Posted by: Brian Hibbs on May 5, 2006
Not that I’m going to do this very often, (but I thought once was ok) here’s a guest P/review of a new film, reviewed by Peter Wong, author of the “Lost in Pictopia” column that runs in ONOMATOPOEIA. A longer version will appear in the next issue of CEO.
UNAUTHORIZED AND PROUD OF IT: TODD LOREN’S ROCK ‘N’ ROLL COMICS–(D: Ilko Davidov)–Boy wunderkind Todd Loren created Revolutionary Comics as a medium for melding his love of both rock and roll and comic books. Yet what would have been in theory a dream marriage of disreputable cultures turned into a nightmare…and Loren and the Revolutionary Comics staff thrived on it. Davidov’s documentary does a solid job of portraying how this nightmare was self-inflicted on the rock and roll side. With the exception of Mojo Nixon’s and Alice Cooper’s bits, passable talking head footage discusses how much research and respect the Revolutionary Comics crew brought to creating their unauthorized rock biographies. Well, maybe the New Kids On The Block can be excepted from that categorization.
Yet it mattered little when the music business suits perceived that Loren’s comics denied them their rightful tithing. By contrast, the weaker comics industry portions of “Unauthorized” never fully convey why Loren became a comics industry pariah. Loren’s financial and emotional manipulation of his talent probably formed part of his bad reputation. But what were the other causes: egotism, homophobia, or something else? The film’s Revolutionary Comics samples will not enhance Loren’s work. Despite the frequent video animation and manipulation, one can’t help noticing how visually unimpressive the samples are. Comics journalist Joe Sacco will not need to worry about competition.
On the other hand, Revolutionary Comics did launch the comics careers of such folks as Terry Dodson and Stuart Immonen. The comics line was also supported by Alice Cooper, Mojo Nixon, and Ice T. By the film’s end, a viewer may feel Loren was a man who expanded the First Amendment importance of comic books…or an irritating swine…or a dear friend whose still unsolved murder possibly hints at police homophobia…or a successful schlockmeister. What one will not feel is indifferent. (Film screens 5/13 at 7 PM at The Women’s Building in San Francisco as part of the S.F. Documentary Film Festival)