RIP Spain Rodriguez
“It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing this morning of Spain Rodriguez. He passed at home with his daughter and wife at his bedside at about 7 this morning. He fought cancer for a long time. He was a wonderful father, husband, and friend. His art challenged, changed, enlightened, and entertained us for over five decades. His passing coincided with the penumbra eclipse of the moon, like Spain’s shadow from the outer edge of the art world’s face. Services are pending, please give the family some time. “
Janelle Hessig from Last Gasp Publishing sent that e-mail yesterday evening to me and Sean Aaberg from Pork Magazine. It arrived right after someone on Facebook told me that Spain had died and I yelled “WHAT!?” aloud at my computer in shock and anger. Janelle then sent me a link to this video that Spain’s wife made about him.
In this 15 minute documentary, R. Crumb describes Spain pretty well. “When I met him, he struck me as an archetypal character. Somewhere between a crazy artist crossed with a left wing radical, crossed with a working class Latino hood.”
Spain was a for real greaser who belonged to the Road Vultures MC. Many of his comics revolved around his motorcycle gang days. His people usually looked a little monstrous and odd to me, but his cars and motor vehicles were always perfect representations. His work took the super slickness of Wally Wood and Jack Kirby into a weird and beautiful place.
I put together a giant gallery of images that Spain made, which you can click through at the top of this page. You can also see a few of these pictures below. If you dig Spain’s art and want to check out some of his printed work, I suggest either Last Gasp’s new book SPAIN: Rock, Roll, Rumbles, Rebels & Revolutions or Fantagraphics’s Cruisin’ with the Hound.