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Mr.Rick Trembles – Artist, Exhibitionist, Enigma

Originally Published in Sequential Pulp Special 2009 TCAF Edition

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Rick Trembles has written and drawn some excruciatingly honest comics in the last 30 years. He’s constantly putting himself out there, warts and all, in every medium he can penetrate, making him a very unusual entity in the comics world.

To date, he is an Animator, Illustrator, Writer, Musician, Song Writer, Radio DJ, Make up and Special Effects Artist, Movie Reviewer, Actor, Sculptor, Designer, and Photographer. His band, The American Devices, has lasted for 3 decades and is still going strong today with new shows and songs every year. Yet, he somehow manages to have his finger in all those pies without any formal training. Mostly known for his movie/comic reviews ‘Motion Picture Purgatory’, the second collection of said strip is due out this summer at Fantasia. His work is not for children and his two favourite movies of all time are ‘King Kong’ and ‘Videodrome’.

“My father was a cartoonist” Rick says, and that was his first exposure to the medium that would become most of his career. “Growing up in Verdun, Quebec, he did WWII airplane dog-fight comics and Canadian war comics.” His father, J. Tremblay, tried to encourage young Trembles through osmosis. Besides his father, other major influences were old British comics, newspaper strips of the 30’s and 40’s and Ray Harryhausen. “That’s what I wanted to be, before anything, I wanted to be Ray Harryhausen.”

Once out of high school, Rick put together ‘Sugar Diet’ #1. Published in ‘84, it was full of interviews of local bands, comics, and reviews. And in the true spirit of punk, it was printed and paid for by funds stolen from a CEGEP one of his friends went to. Unbeknownst to Rick until later, because of complete student apathy his friend was able to funnel money intended for school projects into his ‘zine without notice or recrimination. In ‘93 he sent an issue of ‘SD’ to Robert Crumb and got published in ‘Weirdo’ #11. “He liked it. He said my stuff reminded him of Gary Panter. He gave me a few tips, on a postcard, handwritten. He said, “You should do more shading.” Which I didn’t, I never used shading again. But it was only because I was being reprinted in ‘zines, and the more details you have, it’s harder to reprint. So I decided to keep everything clean.” ‘SD’ #2 came out in ‘92. Gone were all the band interviews and reviews, it was all comics, all the time. It’s here that his art style begins to appear almost OCD in its detailing. ‘God’s Cocksuckers’ alone can make you stare for hours at the writhing mass of Lilliput people, in various sexual positions. “I like to cram it full of details.” ‘SD’ #3 has a retelling of the original ‘MPP’ debacle, complete with offensive comic strip and transcript of a phone conversation with one of the ‘Montreal Mirror’ (a free weekly) shills, attempting to explain why they got rid of the strip. Padded out with random comic bits, the variety is endless, interesting and innovative. “That’s my problem, I’m always biting off more than I can chew. Cause you gotta keep yourself challenged, you know?”

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Motion Picture Purgatory

‘Motion Picture Purgatory’s’ initial incarnation started with the advent of the Mirror in ‘85. After 3 years of horror movie comic reviews, Rick found himself unceremoniously dumped when he was accused of being a misogynist. (He had the nerve to draw feminist Lydia Lunch’s all time dream special-effects sequence.) “They thought a lot of the stuff I was doing was misogynistic and the problem was, I was reviewing slasher movies. Anyone who can sit through that crap must have a problem, right?” Then in ‘98 the ‘Mirror’ got a new editor and it was a whole different ball game. “He was a pop culture journalist and one of his first articles was about my band in the early 80’s. He was always a fan of my stuff and my band and I think it was Rupert Bottenberg that suggested bringing ‘Motion Picture Purgatory’ back.” I’m continually amazed by what he gets away with in ‘MPP’. The censorship under the new regime is virtually non existent. “The only time I’ve ever been censored, I was talking about Tom Cruise. They actually put black bars over his name. It was a strip about Kenneth Anger’s gossiping and they censored it because of a possible lawsuit, not because of the content.” Trembles seems born to do ‘MPP’, as it encompasses the majority of his favourite things. He’s certainly created a niche unto himself. “I figure I’m under the radar somehow. Because it’s a comic strip, reviewing films. And it cancels out comics and it cancels out film reviews at the same time. It’s just this odd duck. It’s a comic strip and that’s just too low brow for some people. But for people that are completely into comics, it’s just too much text and you have to be into film. Also it’s possible, a lot of film nerds don’t want to be told by some smirking cartoonist what’s what in film.”

1 Comment to Mr.Rick Trembles – Artist, Exhibitionist, Enigma

  1. November 19, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    hehe, good to see him smile again!Tho I’m really not into Star Wars (omg, Ep. I-III are just cprapy!!!), the intro is just cult.Especially along with the soundtrack!Ha, short comment today :]I’m lookin’ forward to your surprise!

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