Melinda Gebbie and Oliver Frey: Illustration on the Top Shelf

From Lost Girls - © Melinda Gebbie and Alan Moore

When: Thu 3 Jul 2014, 18.30-20.30

Where: Conference Centre, British Library

Price: £8, (£6 Over 60s) and £5

Book now for 03 Jul 2014

Sex and erotic themes have had a long and significant presence in the story of underground comics, and unsurprisingly this has been accompanied by controversy and brushes with the law. In the first half of this event in two parts, artist Melinda Gebbie talks to Rachel Cooke of The Observer about the extraordinary Lost Girls – an explicit and dreamlike graphic novel created together with Alan Moore over the course of 16 years. And in the second half, one of the most prolific, and often persecuted, illustrators of gay fiction and magazines Oliver Frey (aka ‘Zack’) talks to Rupert Smith about his art and career.

Please note that this event will include images and themes that some people may find offensive and is restricted to over 18s only

  • Melinda Gebbie’s exquisite painted art has brought to comics a level of grace and craft rarely seen in the art form. Her career as a cartoonist began in the San Franscisco Underground era, where her work appeared in numerous comics, including the seminal all-women anthologies Wimmen’s Comix and Tits & Clits. Her own solo book, the sexually charged Fresca Zizis (1977) was involved in an obscenity case in the UK over the importation of ‘pornographic’ comics, and was for a time illegal to own in this country.
    Gebbie now lives in England, having moved here initially to work on the animated film adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ When the Wind Blows. She is a frequent collaborator with her husband Alan Moore, notably with the Cobweb character in the America’s Best Comics line. Sixteen years in the making, Lost Girls is among her finest achievements.
  • Rachel Cooke is an award-winning journalist for The Observer, where she also reviews graphic novels, and is the television critic of the New Statesman. Her recent, highly acclaimed book is Her Brilliant Career, exploring the stories of ten extraordinary women whose pioneering professional lives – and complicated private lives – paved the way for future generations.
  • Frequently recognised as Britain’s most provocative contemporary graphic artist and storyteller of homoerotic fantasies, Oliver Frey, also known as ‘Zack’, has been arousing the gay imagination for four decades. His raunchy hero Rogue prowled the pages of HIM Magazine in the UK in the Seventies, while his exploits of Bike Boy were cover-featured in the American anthology Meatmen. Frey also brought his virile vision to several classic male heroes in British comics, notably Dan Dare in Eagle as well as ‘Rise and Fall of The Trigan Empire’ in Look & Learn and a number of World War II picture libraries. More recently, Frey has been (re-)discovered through comics compilations and paperback fiction from German publisher Bruno Gmünder. His latest lavish compendium, Zack: The Art demonstrates the distinctive masculinity and sensuous physicality of his artistry.
  • Rupert Smith is the author of several novels, including the Stonewall Award-winning Man’s World and the acclaimed horror novel, Grim. As James Lear he has written a series of successful erotic thrillers. A journalist for over 20 years, Rupert has also produced and presented events exploring LGBT culture and history all around the UK. His new novel, Interlude, is out in September.

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