Exhibition catalog published in conjunction with the career retrospective of the same title of the artwork of Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez (b. 1940, Buffalo, NY), September 14, 2012–January 20, 2013.
This curated selection of the best of Spain’s work as a graphic artist, underground comix pioneer, illustrator, and graphic novelist and biographer spans over 43 years, from Spain’s early covers for The East Village Other (1967) to his collaboration with Lynn Hershman Leeson on the movie poster and accompanying comic-book “study guide” to her feature-length documentary !Women Art Revolution (2010). Along the way are his color covers for Zap Number 7 (1974) and Zap No. 12 (the 2-page wraparound, 1989); his earliest Road Vultures story in its entirety, “Tales of R.V.M.C.” (1969); many pages and covers featuring his iconic characters Trashman, Sangrella, and Big Bitch; many pages from autobiographical stories about his youth in Buffalo, NY, including his days with the Road Vultures and cruisin’ buddy Fred Tooté; pages from historical stories about Ukrainian anarchist Nestor Makhno, “The Discovery of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Chicago ’68, Italy’s Red Brigades, and Smedley Butler (Devil Dog, 2010); poster art, including an example of his many posters for the San Francisco Mime Troupe; and several pages from his book-length graphic works Nightmare Alley and Che: A Graphic Biography.
There are nearly 60 illustrations in all, of which more than 40 are plates of works in the exhibition, mostly original ink-over-pencil drawings. The book contains a foreword by Anthony Bannon, Ph.D, director of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and informative and insightful essays by the Center’s Associate Director, Don Metz, who co-curated the show, and guest-curator Edmund Cardoni.