As I scrolled through all 356 pages of Selected Ambient Works: 11-13, a free PDF download compiling tons of sketches, fan art, comic book pages and finished illustrations by Giannis Milonogiannis, creator of Archaia's Old City Blues and contributing artist to Image's Prophet, I thought to myself, "Is Milonogiannis a retrofuturist? Is he doing with the 1980s and cyberpunk what Dean Motter did with the 1930s and noir?"
old city blues
The first chapter of cyberpunk cop drama Old City Blues vol. 2 opens with a quote from Joe Keatinge -- the writer of Glory, Morbius and Hell Yeah, and one of the editors of the Eisner-winning “graphic mixtape” comics anthology PopGun -- in which he declares cartoonist Giannis Milonogiannis’ work to be “the world comics style prophesied by Paul Pope fully realized.” Keatinge is referencing Pope’s frequently espoused creative ideal that sees comic book authors draw inspiration from a multitude of works and cultures beyond their immediate experience, with a view towards creating “21st century comics... which can speak to people everywhere.”
That’s extremely high praise for Milonogiannis, who’s still a newcomer (he's also drawn several issues of Prophet), but Keatinge knows what he’s talking about when it comes to comic book art, particularly that from the studios of Europe and Japan. After reading Milonogiannis’ work -- which is a seductive, moody synthesis of the characterization, action, pacing and drawing styles from eurocomics, manga and American influences -- it’s very easy to see why Keatinge was reminded of Pope’s world comics “prophecy” by the pages of Old City Blues.
But if this young cartoonist’s embodiment of the progressive creative philosophy of one of our mediums great masters doesn’t really impress you, that’s fine. The riveting future-cop yarns of Old City Blues surely will.