Thursday, January 31, 2008

Here's Johnny

Johnny Hicklenton drew some of the most distinctive, visceral, and plain old bizarre art you could hope to have seen in the pages of 2000ad in the late 80s and early 90s. At a time when the entire industry seemed to be in the grip of Bisley clones churning out brown painted art, he stood out as someone doing something utterly unlike anything else around, and there's still really no-one quite like him.
Johnny's also got Multiple Sclerosis, and can't walk anymore. Fortunately he can still draw, but he knows it's a matter of time before that's taken from him too.
Fortunately Johnny's too much of a fighter to sit back and accept this, and one of the ways he's fightiong back against this horrible disease is by working with Animal Monday to make a film about his condition, "Here's Johnny", the first screening of which I attended last night at the Science Museum's Dana Centre. It's a powerful piece that pulls no punches in letting you know what the (often uncomforatbly personal) effects of multiple sclerosis are, not just physically but pstychologically. This coukld make for uncomfortable viewing, but it transcends the awfulnes of its subject matter simply by the fact that Johnny's such an irrepressible, tenacious and funny man. It's being screened at Sight and Sound in Austen next month, whether or not it gets a cinema release remains to be seen, but as channel 4 have part-funded its making it'll doubtless be coming to a tv screen soon, and you really should keep an eye out for it and make sure you see it, because it's a provocative and thoughtful piece of film-making, the sort of thing you used to see all the time on Channel 4 before they gave themselves over to Wife Swap and Big Brother.
There's an interview with Johnny here.


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