Leave Your Spandex At The Door 4.24.03: Bond, Philip Bond

Welcome to LYS@D’s tenth anniversary! Ten columns down the road, and still not one deadline met!

This week I have the honour to talk with Philip Bond, acclaimed artist of Vertigo’s “Invisibles”, “Shade the Changing Man”, “Hellblazer: Bad Blood”, “Kill Your Boyfriend” and recently “Vertigo Pop: London”.
Young Man Bond is also the latest X-StatiX guest-penciller, with this week’s #10. Marvel has provided 411comics with an exclusive sneak peek at the first pages of the issue.

For more Philip Bond art visit his personal site and DC’s Vertigo Pop sneak peek pages.

Manolis: Your last published series was “Vertigo Pop: London”. What do you consider “pop”? Your art has been characterized as “pop”, but how would you label your art style?

Philip Bond: That’s a tough one to start with, you’re asking me to define the manifesto.
Pop is slipping it in with a cheeky grin. It’s not about the cock, but about being cocky. The “hit me baby one more time” of it all.
Which is not me at all actually, but if that’s how my work looks then we’ll call it “pop”.

Manolis: Did you design the protagonists of “VP:L” with particular real-life celebrities in mind?

Philip: In mind is the key here, they’re mostly composites of any number of people, and not always visually.
Rocky is pretty obviously a mish-mash of Mick Jagger, John Lennon, a little David Bowie and a bunch of George Harrison. Basically if you put the Beatles and the Stones in a vat and boiled it for thirty years you’d end up with something looking like Rocky.
Rocky’s wife Trixie has some of McCartney’s new wife, but with both legs. Ex-wife Victoria is mostly Jane Asher.
Zoe is mostly Pete Townshend’s daughter Emma with a bit of Stella McCartney.
Sean was totally stolen from Rick Witter of the sadly overlooked British band Shed Seven.

Manolis: As I had noted in my spotlight of VP:L, while reading this series I got the sense that the body language and facial expression of the characters switched, as their consciousnesses did, between their bodies. Was this a conscious effort? Do you establish different body languages for each character in your projects?

Philip: Actually it wasn’t a conscious thing. I can only deflect some of the credit for that onto Milligan who defined them both so well (despite much script confusion along the lines of “Sean eats a cake, um… Sean that is, in Rocky’s body. Rocky (Sean): yum yum”).
It was only really in hindsight that I noticed how their mannerisms stayed with them through the body switch.

Manolis: If you were placed in Rocky Lamont’s position, what road would you follow?

Philip: I think I’d be hopping from body to fresh young body, leaving burned out husks behind me.

Manolis: X-Statix #10 will mark your first non-Vertigo project in the last five years, and your first Marvel work ever. How did they manage to convince you to stray from your “mistress”, how did this project come about?

Philip: It wasn’t the strange new world it might have been. Obviously I’ve worked with Milligan before but I’ve also worked with X-Statix editor Axel Alonso when he was at Vertigo.
I’d met up with Milligan towards the end of last year, doing some press for Vertigo Pop, when the idea of an X-Statix fill-in popped up. It was just good timing for everyone.

Manolis: What is this story about? Is it a solo Edie story or will we be seeing your renditions of the whole team?

Philip: The story fits in between Edie leaving home, having had her baby, and when she joins X-Force. Her wilderness years. It’s mostly solo, bookended with bits of the current team, but we also get to see some of the early X-Force, including a glimpse of some never-before-seen members.

Manolis: Are you a fan of x-Statix or was this your first tangle with the characters?

Philip: I don’t follow many titles religiously but I’d buy anything by either Milligan or Allred, so X-Force and X-Statix were always regulars on the Bond shopping list.

Manolis: If you lived in the Marvel Universe, which X-Static’s fan-club would you have joined?

Philip: Fan clubs would be too social for me. I’d be an Edie stalker.

Manolis: Grasping at straws, but could this self-contained story be a possible pre-cursor to a much-demanded U-Go Girl mini series with you on art duties?

Philip: Well there are hints there. Four Edie diaries are found but only one is read.

Manolis: You’ve been working on Vertigo since the inception of the brand which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

What has been your most memorable Vertigo project ?

Philip: I think being part of The Invisibles has been most rewarding.

Manolis: What character have you had more fun drawing?

Philip: Just to be obscure: Bambi Dextrous from Angel And The Ape.

Manolis: What’s the weirdest and most difficult scene you’ve been asked to draw?

Philip: The whole of Hellblazer: Bad Blood was hugely difficult, it’s hard to pick out one particular scene.
Similarly Angel And The Ape would work for weirdest. A lot of that series is just screwed.

Manolis: Since this site has its roots in a wrestling site, some WWF matches are in order:

—Milligan Vs Morisson: who would win in a cage-match? Who would you be rooting for?

Philip: Oh that’s just wrong, that would turn into a slapping match. I think Milligan would bow out when Morrison got too sweaty to slap.

Doop vs Psycho Panda in a song contest: Who would win, and who would have the worst soundtrack?

Philip: Doop would be undeniably clever and artful but unlistenable. I’d have to vote for the Panda for sheer pop swagger.

— Trixie and Edie in a mud-wrestling competition: Who would stoop lowest?

Philip: I had a long think about this, and the result didn’t become clear till I’d drawn a 20 page comic around it. Trixie notches up 10 hair-pulls, 12 bites and 5 wedgies but taps out after Edie pees in the mud.

Manolis: What other projects will we be seeing from you in the future?

Philip: We’re talking about another book with Grant Morrison. Maybe two books, one’s almost Disney-esque, the other’s an utter mind-f*ck. Pop either way you look at it.

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The rest of you, tune back in 411comics and “Leave Your Spandex @t the Door” sometime in the near future for a special Sandman-related interview, and who knows, even the much-awaited Paradigm interview .

Do you want to discuss this article? Visit the message boards and voice your opinions (but please no death threats!). As always, I’m waiting for your comments through email or in the boards…

Manolis Vamvounis
a.k.a. Doc Dooplove