Monday, March 7, 2011

Nothing is certain, except death and x

* Artist: Läjä Äijälä
* Publisher: Huuda huuda

Finnish and translated.

X is the best policy

I used to look for the original comics on auction sites, but now my wildest wishes have been granted and Äijälä's drawings for X magazine come in one beautiful 96-page book.

X came out once a year from 1990 to 1994 and had many artists besides Äijälä. It was sold in sex shops and advertised in S&M/leather... magazines.

Some of these comics are based on earlier ones from the 1980s and some were further combined and remixed for this new book. Finnish magazines Kannus and Sarjari have also featured them.

How would I describe the style? Bleakness and titillation. The tone is laconic, excessive and outrageous. The illustrations are gorgeously rough. What makes this interesting is that it isn't just basic leather and rubber fetishism. The minimal frenzy you see on these pages transcends you. It reminds me of the Japanese artist Hideshi Hino, and in some ways Finnish artists like Kalervo Palsa and Tom of Finland.

A man in his fifties celebrates his opportunity to be middle age crazy: he blows his brains out alone in an apartment and declares his new purpose, rotting.

Pin-up dominatrix Bettie Page has insane sessions with Elvis and Urho Kekkonen beyond the grave. Bettie is the one who crystalises the philosophy:

"You're one of us now!! Evil, good, pleasure... DEATH???
You find it exciting??? You're in a new world now!!! FOREVER."

"Mmm... I wonder what's next!!!"

Something good with three exclamation marks.

To each their x

Läjä was recently on TV talking briefly about his musical principles and how he and Terveet Kädet wanted to "kill all the rednecks in Tornio with their music."

He also appeared earlier on a pop culture program where he talked about his passion for pin-up photography, his early days when he discovered Hasil Adkins, his fellow comic artist Nalle Virolainen and his current obsession with death.

When Läjä was quietly turning the pages of a comic book in front of the camera, the program came to a screeching halt. It was appropriately awkward. It was perfect.

I recommend this book to all the people who wished that Veli-Matti "Läjä" Äijälä had directed films.

It ain't over till the fat lady whips

Anna mulle piiskaa

Give me some spanking