"I call to order the 113th secret meeting of the ... MEAN GIRLS CLUB!"
And so begins Ryan Heshka's comic with Nobrow. We follow Pinky, Sweets, Blackie, McQualude, Wendy and Wanda as they sweep through a 1950s landscape in a 'plague of pink and black'.
We caught up with Ryan and asked him a few questions about B-movies and body parts.
Could you sketch something that is next to you right now?
MEAN GIRLS CLUB is a real whirlwind of violence and kitsch. Can you tell us your influences - from music, literature, moments in your life?
MGC was very heavily influenced by the juvenile delinquent and crime genres that happened in film and comic books in the 1950’s. Roger Corman and teen gang movies, true crime comics, that sort of thing. The covers of the classic dime novels of that era as well, such as “Reform School Girl”. Musically, the sound track would resemble tracks from Miss Kitten, a French musician and DJ … the orderly chaos of electronic sounds. As far as moments in my life: my life has been fairly quiet, and I think in some ways, this reflects the extreme opposite of that quiet.
It’s also pretty clear that B-movies are integral to some of your work. What's the importance of the B-movie to your work?
B-movies offer a sort of spontaneous, one-take approach, like a very energetic painting. They never had time or budget to shoot multiple takes… they kept the take even if the walls were shaken, if the props failed, if the actor flubbed his/her lines. I enjoy that sort of “one-take, move on” approach, where it is energy, not perfection, that is being strived for. As well, I love the moody, grainy photography and textures achieved in B-movies. I am and have always been a fan of the underdog.
Just to take the B-movie thing a little further - the monsters. What or who is your favourite monster and why!
King Kong, original 1933 version!! This movie blew my mind as a child, for many of the reason mentioned above. I fell in love with the stop motion. I fell in love with New York. Not only do I like the idea of a giant ape, but the world Kong inhabited was so lushly and densely created, it took me back in time. The work that went into that film by the small team of effects people is astounding.
And how did the NOBROW collaboration come about?
MGC started as a small sketch, grew into a painting, then in to an installation show in Portland in Summer of 2014. I did a self-published comic of MGC for that show, and met Sam Arthur of Nobrow around that time. I managed to get a copy of the comic in his hands, and after an expansion on the original version, it was published by Nobrow. They have been wonderful to work with, a dream come true.
And are you planning any longer comics in the future - maybe featuring the Mean Girls?
I would love to do more comics, likely it would be a different set of characters. I love the idea of the one-shot comic. "One take, move on”. But at the moment I want to focus on oil painting.
Sounds great. Just one last request. At Funhouse, we’re obsessed with bodies - so could you sketch your favourite body part for us?
Check out more of Ryan Heshka's work and follow him on Instagram @ryanheshka