You probably don’t need to be told that Mondo—the collectible-art-producing arm of Tim League’s Alamo Drafthouse empire—is the reigning champ of kickass, screenprinted movie posters. Oh, sure: many may have attempted to challenge the Mondo crew at their own game, but the Austin-based company’s ever-expanding stable of brilliant artists, their consistent quality, and the geek-friendly collection of licenses in the Mondo arsenal have ensured cemented their status. But even for a company known for casually leapfrogging each new high-watermark it establishes, 2012 has been a notable year.
I sat down with Mondo’s three head honchos—creative directors Justin Ishmael, Mitch Putnam, and (and Grammy-winner!) Rob Jones—to find out what Mondo’s learned in 2012, what we should expect from next month’s Universal Monsters gallery show, and what may lie beyond (prepare for non-committal responses!). It’s all after the jump in an exclusive video interview, folks: meet me there.
Every year, for one week, the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Austin, Texas becomes the greatest place in the universe, and– for the past eight years that Tim League has thrown this week-long celebration of genre-films, karaoke, great food, and booze– the common term for this event has been “Fantastic Fest”. Admittedly, it’s a catchy name…but here at Limited Paper HQ, we refer to this time of year by an entirely different name. It is, quite simply, “The Best Goddamn Week of The Year”.
But The Best Goddamn Week of The Year isn’t just about genre films, copious amounts of beer, karaoke, and questionable dietary choices. Oh, no. As you might expect–given their affiliation with Austin, the Alamo Drafthouse, genre films, and movie geeks—Fantastic Fest is also typically home to a slew of new poster drops from Mondo…and as you’ve probably noticed, 2012 has been no different.
But has such an impressive series of drops ever been made during Fantastic Fest? It’s debatable, but just look at this year’s lineup (photos of which are spread throughout this piece): Laurent Durieux’s Creature From The Black Lagoon, Mike Saputo’s Fantastic Fest event poster, Killian Eng’s (“What If…?”-style poster for) Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune, Jock’s Dredd, Jay Shaw’s Wrong and Beyond The Black Rainbow, the one-two punch of Olly Moss’ Harvey and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, and—last but not least– Martin Ansin’s glorious Looper set (with one version of the poster in gold and another in silver) have all dropped over the past few days; to say that Fantastic Fest attendees have had an embarrassment of screenprinted riches made available to them would be putting it mildly.
And since I’m at Fantastic Fest all week, it seemed like a perfectly good time to sit down with the three head honchos responsible for that Mondo presence. Just a day or two into Fantastic Fest 2012, I snagged an exclusive video interview with Mondo’s creative team–J ustin Ishmael, Rob Jones, and Mitch Putnam– and we’re going to get to that video in a moment. But first, lemme make one small notation before we get there.
Ahem: I’ve interviewed the Mondo guys a number of times at this point, and every time I’ve run interview with anyone associated with this company, I’m inundated with emails afterwards. These emails run the gamut—you name it, chances are someone’s said, asked, demanded, or accused it—but the most common responses all sound strangely similar: “Why didn’t you ask ‘em about (this rumored poster)?” or “Dude, you totally should’ve asked when (rumored Mondo poster title) is dropping!” It’s evident to me that you guys are far more interested in hints regarding upcoming Mondo posters and potential/new licenses than you are with, say, the nitty-gritty of Mondo’s business dealings, and I get that. But asking those questions doesn’t necessarily reap illuminating answers, and to prove that I went into my latest Mondo interview intent on asking about all the projects I get emailed about the most. Did your suggested approach result in a more entertaining/informative interview? Judge for yourselves below, folks:
So, that happened. As you can see, the wall of secrecy surrounding Mondo’s forthcoming releases is not easily penetrated. This is a company that traffics in “surprises” and “secrets” almost as often as it does “posters” and “badass screenings”. It’s possible that a few notable hints are embedded within the 10-minutes’ worth of video above (and, hey, if nothing else: we know not to expect the Drive vinyl before the end of the year), but I will leave that to the code-crackers and symbologists among you to decipher. I would, however, like to randomly include this trio of photos taken of Rob after his 2011 Grammy win (Fun Fact: for “Best Package Design” on The White Stripes’ Under Great White Northern Lights boxed set).
If Rob Jones isn’t your hero after looking at those photos, you have shitty taste in picking out heroes. Anyway! Special thanks, as always, to the Mondo guys for taking the time to speak with Limited Paper, along with the fine folks at the Alamo Drafthouse and Fons PR (particularly Ryan & Brandy Fons, Dacyl Armendariz, and Brad Smith), the Highball, and everyone currently at Fantastic Fest 2012 for making the Mondo lines such a pleasure to stand in every day.
Stay tuned for more, folks! We’ve got more Fantastic Fest coverage headed your ways in the days ahead, including an exclusive interview with Tyler Stout (who designed the line of Brain Damage shirts current being sold by inside the Mondo store) and more news on whatever else Mondo might be dropping during the Best Goddamn Week of The Year. And after that? Well, after that it’s time to start preparing for that October 19th Universal Monsters gallery show, and you know damn well we’re gonna have some awesome coverage planned for that. As always, if you’re an artist, gallery, or just someone with a hot bit of poster-related gossip you’d like to share, don’t hesitate to drop me a line via email at LimitedPaper@Gmail.com. Everyone else should follow along with us over on Twitter via @LimitedPaper (once again: we’ll be doing a giveaway once we hit 1,000 followers, and trust me…it’s gonna be something awesome; encourage your friends to sign up today!) or sounding off in the comments section until the next round of poster-news comes in! Thanks for reading, guys, and keep those emails coming!