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?"

In works like Mister X and Terminal City, Motter (and his collaborators including Paul Rivoche and Michael Lark) shows us the world of the future as envisioned in the early 20th century. The architecture, the fashions, the technology -- Motter presents a future defined by film noir and dark deco that we seem to remember very clearly, but it's a world that never actually came to be. Likewise, the artwork and stories of Milonogiannis invoke a visceral recognition of an unreal future introduced to us in the 1980s; a boundless megalopolis of manga speed lines, oppressive cybernetics, 8-bit graphics and super-fast European cars. If Motter's aesthetic excavations were filtered through contemporary New Wave music, it seems Milonogiannis' endeavors might owe something to electronica, with the name of his art collection, Selected Ambient Works, taken from the seminal Aphex Twin album(s) of the same name(s).

(I'm hopeful that the "Motorpsycho" piece below is a reference to the techno band Underworld, whose electronic anthem "Dirty Epic" mentions a character called Whiplash Willy, the Motorpsycho.)

I've compared Milonogiannis' work to Motter's before when I wrote about Old City Blues, the cyberpunk police procedural which features a fictional city called New Athens that is "a constantly changing, almost living thing that seems to poison its inhabitants." The feeling of reading it reminded me of Somnopolis in Motter's detective psychodrama Mister X. But I didn't make the retrofuturist connection until tonight, when I bombarded my mind with over 300 images straight from Milonogiannis' imagination.

It's a great artist who can transport you to such a vivid world with only static images and a few word balloons, which Milonogiannis certainly does in Old City Blues and Prophet. But as you can see in the samples below, this is an artist who beams us into a world we actually remember, and yet one that never existed, sometimes with as little as a few scratchy lines.



You can download the entire 356-page Selected Ambient Works: 11-13 at Giannis Milonogiannis' blog.