Five Circles of Baffling Webcomic Hell

“A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine found that 86 percent of all webcomic artists are, quote, “clownshit insane.” Not that I’m criticizing; I wrote a horror novel about dongs, I’m not going to throw stones from that glass house. But man, there is something about webcomics as a medium that really drives people to reach their craziest potential.

“In our exhaustive analysis in the forums we found that all of the mind-blowingly insane webcomics fit neatly into five categories, which we have arranged in order of most innocuous to the very nightmares of the Devil himself. So hang onto your sanity good and tight as we tour these five circles of webcomic hell, beginning with Level 5, where we find…” — Nick Coffin, Cracked, August 10, 2009

Find out the rest here.

‘The Bright River’: A Hip Hop Version of Dante’s Inferno

“Quick lives in the City of the Dead, and pays his rent by finding souls lost in purgatory. Scouring the water-bound city for a red-headed girl named Calliope, Quick finds the soldier who loved her, a pager-carrying bouncer named King of the Birds, and a demon who claims to be toiling for the good of the world. With a live soundtrack of cello, flute, drums, and vocal calisthenics, The Bright River follows Quick’s journey through the dingy underworld – from the bus station of purgatory to the rooftop of creation.

“Deep and dark as the River Styx, this neo-gothic tale of love was first performed by energetic bard Tim Barsky to sold-out Berkeley crowds in 2005. Resurrected from the theatrical graveyard, this musical reinvention of Dante’s Inferno is set for a three month run. With music that thrums through your bones and a story that yanks your still-beating heart straight out of your ribcage, The Bright River is proof that hope comes at man’s darkest hour.” [. . .]    –7×7 Editors, 7×7, December 11, 2009.

Luke Chueh’s Inferno (2009)

“The Inferno‘s artistic legacy is huge; Botticelli, Doré, Dali, Rauschenberg, and countless lesser known artists have created works inspired by the poem. It has inspired a movie (acted out by paper puppets) and even became a video game. Most artists seem to stay true to the poem, focusing on ‘the poets’ Dante, his guide Virgil, and Inferno‘s diverse cast of demons and damned. Rauschenberg approached Inferno by creating a painting for each of the 36 cantos. As for me, I’ve decided to remove Dante and Virgil, and instead create a painting for each ring of hell, with the exception of Rings Seven (a triptych – 3 paintings) and Eight (a deciptych – 10 paintings). I wanted to compose each painting in a way that illustrates what a ‘normal day in hell’ would be like. In order for me to accomplish this, I had to take some personal liberties with certain details within the Inferno, but I did my best to stay as true to the text as I could.

“Inferno was hosted by Gallery 1988, and opened on September 9th, 2009 (9/9/9). If you’re interested in any of these paintings, please contact Gallery 1988 for availability.” [. . .]    —Luke Chueh on his work, August, 2009.

Pictured above is Chueh’s map of his Inferno.

You can check out the full series of artwork and more of Chueh’s work on his website.

Dante’s Weird Fish, San Francisco

Dantes-Weird-Fish-Menu-logo-SF“Established in 2006, Weird Fish made its mark as a neighborhood favorite serving up Pescatarian meals morning, noon & night. A vast army of darkness [hungry vegans] descended upon this tiny outpost nestled neatly behind everyone’s favorite 18th & Mission bus stop and feasted on mouth watering & artery clogging vegan dishes. […] After leaving in 2009, original creator and owner, Peter Hood (Boogaloos, St. Francis Fountain, Crossroads Café in Joshua Tree), returned to take back the reigns of Weird Fish in March of 2012. Adding the moniker, ‘Dante’s’ to Weird Fish, an homage to the 9 levels of Hell of business divorce, Hood continues to promote sustainable seafood, organic produce from local farms, and California brewers and wine makers in a cozy ‘Devil may care’ environment. Dante’s Weird Fish prides itself in serving food that is bad for you, but good for the environment. So, pull up a chair and take one for the team!”

dantes-weird-fish

 

Tyrese Gibson’s Mayhem (2009)

MayhemTyrese Gibson’s 2009 comic follows a vigilante protagonist known as Mayhem, whose real name is Dante.

“Los Angeles, the City of Fallen Angels, is a city swept up by a brutal crime wave led by a kingpin known only as Big X. The body count builds as only one man can stop the flow of drugs and violence, only one man can stop Big X. He is the embodiment of vengeance and raw justice, the faceless arm of those who cannot defend themselves. He is known as Mayhem, and along with his sexy but deadly partner Malice, their goal is to dismantle the kingpin’s organization, unravel the dark secret that mysteriously links them to Big X, and save the city they grew up in.”    —Amazon

Boris Tischenko: Dante Symphony No. 4

boris-tischenkos-dante-symphony-no-4“The musical style and composing manner of Boris Tishchenko (1939 – 2010) shows him to be a typical representative of the Leningrad composers’ school. He was very much influenced by music of his teachers Dmitri Shostakovich and Galina Ustvolskaya, turning these influences in his own way. He tried to use some experimental and modernist ideas like twelve-tone or aleatoric techniques, but was much more attached to the native traditions of his homeland. He was honored by Shostakovich’s orchestration of his First Cello Concerto, and repaid his master by the orchestration, editing and transcription of a few scores by Shostakovich.”    —Avaxhome

Irena Lisiewicz’s Purgatorio Image Theatre

irena-lisiewiczs-purgatorio-image-theatreIrena Lisiewicz, a professional artist and costume and set designer, created a project entitled Purgatorio Image Theatre (2009-2013), inspired by Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. To learn more about Lisiewicz and her works, view her LinkedIn profile, a Slideshare of her project Purgatorio Image Theatre, and a Picasa Web Album of her artwork.

Sonora Commedia (2009)

sonora-commedia-2009

Eerie and beautiful wordless pieces.  Mostly experimental electronic, ambient, cinematic, and new classic, but also some drone, techno, alt rock, and metal tracks (the latter few genres especially for Inferno).

The 3 CDs have pieces written for all 100 cantos by 33 different musicians.  Each musician wrote for a given canto number in each canticle– Krell, for example, wrote for Inferno 20, Purgatorio 20, and Paradiso 20. For Inferno 34, however, a group of musicians collaborated.

Full album on Spotify, or available for purchase here.

Marco Brambilla: “Civilization” and “Creation”

marco-brambilla-films“…The spectacular spectacle of a video loop, Civilization (Megaplex) by Marco Brambilla, playing in the elevators there has been blowing minds and starting conversations with its epically silly and demonic appeal since it was installed in 2009.
An equally wild piece in 3-D, Creation (Megaplex), opened at the Nicole Klagsbrun gallery in Chelsea last week, the third of a trilogy that makes art from film…
Indeed, all the people who entered seemed to enjoy themselves, almost like children in a tree house. They remarked on characters and scenes scrolling past in the animated tapestry, which was inspired by Dante’s Inferno, but which many critics have compared to the work of Hieronymus Bosch. The synthesized soundtrack was pure epic Hollywood kitsch.”    –Bob Morris, The New York Times, January 30, 2013

marco-brambilla-inferno-film-standard-hotel-new-york“Guests at the swank new Standard Hotel, on the western edge of Manhattan, are treated to an otherworldly piece of eye candy: ‘Civilization,’ a depiction of heaven, hell, and purgatory created by video artist Marco Brambilla. Inspired by Dante’s Inferno, it’s cobbled together from hundreds of scenes, lifted from movies; the piece runs as one enormous video collage. As the elevator rises, the sequence, running from an overhead projector, ascends to heaven. As the elevator descends, the video runs in reverse, ending in hell.” [. . .]    –Cliff Kuang, Fast Company, June 4, 2009

Contributed by Patrick Molloy

ABC’s Radio Poolside Story: “Star for Sale” (2009)

patrick-holland-star-for-sale-abc-radio-poolside-story-2009I followed the crowd down Fernberg Road onto Boys St where men in suits and shining shoes were selling stars. At first I did not know that was what they were doing. One suited man stood on a soapbox. The others sat behind a row of telescopes and their index fingers directed eyes about the firmament. I thought they were an astronomy club. But people were writing cheques; and a great celestial map clipped to an escritoire had pins and pen-marks all over it. Then I realised the man on the soapbox was conducting an auction.
I saw the weakest star of the Cross go for $100 000; someone whispered to the effect that he had bought the four major ones and was not greatly attached to this last only he needed it to complete the piece.
‘What would the Cross be without it?’ said the auctioneer to encourage the man through the bidding. The man intended the famed constellation for a light-feature in his garden. I felt a little sad for the ghosts of Cook and Magellan, lost upon dark waters below a bewildering sky.
In the background a ruckus was being subdued by the agency. Two men and an agent were fighting. It seemed the first star Dante saw when he emerged from the Inferno had been sold in a previous lot and there was a dispute over its authenticity. The agent was trying to reassure the man that though Florence was indeed in the Northern hemisphere, Dante had walked down through the Earth and emerged on the other side. The man’s companion was showing the agent Canto XXXIV and the line where Dante mysteriously turns back in space and for a while believes he is going deeper into the pit.
. . .so the night proceeded and all the stars were sold. One by one.
The final lot was a small fleck of a star, barely visible and only now toward three o’clock in winter. By this time there was little money or interest left in the auction. The auctioneer began the lot sheepishly at a thousand dollars. I put up my hand amidst the scattering, disinterested crowd and said ‘Ten’. The auctioneer laughed. He looked around the dispersing crowd and laughed again, but his confidence was gone.
‘It’s a star, you realize?’
‘I know,’ I said, stepping closer to the soapbox. ‘It’s worth much more, but ten is all I have.’
The auctioneer scowled:
‘I’d buy it myself if I had anywhere to put it.’
Reluctantly he re-started the auction. He called ‘Ten dollars’ three drawn out times and disgustedly brought the hammer down.
‘I expect you can arrange finance.’
I handed him the ten-dollar note.
‘Now, where do you want it delivered?’
‘I don’t. Leave it where it is.’
‘But it’s your star. You’ve bought it!’ He held a contract up to my face as proof.
‘I know. Only, leave it where it is. I like it there.’
I signed the contract and the auctioneer walked away shaking his head.
An energetic few had already set about taking down their new possessions. The Cross was gone to the rich man’s garden. The man who bought Dante’s star had it on the pavement, looking at it suspiciously where it burned as hot as a con. He was threatening to default on the deposit.
I always liked the smallest stars, anyway, I told myself: the ones that show the reality of the dark as well as the possibility of light. Perhaps tomorrow I would stay up late again and see my star rise alone in the east.”    –Patrick Holland, ABC Pool, 2009