Bode v. Bakshi

Vaughn Bode’s Cobalt 60 as depicted by his son Mark.
Photo courtesy of First Amendment Gallery.

I was flipping through the paper yesterday when an iconic image from my childhood jumped out at me. It was Cobalt 60 (right), a creation of Vaughn Bode, an amazing artist whose son, Mark, is bringing his own representations of his father’s works to the First Amendment Gallery in San Francisco this month. You may know Mark’s work from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics in the late 80’s to mid-90s.

I remember the elder Bode’s Cheech Wizard and Cobalt 60 from some of my earliest introductions to art. Of course, it is also ties closely to my watching of Wizards (full version below), a film by Ralph Bakshi who also created the animated The Lord of the Rings. The blu-ray release of Wizards earlier this year for its 35th Anniversary opened some old wounds between defenders of Bode who, I believe rightly, say that Bakshi’s Necron 99 character, among others, resembles Bode’s work a little too closely.

Either way, the easy lines of the characters, the loose plot lines, and rotoscoping all bring me to the warm memories of my youth. For those who have no idea what I am talking about, give the film below a looksie.


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