So I may lose nerd cred here, but I was only just able to see the fantastic, nitrous injected film that was Mad Max Fury Road this past weekend. I don’t feel I can add much to the discussion of the cultural significance of the film, but there is one unique slant regarding the visuals that I might offer.
Fury Road explodes like an oil tanker flame-throwered and jack-knifed into the desert wastes at 60 mph with rich, detailed costumes, weapons, and vehicles- I was simply floored by how visually extravagant this film was! The many muted tones of the film giving the few instances of vibrant color an incredible punch!
It was full of dark fantasy imagery coupled with something else- maybe call it a “Rust Punk” aesthetic with all of it’s super-charged, lethal, heap of junk vehicles. For those less well-versed in dark fantasy imagery, it tends to have a more threatening and fetishized look about it. The first name that comes to mind when I think “dark fantasy” is: Gerald Brom, or to many, just simply Brom.
I’ve been a fan of Brom’s art since I was a teenager with his artwork for Dungeons & Dragons (he is largely responsible for the whole look and feel of Dark Sun).
He was a staff artist for D&D when it was still publishing under TSR and his work’s graced numerous RPG pages, genre novel covers, and collectible card game art and in the last decade he had ventured into also being an author with his beautifully illustrated novella “The Plucker”, which I can’t recommend enough- think “Toy Story” meets the darkest voodoo magic!, “The Devil’s Rose”, and his more standard length novel, “Krampus: The Yule Lord” (I also really enjoyed this read).
…there seems to be an undeniable visceral connection to what I saw
on the screen in Fury Road and the dark fantasy art produced by
Brom over the last two decades.
From what I suspect of Brom, a movie like Mad Max (the original), would have been very much in his wheel-house and he also cites the dark, gritty writing of Michael Moorecock as a major influence on his image making.
My theory is that these forms of genre entertainment largely shaped Brom’s artistic vision throughout his career- now here’s where it gets interesting: Brom’s art has had a major influence on those younger artists with an interest in genre illustration that grew-up in his wake. Looking at the visuals of the film and Brom’s art side-by-side (presently thumbing through my copy of his art book “Darkwerks”), there seems to be an undeniable visceral connection to what I saw on the screen in Fury Road and the dark fantasy art produced by Brom over the last two decades.
The pallid flesh tones across washed-out brown fields and the fetish-like costuming that many characters wear lead me to believe that he may have informed the visual language of this film. This is in no way to diminish the contributions of the film’s concept artist(s), who with only cursory research, I saw one concept artist listed several times as P. Pound, but to acknowledge how cool it is to see artists you love being part of a continuum and giving back to the things that, I’m willing to bet, they grew-up loving too.
Thanks for reading and Stay Nerdy! -Nerdarchist Ryan