Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Battle of the Brothers!

Haw! I found this goofy thing the other day cleaning up. Brothers Gargantua "fly chambered" with brothers Moe and Curly Howard. This piece came out of several mid-1990s conversations I had with Dave Strandquest at Design efx that concerning the mystique surrounding Inshiro Honda's 1968 Toho monster minor-classic War of the Gargantuas! (One of Dave's all-time favorite movies, btw) While Gargantuas is generally defined as a sequel to Toho's "Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965), it actually equates to a giant-wrestling-Bigfoot movie with some wacky new technology, Kumi Minzuno (cat sound) and one of the Strangest nightclub performances in all of Asian Cinema -- featuring a song so offbeat that even Devo has covered it. But hey, don't take my word for it... See for yourself:

Everybody's a critic. (Yikes! I don't even like my cheese that sharp!)

When I investigated a little further for this posting I found War of the Gargantuas seems to be a touchstone for for all manner of pop culture intersects. The Brothers and their differences and appearance have been the subject of song and story. People making allusions and some rather unlikely comparisons to all manner of actors and personalities. While a fellow on one fan site calls the boys shabby and "looking like old winos fighting", on another a gal insists the Brown one looks just like Nicholas Cage, (*gulp* It's true, he DOES!) and on yet another a woman insists the green one is a dead-ringer for her brother-in-law.

Dave and I went through a myriad of comparisons ourselves. While I had my own favorite targets (which included Butch and Waldo from the Little Rascals, to Georgia brothers Billy and Jimmy Carter), Dave always gravitated back to referring to the Brown one as looking like "Robbie Redford - 'cause he's sorta handsome" and the green one resembling TV's Bonnie Franklin. (Yes, from the 1970s show One Day at a Time -- that Bonnie Franklin.)

All during this time weird Gargantua related material continued to burble to the pop-culture surface. Some REALLY twisted stuff too as illustrated by this disturbing vision included casually - and quite inexplicably - on some 1990 japanese model kit instructions. (They're BROTHERS, for cryin' out loud.)
But Japanese Sci-Fi imagery in general has been a subject for underground and lowbrow art practically from the beginning. Popularized by artists like Gary Panter, Charles Burns, Tim Biskup, Coop, and Glenn Barr, the original source material has by now been turned inside-out several times over.

The Gargantua Brothers are a definite favorite of artist and Lowbrow Painter David Durrett of the Dalton Agency out of Jacksonville Florida. He's featured them in several of his dynamic paintings including this one that's appropriately (and maybe somewhat obviously) titled "Bad Ass".
(image copyright David Durrett)

As well as this one called "The Brown and the Green" which takes the Battle of the Brothers concept to a whole different level.
(image copyright David Durrett)

The exploding Vinyl toy market has seen plenty of Gargantua action too...

At one point Dave wanted us to make Gargantua costumes and play in a Monster band. I suggested if we were gonna make the costumes, then we should wear 'em to some swanky Halloween Party, arrive separately and mingle awhile, but when we saw each other go crazy, start fighting and just wreck the joint. We never did either, o 'course (-- once we realized our swankier pals would realistically probably just prosecute our Monster butts). Too bad I never did the other xerox piece I had planned back then though. Maybe I still should... it'd star MY top picks from the Gargantua Brother look-alikes club namely...

What the Hell is it about the Howard genepool anyway?... Moe, Curly, These guys... Ah well...

Thanks and kudos for this post go out to Toho, Inshiro Honda, The 4 Howards, David Durrett, and Dave S.


Blogger Robert Pope said...

Har! If I had a dollar for every time I glanced over and saw Moe and Curly snarling at each other...

11:09 AM

Blogger Craig J. said...

I was intimately familiar with Devo's version of this long before a kaiju/Toho fan I used to work with hipped me to where it came from. I have to confess, though, after a couple tries I still can't get through that whole clip.

6:36 PM

Blogger Audrey said...

Wow...I thought I was the ONLY person in the world who used the word, "Bargle!" as an exclamation.


1:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget Ron and Clint's Dad, Rance Howard. Yikes. That's what Ron is turning into before our eyes, Clint looked like his dad out of the womb. Hyuk.

12:41 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home