By Malcom McNeill. Published by Stalking Horse Press.
Softcover, 134 pages, Colour, 2018 (originally published 1977-1979)
This is the first time that the prototypical graphic novel—written and illustrated in a wild period for New York’s Gallery magazine between 1977-79—has been collected, and presented in full color with a new introduction and afterword by its creator. These essays contextualize the unique experimentalism of Tetra in theme, style, and production. Originally suggested as a Star Wars pastiche complete with space opera trappings and messianic tendencies, Mc Neill always had a different idea.
Tetra is a visionary, surreal visual narrative, presaging a number of later science fiction tropes, and emerged from the context of Mc Neill’s suppressed collaboration with William S. Burroughs, Ah Pook Is Here. It coincides with the emergence of Heavy Metal magazine, and the exploitation of the science fiction boom. The unusual pretext and the challenges of creating and selling such an irreverant strip are detailed inside, along with archival production sketches, costumes, and concept art.
Malcolm Mc Neill worked as a political artist for The New York Times, cover artist for Marvel Comics, and title sequence designer for Saturday Night Live. His images have been exhibited in London, New York and Los Angeles. As a Director, he won numerous awards including an Emmy, and was introduced at the Broadcast Design Awards in 1991 as “…the man probably responsible for the most imitated [television] design style of the 1980s”.