Of all the projects that I’ve undertaken over the past few years, Lies and Other Fools, the graphic poem that I created with Kermit Leveridge in late 2017 is, in equal parts, the most satisfying and most infuriating – due entirely to it being, eventually, far less than what it could have been.
Holding the eventual little A5 book in my hands and flicking through it’s 48 pages still gives me a sense of achievement, which in itself is a rarity of feeling once a project is completed; yet at the same time there is a massive sense of a chance lost, that the planned object was to have been something so much more than what it finally became.
I met Kermit (half of the 90’s group Black Grape, alongside Happy Monday’s Shaun Ryder) at the Kendal Comic Art Festival a couple of years previously, and had struck up an idea to produce one of his poems as a graphic novel. Revolving around his years of heavy drug use and unremittingly bleak, he felt that my (then new) art style would suit the mood of the text perfectly, and over the following months many of the pages were developed and completed.
The initial intent for Lies was to have each of it’s pages contain a stanza of Kermit’s poem actually ‘drawn’ into the body of the page image – heavily influenced by the SF rock posters of the 60s, as produced by the likes of Stanley Mouse, Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso.
Among other projects the book developed slowly; projects including artwork for the vinyl release of the poem read by Kermit’s soul mate Howard Marks, and Alan Moore’s Mandrillifesto… until, after numerous false starts we began page production of Lies in earnest in November 2016 – with the book to be ready for the October following.
As the end of August 2017 loomed however, it became clear that the original vision was not something that was going to be achieved, and I had no option but to ditch all of the work done up to that point; and produce the book in a totally different, far less satisfying style.
During the Covid lock down I turned up a folder of the original pages I’d created, and reassessed the images with the fresh eyes that time allows. I still prefer them to what eventually saw print, and have an unfulfilled desire to achieve the original intent of Lies and Other Fools with some other project.
So for posterity here are the pages I produced four years ago for something that I still feel might have been very, very nice indeed.
The pencilled ‘thumbnail‘ pages Of the opening pages…