TWFK Pinup by Håvard S. Johansen
I remember being seated right behind Håvard Johansen during my duration at the Joe Kubert School of Cartooning. One day, Håvard began probing me with questions about my background in art, and to, I think, to both our surprise, we discovered that we both had a formal, fine art, and painting background.
Håvard, being Norwegian, doesn't write and draw stories based on the more western influenced super hero genre. As a matter of fact, I don't recall him usually including superheroes in his Kubert assignments unless it was positively necessary.
One assignment we had, was to bring in a piece of or our own artwork, that had been done in the past, just to get critiqued in the class. I don't remember for the life of me what the hell I brought, but I sure as hell remembered Håvard's. It was a splash page from one of his earlier books called "Sabastián," a revenge story about a hitman, and a waitress he becomes intimate with. I remember it was a fish-eyed lense of a stone hallway, of a hotel the protagonist was staying at, with a time-lapse of the main character descending a stairwell. The page was a good 60-70% black. I was completely taken back by the page.
Again, I had not, at the time, had too much exposure to comics that were not superhero oriented. Seeing Håvard's work was intriquing. And to top it off, he was writing the book too! The rest of us were trying our damnedest to put together even two drawings to tell a story and here, this guys was working on a book!
Becoming such a good friend during my limited days at the Kubert School, I couldn't let this book happen without his wonderful contribution.
Håvard's work is very dark, and expressive, in tone. Dark Kaleb looming over a city, in the forefront, while the essence of what was a once loving Kaleb, fades to the back to give rise to his darkest, buried, instincts. Again, covering the page in mostly solid black, totally diluting Kaleb as a person, Håvard nails the tone of the story in his unique way.
Håvard, does the subject matter justice, with great detail and care, and expert execution.
And with that the gallery is complete. Håvard, like the rest of the wonderful artists that contributed to this book, helped make this venture that much more special. They gave the story more weight, while bringing in their own unique interpretation of what the story meant to them.
Thank you all.