Murder Ballads art from the great Roger Langridge.
January 12, 2021 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Murder Ballads art from the great Roger Langridge.
My Christmas present to myself this year was commissioning a brand-new piece of colour artwork from the Eisner-winning cartoonist Roger Langridge (Bill & Ted, The Muppets, Fred the Clown etc). You can find the brief I set him below the fold and the finished drawing he produced on this PlanetSlade page. I think it’s rather wonderful.

“Dear Roger: I’ve written a lot in recent years about the true stories behind a whole range of murder ballads, including Stagger Lee, Tom Dooley, Knoxville Girl and so on. What I’d like you do you is draw a full-on saloon brawl with guns, knives, chairs busted over heads etc, featuring as many of the real-life killers from these songs as you can cram into the picture.

“What I’m looking for is a depiction of the fight with all the cartoony mayhem you can muster. Think of the saloon brawl in Roadhouse or - better yet - in an old John Wayne movie. The saloon itself should be consistent with the late 19th/early 20th century period when most of these murders took place. Maybe throw in a terrified barman trying to keep out of harm’s way as the violence erupts all around him?

“Each character would need some signifier to identity them: a Stetson hat for Lee Shelton, say, a Confederate soldier’s uniform for Tom Dula and a sexy Victorian red dress for Frankie Baker. My one specific request is that Hattie Carroll’s killer William Zantzinger should be getting the worst of it from Frankie Baker. It seems only right to have a Black woman dishing out the punishment there.”
Role: Instigator
posted by Paul Slade (2 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

“It might take a little time to do” he replied. “There’s a fair bit of research as well as the actual drawing - but I don’t see why not.

That's exactly the response you want to hear. Nicely done, both of you.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:23 PM on January 12, 2021

Two years on, and I've now had the Canadian artist Gerhard add his own background to Roger's drawing. Anyone who knows Ger's work from Cerebus will know that giving a collaborator's cartoony figures a meticulously designed and textured environment to operate in is a speciality of his.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:51 AM on March 4, 2023

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