I’m gonna skip Dropping Science today in favour of remembering Beastie Boy Adam Yauch aka MCA, who passed away yesterday. I talk a lot about music that inspires the work we do here but the Beasties are about as central to our comic as any band. Back when Paul Wade and I were writing the original Moon sketch back in 2008 we watched Sabotage on a loop and the original brief for the short was basically “Let’s do that with a guy with a Moon head”. Obviously we weren’t the only ones. Sabotage is pretty much the perfect cop parody and has been riffed on so many times by so many people that it’s kind of amazing.
The comic has moved on from its simple cop parody roots and the feel is quite different now but without the Beastie Boys it’s unlikely that we would have ever hit upon the idea in the first place. Add to that the staggering debt that modern music owes to the band and you have a very special artist.
Adam, thanks for the music, the inspiration and the SABOTAGE!
Ralph McQuarrie (1930-2012)
Ralph McQuarrie was the visionary artist who developed the look of one of the most easily recognisable moments in cinema history. Twin suns in the sky over Tatooine, A-wings sailing passed destroyed ATAT’s on the icy surface of Hoth. A young adventurer named Starkiller against an enemy named Darth Vader. All of these concepts had been brought to life long before a crew of hundreds started work on production of Star Wars. Lucas himself was quoted as saying ‘when I run out of ways to describe what I want – I point to Ralph’s work and say – like this.’
The Darth Vader suit was a combination of Samurai armour, Nazi uniform and gas mask. To stand in a room with it represents a real moment of awe. Combining aspects of mechanised war, machine, ancient warrior, vampire lord and dark magician – McQuarrie created an image of unsurpassed power and contained evil. His vision of Darth Vader, completed with the voice of James Earl Jones the most recognisable vision of evil and power in fictional popular culture in the 20th Century.
Anyone who loves the Millenium Falcon or Darth Vader should remember Ralph McQuarrie. King of concept artists – but much more than that – a man who brought dreams alive for an inexperienced director and ultimately the whole world. A true visionary.
Thank you Ralph McQuarrie. Dream maker.
To do the same thing again Lucas employs teams of visual artists for every scene. McQuarry did it effectively alone with one man’s ideas in his head.
The very definition of visionary.
Ralph McQuarrie (1930-2012)
This isn’t really geek news but Etta James passed away today at the age of 73. I’ve been a fan of Etta’s music for some time and she’s one of the artists that I routinely listen to while working so I thought it was only right to acknowledge that. Here’s a bit of her wonderful music to brighten your Friday night.
Rest in Peace, Etta. Thanks for the music.