Early cover art by 2000AD’s Colin Wilson unearthed for ground-breaking New Zealand music paper “Rip it Up”

Back in 1977, fledgling New Zealand-based music newspaper Rip It Up commissioned local artist Colin Wilson to draw a cover for its sixth issue, giving a tip of the hat to two notable Kiwi bands of the time, Mother Goose and Hello Sailor.

Rip It Up #6 - 1 November 1977 - Cover by Colin Wilson

Published from 1977 until 2015, running for 377, Rip It Up was the brainchild of photographer and former Craccum designer Murray Cammick and musician and writer Alastair Dougal, who was its first editor. The name ‘Rip It Up’ came from Little Richard’s 1956 song of the same name.

A free title circulated via record shops, produced on a meagre budget, in 1991, the quality of the publication improved, making the transition from newsprint to a gloss medium.

While most covers utilise publicity photography, Colin Wilson also provided the covers for two early issues of a title citing a circulation of some 20,000 by 1980. – He is today best known, perhaps, for his work on comic strips such as “Rogue Trooper” for 2000AD, and his own title, Dans l’Ombre du Soleil, as well as having runs on well-established titles, like Blueberry.

Rip it Up #13 - July 1978 - cover by Colin Wilson
Rip it Up #13 – July 1978 – cover by Colin Wilson
Rip it Up #22 - May 1979 - cover by Colin Wilson
Rip it Up #22 – May 1979 – cover by Colin Wilson

The archives and the name of the influential magazine are owned today by music entrepreneur Simon Grigg, one of the magazine’s early contributors and there is an archive of the first 100 issues on the National Library of New Zealand’s “Papers Past” web site.

Colin’s Bruce Springsteen cover art – or a version of it – also featured in Visions of Rock, edited by Mal Burns (who was also editor of the short-loved British comics anthology title, Psst!) and published by Communication Vectors in 1981, alongside art by British artists such as Hunt Emerson, Brett Ewins, David Hine, Brendan McCarthy and Bryan Talbot.

“I’m a bit miffed about that book,” says Hine. “We were paid for the artwork to be produced as posters, which they were. I had no idea there was a book as well!”

Mother Goose was a “novelty band”, where the members wore weird costumes, and their only big hit was called “Baked Beans”.

Hello Sailor, on the other hand, was a longer-lasting and more influential New Zealand pop/rock band, originally formed in 1975. Although the band formally disbanded in 1980 after just two albums, they continued to sporadically reunite during the years since, recording a further four albums and performing numerous live tours and appearances.

In 2005, Hello Sailor’s 1977 song “Gutter Black”, written by one of the band’s founding members, Dave McArtney, was chosen as the title music for what would become a hit New Zealand television series, Outrageous Fortune. This not only sparked renewed interest for the band, but also resulted in a favourable renegotiation of the publishing rights for Hello Sailor’s earlier material.

Sadly, McArtney died in 2013 and in 2015, just as the band were planning their 40th-anniversary tour, fellow founding member Graham Brazier suffered a heart attack. The tour was postponed while he recovered, but he died shortly after, marking the end of the band’s career.

Rip it Up Issues 1 – 105 are digitally archived on the National Library of New Zealand’s “Papers Past”

Wikipedia – Hello Sailor

With thanks to former Tharg, now crime author David Bishop; Simon Coleby for the Visions of Rock information; and Jon Preddle

Categories: Art and Illustration, Comic Creator Spotlight, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds

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