Swipe File: Xombi Vs JK Potter (UPDATE)

On the left, the cover to the upcoming Xombi #4. On the right, the JK Potter cover illustration to House Shudders. A coincidence?

Probably not when Xombi author John Rozrum has previously been quoted as saying;

The only direct, conscious, influence on Xombi came from a photo of Lydia Lunch by J.K. Potter that became Manuel and Manuela Dexterity.

Looks like there might be another to add to the deck…

UPDATE: John Rozum writes;

As someone who is always happy to acknowledge the sources of inspiration for various elements of my work, such as the J.K. Potter Lydia Lunch portrait for Manuel and Manuella Dexterity, I have to state for the record that in this case it is mere coincidence.

I had seen the J.K. Potter flying skull with house atop it (called “Charnal House”) previously, but the skull stronghold was something that came to me independently.

Of course it could be argued that I pulled the idea of it from my subconscious memory, which is possible, just as it’s likely that the cathedral headed character in the map store in Hellboy II: The Golden Army may have inspired it in a similar manner.

The speed that was required to pull together material for the current Xombi series didn’t allow a lot of time for me dive into outside material for inspiration. Everything I did was simply a matter of my sitting down one afternoon and jotting down ideas for things that might lead to a story for the current story. I don’t remember what sparked the idea of a giant flying skull with a castle on top ( I even checked my notes – there’s a sketch and some description, but nothing more). All I know is it wasn’t specifically the J.K. Potter piece, as cool as it is.

For anyone who is interested, I’ve been toying with the idea of running a sort of annotated look at where some of the creatures, settings, props, etc., came from on my blog (www.johnrozum.blogspot.com) after Xombi #6 has come and gone.

As for the person who wants to lay the blame for the swipe at the feet of Frazer Irving, I tell him what to draw, often including some very specific reference (if I had swiped the skull citadel, I certainly would have sent him the J.K. Potter piece as reference since it would have saved me a bunch of explanatory text). Frazer does decide how to translate what I give him into his own personal interpretation and has a tremendous say on the storytelling aspects, but if anyone would be to blame for this, it would be me.

I take no offense at this. I thought it was really cool, just not true in this case. I fill my work with homages, and am never embarrassed to name them. For example take a look at my page in the Static Shock Special and the cover to The Marvel Family #28.

In Swipe File we present two or more images that resemble each other to some degree. They may be homages, parodies, ironic appropriations, coincidences or works of the lightbox. We trust you, the reader, to make that judgment yourself.  If you are unable to do so, please return your eyes to their maker before any further damage is done. The Swipe File doesn’t judge, it’s interested more in the process of creation, how work influences other work, how new work comes from old, and sometimes how the same ideas emerge simultaneously, as if their time has just come. The Swipe File was named after the advertising industry habit where writers and artist collect images and lines they admire to inspire them in their work. It was swiped from the Comic Journal who originally ran this column, as well as the now defunct Swipe Of The Week website.


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