Des Taylor, a U.K. based artist, well-known for his DesPop brand (design meets pop) was the highlight of New York Comic Con for me; possibly one of the best kept secrets. His work which is a direct homage to pop art of the 60’s, and influenced by animation, truly has a life of its own. For lack of a better word, his art pops! According to Taylor, “When people walk into a room and see my art, I want them to stop and say “What’s that?” Art should stop people in a room and lead them directly to it.” With the worldwide following Des Taylor has attracted, and client base of FHM, Cosmopolitan, LA PERLA, and more, it’s pretty obvious that his work lives up to his ideas on the eye-capturing appeal and power of good art.
While not just a freelance illustrator, specializing in unique, retro infused artwork that is distinctly his own, he’s also a massive comic book fan. Developing his own comic book series under the DesPop brand, and being featured by Madefire at SDCC and NYCC, he has developed stories and characters that pay great tribute to strong, female protagonists. According to Des Taylor, “In a world of male dominated comics, we thought it would be pertinent to show what the ladies are capable of with a different approach to story-telling through our pictures and prose type story books as well as our comic book projects.”
While his books went fast, two of the main staples at the Madefire booth were Des Taylor’s “The Trouble With Katie Rogers” and “Bad Girls: A Collection of Vicious Vixens and Femme Fatales.” I was eager to read “The Trouble With Katie Rogers” and enjoyed it very much, despite certain reservations concerning the material.
“Katie Rogers” is an East End London-er, living in New York City, as a top publicist for Hot Profile (a brand new fashion media company based in SoHo, NYC.) She is described as “headstrong, cunning and driven to save the day.” The punch line is “Katie’s only trouble lies in her personal life where she has a habit of falling in bed with her ex-boyfriend, Byrnes Fitzpatrick. It’s complicated.” The characters that populate the world of “Katie Rogers” are all so very colorful, cartoony, ripe for a CW television adaptation, yet very real. The lifestyle and New York minute pacing of the story could be relatable to the many that work hard and play harder, yet alienating to the good ‘ol boys and girls that go to church, say their prayers, eat their vegetables, and help hold the door open for others.
The artwork in the book, every panel and page illustrated and colored by Des Taylor simply pops, and is gorgeous to look at. An in-house wink towards Taylor, as said by Katie Rogers in a scene during the book, describes the art as “comicpop.” What stands out, just as much as the artwork, is Taylor’s fast paced, pop-culture filled dialogue, that would make any comic art fan blush. In a monologue Katie has with a journalist at an art gallery, she goes on to say “Ditko, Kubert, Romita, Kirby, Steranko, Adams, Colan, and Buscema. They are the original pioneers of comicpop!”
While the material is definitely for mature readers, as the content is highly suggestive at times, and there are elements that aren’t suited for the prudish; Des Taylor’s work is too appealing to pass up for anyone the loves art (particularly pop art.) It’s also well-suited for those that are looking for an interesting alternative to the Marvel, DC, and other publications that fill the shelves. Katie Rogers is a very strong and independent character. She is somewhere on the lines of Charles Soule’s characterization of She-Hulk; just not green and muscular.
Des Taylor is an artist that needs to be checked out. He’s onto something very unique. Be it his own renditions of Superman or Dick Tracy – to his creations of Katie Rogers, Vesha Valentine and others – I personally cannot wait to see what else he has in store for fans of one of the greatest of American art mediums – comic books.
*For more information, here are the links to find more about “Katie Rogers.”