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Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan / screen print / regular / Tyler Stout / USA

29.04.13

Poster Poster

The Wrath of Khan was the follow up to 1979s Star Trek – The Motion Picture, which was the first feature film to hit cinemas following the ending of the original series 10 years previously. Even though the show was cancelled by the network (NBC) after only three seasons, it had garnered a significant cult following and had made a major impact on popular culture, helped greatly by broadcast syndication on channels across the US during the 1970s. Despite earning significant box-office takings, many critics and fans of the original series were disappointed with the first feature film and reviews tended to criticise it as overlong, bereft of any significant action and, worst of all, boring.

A sequel was inevitable, but Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the original series and executive producer of the first film, was removed from its production by Paramount after they claimed that Roddenberry had forced the first film over budget and had muddled the script with too many re-writes. His replacement was Harve Bennett, with Roddenberry given an ‘executive consultant’ role. Bennett studied the original series for inspiration having decided that the film should be more action-packed and regain some of the swashbuckling feel that had been lost in the first film. Deciding that the sequel needed a decent bad guy, Bennett settled on the character of Khan Noonien Singh, a genetically engineered super solider, who had featured in the first series episode Space Seed, which had long been a fan favourite. At the end of that episode Khan and some of his comrades had been banished to the inhospitable planet of Ceti Alpha V so his return in the film would not be against the series’ canon.

Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban agreed to reprise his role as Khan and the story sees him escaping exile and seeking revenge against Captain Kirk, whom he blames for the death of his wife. After commandeering the USS Reliant, Khan learns of the Genesis Device, a torpedo which is intended to reorganise matter to create a hospitable world but can also destroy planets if used in the wrong way. The crew of the Starship Enterprise sets out to stop Khan but their intervention will not be without sacrifice and the ending of the film sees Leonard Nimoy’s Spock seemingly dead after sacrificing himself to save his comrades. This story arc would continue for two more films, concluding with The Voyage Home in 1986. Among several memorable scenes is the moment when Khan taunts Kirk with a threat against his wife, leading to this infamous outburst. KHAAAAAAAAAN!

When Mondo, the incomparable limited-edition screen print outfit, announced they were opening a gallery in their hometown of Austin, anticipation quickly reached fever pitch, with fans desperate to see what artwork would be on the walls when the doors opened for the first time. The answer was kept secret until the evening of March the 10th, 2012 when the opening night was held and the theme of their first show was revealed to be that of classic sci-fi. Most of Mondo’s premier artists turned in some incredible pieces for the show, as can be seen on this recap blog post on their website and on this SlashFilm post.

One of the highlights of the show was fan-favourite artist Tyler Stout’s print for The Wrath of Khan. A brilliantly composed image featuring Ricardo Montalban‘s unforgettable, titular bad guy, the poster was printed in two flavours; a red and gold regular and a silver and gold variant. Whilst adding the regular version to the Film on Paper collection I wanted to interview the man himself about the creation of the poster and that article can be read here.

Wizards / one sheet / style A / USA

02.03.12

Poster Poster
Title
Wizards
AKA
--
Year of Film
1977
Director
Ralph Bakshi
Starring
Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, James Connell, Steve Gravers, Mark Hamill, Susan Tyrrell
Origin of Film
USA
Genre(s) of Film
Bob Holt, Jesse Welles, Richard Romanus, David Proval, James Connell, Steve Gravers, Mark Hamill, Susan Tyrrell,
Type of Poster
One sheet
Style of Poster
Style A
Origin of Poster
USA
Year of Poster
1977
Designer
Unknown
Artist
William Stout
Size (inches)
27 1/16" x 41"
SS or DS
SS
NSS #
77/10
Tagline
An epic fantasy of peace and magic

Great artwork by the legendary fantasy artist William Stout for Ralph Bakshi‘s post-apocalyptic fantasy sci-fi animation Wizards. The film was Bakshi’s first fantasy story and was something of a departure from the urban settings seen is his earlier works, including Fritz the Cat and Heavy Traffic. His intention was to create a family film that had the same kind of impact of his previous adult features. It’s essentially a good versus evil story set two million years after a nuclear war where fairies, elves and dwarves have returned to reclaim parts of the earth, whilst the rest of the human survivors are mutants roaming the wasteland.

The film sees two wizards called Avatar and Blackwolf, one kind and gentle and the other a grumpy mutant, born to a fairy (stay with me) who end up battling each other to prevent Blackwolf from using his band of mutants to destroy all goodness left on the earth. The film is described on the DVD audio commentary as being ‘an allegorical comment on the moral neutrality of technology and the potentially destructive powers of propaganda’. Blackwolf uses old projections of (genuine) Nazi propaganda marches to inspire his evil troops and frighten his enemies.

The film is notable for its rough animation style and its use of rotoscoping, a technique of painting over live-action footage, to create several of the major sequences, which was employed after Fox (the studio financing the film) refused an increase to the budget. Bakshi would later use the same technique for his 1978 version of the The Lord of the Rings.

This was William Stout’s first film poster and he went on to illustrate over 120 more, a few of which can be seen on his official website. Stout is known for being an incredibly versatile artist and he has worked in multiple fields throughout his long career, including motion picture design, comic art, book illustration, CD covers and paleontological illustration. He worked as conceptual artist and production designer on an impressive range of films, including both of the original Conan adventures, First Blood and The Return of the Living Dead; Stout designed the brilliant Tar-Man. Check out his impressive bio for more details and there are plenty of galleries on the same site.

The creature depicted is Necron 99, a robot assassin who is eventually controlled by Avatar and renamed as Peace.

The official trailer is on YouTube.