pays tribute to Roden's artwork and his memory. Each black-and-white illustration is reproduced on high-quality 8.5 x 11 paper, suitable for framing. The portfolio includes work by Tom Brinkmann, Brad W. Foster, Jeff Gaither, Richard Krauss, Andy Nukes, Bill Shut, Floyd Sumner, and Dan W. Taylor. It's packaged in an envelope featuring one of the last remaining pieces of unpublished art by Michael Roden himself. Plus the centerspread from Roden's unpublished final zine: Pirate Adventures.

The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio is available through Main Enterprises. All sales proceeds go to the benefit of Michael Roden's widow.

References:
Artwork Showcase #1 (Unknown Press, 1980)
The Gallery #1 (Main Enterprises, 2007)

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The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio featuring:
Andy Nukes

Detail from Andy Nukes' contribution
Detail from Andy Nukes' artwork from the portfolio. (Copyright Andy Nukes)

My drawing for this project was created as a tribute to Michael Roden, and, specifically, to commemorate the time period (the late 1970s) when I first met Mike. I had seen advertisements for his comix in various small press publications and was intrigued, so I wrote him a letter. (People wrote actual letters on sheets of actual paper in those days.) Mike wrote back a lengthy (and meticulously decorated) reply, the first of hundreds of letters that we exchanged over the years. To make a long story short, I started buying copies of everything Mike produced (or had a hand in). This soon included the mysteriously wonderful Cluster-Land.

For those of you are familiar with Cluster-Land, you will instantly recognize its stamp in the present drawing. (If you’re not familiar with Cluster-Land, then you are missing out on a true small press classic.) The clouds at the bottom of the page are taken from the cover. Moebius and Roedelius Planaria are featured characters in Cluster-Land. The cosmic bubbles are a Michael Roden trademark and, as I painstakingly drew those hundreds of circles, I could feel the sort of zen dedication to detail that shines through every Michael Roden image.

Cluster-Land coverOn a technical note, I did this drawing as I do all my drawings, starting with a very detailed pencil underdrawing (done with my left hand to keep things from getting too rote). I then went over that drawing (using my right hand for precision) with Sharpie pens. I rarely plan my drawings in advance, although this one (rather surprisingly) appeared to me in finished form. All I had to do was put it on paper.

I miss Mike. I considered him to be one of my best friends. He generously included my work in dozens of his comix and always encouraged me to draw and to stretch my limits as an artist. Through Mike, I met many other wonderfully talented artists, all of whom I count as friends. I suspect that Mike is busily (and happily) creating some sort of new adventures even as you read this. His body may have given out, but his spirit was truly indomitable. Peace, Bud! Your generous and playful spirit has made this world a better, happier, more magical place.

-Andy Nukes (website)

The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio is available through Main Enterprises. All sales proceeds go to the benefit of Michael Roden's widow.

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The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio featuring:
Dan W. Taylor

Detail of Dan Taylor's artwork
Detail from Dan W. Taylor's artwork from the portfolio. (Copyright Dan W. Taylor)

When I was honored with the assignment of doing a plate for The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio, I knew that I wanted it to be special, like Mike. I wanted it to be my journey into his psyche. The first thing I thought about, was the technical aspect of his work. Mike is known for his tight pen and ink work as well as the aspects of collage he often uses. These, of course would need to be used.  He would also use text as a design element, from time to time, and also was working toward using more computer graphics and software. I wanted to incorporate all these into a single image. The next thing to be considered was the subject matter that frequents Mike's work. It runs from the metaphysical to the silly; tying together other worlds and realms through the black hole and all the while doing it with a Kustom Kulture slant. One of his characters, Door-Eye, stood out for me as the perfect representation of that link. 

Door-Eye coverI rendered Door-Eye in pen and ink, not in Mike's in-imitable style, but in my own paler version. I wanted to see Mike peeking out of the door, as I'm sure he is. The background is text from an interview I did with Mike shortly before he died. I've been unable to come to terms with putting this interview together and I felt that by including it in the background it would add some greater meaning to the words and also help me come to grips with the passing of my friend. This text was written with a crow quill in white ink on black illustration board. To this, I pasted the Door-Eye image. Next came the computer work. I did the Door Eye text with a sharpie marker and imported it into photoshop, I also scanned in a photo I took of the door to my studio and a scrollwork keyhole from a dover clip art book. I inverted the text color and added it, along with the other elements. Tweaking the opacity and location of the items and duplicating the keyhole I completed the composition. All in all, I'm happy with the completed project. I hope Mike would approve. 

-Dan W. Taylor (website)

The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio is available through Main Enterprises. All sales proceeds go to the benefit of Michael Roden's widow.

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The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio featuring:
Brad W. Foster

Detail of Brad Foster's artwork

When the idea for this portfolio was announced, it seemed the pirate drawing here was the best piece I could pick to honor him with, as it was originally done for one of his many planned projects. Mike always had a lot of projects going, with many different ideas and themes, and the best part was he invited other artists to join in on the fun. He helped to push my own creative buttons, getting me to work on new ideas, and I thank him for that. In fact, it's that sheer joy and energy I will always think of when I remember Mike. He loved the "scary" stuff, but in a fun and goofy way, not a dark one. He seemed to relish the sheer act of creativity, and was a guy I wish I could have met in person.

-Brad W. Foster (website)

The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio is available through Main Enterprises. All sales proceeds go to the benefit of Michael Roden's widow.

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The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio featuring:
Richard Krauss

I never met Michael Roden, but through the years I had seen his work many times. During the newave era I bought a lot of his self-published zines and enjoyed his work in many others that he contributed to. When Jim Main invited me to contribute to his benefit portfolio I couldn't wait to get started. I guess I felt a real affinity to Michael as a fellow small press publisher and a middle-aged artist—one who tragically died way too soon. And Mike's work was an inspirational force in itself.

sketchesI wanted my piece to be a sort of collage of images and techniques pulled from various pieces of Mike's artwork. I made several small sketches of some potential designs. As things progressed it seemed like a horizontal design would work the best for me since I wanted to include some text. Most of Mike's work included narrative.

sketches

sketchI studied Mike's work for hours as I selected images to emulate and learn from his technique. The longer I worked the more appreciation I had for the craftsmanship and creative spirit that Mike brought to his work.

I believe there is a sort of magical connection between people. It's a sort of force that exchanges energy between us. A part of each person literally becomes a part of the other. Not physically, but part of one's being. The closer two people are, the stronger the exchange. It can even happen with someone you've never met. Someone who's work has been a part of your life and had meaning. I believe this is part of why it hurts so much when someone dies. Because the part of you that became part of them, dies with them—and it aches. But there's also a part of them that lives on through you.

These are the ideas I tried to express in the poem I wrote as the text part of my illustration for the portfolio. I'm sure the part of Mike that connected with me was guiding my hand as I drew the pictures and wrote the words.

-Richard Krauss

pencils

Above are the pencils for the finished piece. Details from the inked version are shown below, with the original source they were inspired by listed from Mike's huge catalog of published work.

cloudsThe misty clouds were inspired Roden's the cover of The Comic Block #84 (March 1984) The jagged-edged ground is from "Dante's Inferno" in Artwork Showcase #1 (1980). eyeballsThe stalactites and stalacmites are from "The Cave Absu" in Ancient Dreams Comix (1980). The floating eyeballs are from "The Mysterious Cave of the Cyclops" in The Gallery #1 (2007).
eyeofhorusThe Eye of Horus from "Elder Tales with Eye Witness" in Ancient Dreams Comix. Tentacle berries from a Roden print in A Fan Art Portfolio (1980). Roden used this obelisk as the Thru Black Holes logo, his small press imprint. It appeared on the cover of his self-published zines. In ancient Egypt, the obelisk symbolized the God Ra.
mikeRoden himself as Filthy Pete from "The Haunted Castle" in The Gallery #1. moebiusMoebius from Cluster-Land (1981).
worm worldThe worm planet is from "Star Clown Swallows the Blimp" in Oracle Comix #1 (1980). crazymanCrazy man from "Daily Life in Crazy Town" in The Gallery #1.

The lettering style of the poem is based on the text from Ancient Dream Comix. The large cyclops creature was inspired from several images from The Gallery #1. Roden often used icons for infinity, yin and yang, omega, pyramids, and other symbols in his artwork, so I added a few of these into the design as well.

The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio is available through Main Enterprises. All sales proceeds go to the benefit of Michael Roden's widow.

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The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio featuring:
Tom Brinkmann

Detail of Candlelight by Tom Brinkmann

When Jim Main asked me for a contribution for this Michael Roden tribute portfolio, I knew I did not have the time to do a new piece for it and asked if he would be interested in unpublished older artwork and he was. The first piece that came to mind was one I call “Candlelight” (image size 7.5” x 10.5”) that was done on August 15, 1996 on the tail of another piece I had started on August 13, 1996 called “Flesh Goddess”(image size 7.5” x 11”). Both were done for the now defunct hair fetish zine Hair To Stay, but they were never used.

For both I had taken photos from girlie mags in which I found the poses inspiring. Then I rendered them in high contrast adding my own background and touches, possibly with my admiration of Aubrey Beardsley showing through a tad. The drawing process was an HB pencil on 11” x 14” bleed-proof paper made for pen and ink, then inked in with technical pens and the pencil erased after.

The two drawings have no real connection to Michael Roden, but Mike and I had a running thing about the sexuality in drawings and comix, I was for it and he wasn’t so much, and I suspect he might have covered the same territory with Brad Foster. But in good spirit and fun Mike did a nude Egyptian woman for my book Tattooed Paper which he said was his first nude in print. When I did my pages for Mike’s Queen of Hairy Flies book I included a topless Druid priestess which I didn’t think was a problem, but Mike had the insides of the book printed by a high school print shop and could not have naked breasts in it apparently, as he gave the priestess a zip-a-tone halter top!

After getting back in touch with Mike in 2005 he asked for pages for his first mini foray into Good Girl Art—Cosmic Cuties—with both his reprobate titty-artist-comix-buddies, Brad Foster and I, sharing the duties! I know Mike was proud of that one and rightly so. Thus the inclusion of “Candlelight” in Mike’s tribute portfolio is my wink and a nod to Mike, my comix buddy, out there in the cosmos.

-Tom Brinkmann

Warning: The "Flesh Goddess" artwork and Tom's website contain nudity. If you are under the age of 18 ask your parent or legal guardian to determine if the content is suitable before proceeding. The artwork may be viewed here. Tom's website.

The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio is available through Main Enterprises. All sales proceeds go to the benefit of Michael Roden's widow.

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The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio featuring:
Bill Shut

Detail of artwork by Bill Shut

It was such an honor to be included in this benefit portfolio for Michael Roden. Michael was a very good friend and I feel privileged to have known him and to have experienced his energy, enthusiasm, and love of life. After corresponding with him, I was fortunate to have met him in person and spend an afternoon with him, in the late 70s. It was one of the great afternoons of my life. When he was ill, in his emails, he would apologize for causing me to worry and tell me things were going good. His energy and enthusiasm continued until the end. I feel very lucky to have known him and his friendship.

-Bill Shut

The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio is available through Main Enterprises. All sales proceeds go to the benefit of Michael Roden's widow.

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The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio featuring:
Floyd Sumner

Detail of Floyd Sumner's artwork

I first became aware of Michael Roden's work around 1993 or so. There was a great coffee house called the Howling Frog in downtown Portland that me and my friends would go to occassionally. It was an odd place that had board games you could play. They showed psychotronic movies such as Necromantik on Thursday nights and they also had a large collection of small press books there. The only ones I distinctly remember were John McLeod's Dishman and Micheal Roden's Crazy Men Go Wild. When I first picked it up, I knew that it was very different than the usual small press fare. Here was a self-published comic that had no story, was a visual treat for the senses, and had a glossy color cover. Quite different than the b&w xeroxed small press I was accustomed to. Unfortunately, the books were not for sale. But through my time in small press, I saw Roden's work pop up frequently. However, for some reason I never managed to get copies for myself until I learned of Michael's fight with cancer. I announced the benefit in the second issue of my small press reviewzine Ka-Whump and sent Michael a copy. He proceeded to write me back thanking me for letting the small press community know of his battle. Also included was a copy of his last work Tiki Comix #1. I was thrilled not only at getting a letter from Michael, but also a book from him.

I knew Jim Main was planning on doing an interview and spotlighting Michael's work in the first issue of his magazine The Gallery and was once again happy to receive a copy and own more of this talented man's work. Unfortunately, by the time the magazine came out, Michael had lost his battle with cancer and my correspondence with him was way too short. Jim when announced that he was looking for artists to contribute to a portfolio that would be a tribute to Mr. Roden, I knew it was something that I had to be a part of.

My piece entitled The House Of Roden, takes many elements from Michael's wild imagination and puts them together. When I was drawing this, I felt as if I had actually stepped inside Michael's mind. I tried to imitate his style, yet add my own touches to it such as Roden himself in a hot rod in the upper part of the picture...as if he was making his final ride Thru Black Holes where he would begin a new afterlife once he arrived. The significance of the black hole in the upper right of the picture is just that, the gateway where Micheal and all his characters will be joined together, which is why I added the monolith/TBHC logo about to be sucked into the abyss. I want to thank Jim for letting me in on this great project. I think Michael would have loved all the efforts of the creators that came together in his name. As a sidenote, when I was drawing the piece, my 11 year old son Etienne saw it and got so inspired that he attempted his own version of The House Of Roden...but he won't let me scan it!! Too bad too...I find it an honor for Michael that he not only was responsible for someone copying his style, but someone else copying the style of the copy...his legacy it seems will never fade and that's what Thru Back Holes is all about!

-Floydman (Website)

The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio is available through Main Enterprises. All sales proceeds go to the benefit of Michael Roden's widow.

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The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio featuring:
Jeff Gaither

Detail from Jeff Gaither's artwork

Mike was a good friend. For years back in the 80's we would send art back and forth along with stickers and other goodies. I was really just starting out in the zine world and Mike turned me on to a lot of stuff. He was always into the Ed Roth stuff. When I was asked to draw something for the tribute I figured what better than a Rat Fink with Mike's initials on his chest. It is the first time I have drawn a Fink since I worked for Ed Roth. Mike was a great artist, and a super cool guy. To this day I still have every single letter he ever sent me. He will be missed but never forgotten. Long live the memory of Mike Roden! Thanks Mike.

-Jeff Gaither (Website)

The Michael Roden Benefit Portfolio is available through Main Enterprises. All sales proceeds go to the benefit of Michael Roden's widow.

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Michael Roden
Longtime comix creator and publisher Mike Roden passed away in 2007.

To help with the remaining medical bills, several of Mike's comrades have established benefit sales. Proceeds from the sale of comix and original artwork go directly to help Mike's widow with his outstanding medical bills. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Roden BenefitWeird
Muse
Benefit
Site

 

Poopsheet Benefit Poop-
sheet
Shop Benefit
Site


Main Enterprises
has recently published The Gallery. The first issue is a tribute to the late, great Mike Roden. It features two full color covers by Mike, 24 interior pages of his unique works, and a three page interview, which includes an homage illustration by Bruce Chrislip. One dollar of every issue sold will go to the Mike Roden Benefit Fund.

Comixjoint's interview with Michael Roden from March 2007.




Original content Copyright © 2008 Richard Krauss.
All other copyrights belong to their respective owners.