Rob Jones' Top 10 Releases of 2016

Rob Jones, Creative Director

No particular order, just shiz Mondo produced that I’m personally partial to due to both property used and artistry displayed.

SCREAM by Gary Pullin

Couldn’t love this more.  I had NIN’s “Copy of a” playing in my head when I opened the email containing the rough.  Samuel L. saying “Check out the big brain on Brad” queued up in the mental jukebox next before calling Gary to deliver my applause on the phone. On-point solution with a field goal for not using the mask (although an earlier version implied the pattern as “reception” shapes at the tip of the phone antennae).

BATMOBILE by Tom Whalen

I’m pretty picky about how folks depict the Batmobile, but this one really smashes the cake right in the groom’s face. The density of information presented pulls a tin can telephone taut straight to the ear of my younger self. I would have loved to memorize this when I was age appropriate for marshmallows in my cereal, but ablaze to enjoy it in the bat-present.

FIGHT CLUB Soundtrack by Alan Hynes

I wanted to include a lot of record packaging like Gary Pullin’s explosive exploration of Monster Squad, Randy Ortiz’s wet portrait of Gillman from the same film, or any of Rich Kelly’s troubles for Cronenberg films (in particular the stunning insert image for Naked Lunch).  The Christmas cracker crown though belongs to Alan Hynes and this sickly elegant invitation to sacrifice… or destroy, whatever your noggin needs most.

Mondo Tee-kis: GREMLINS Tiki Mug

If I hired a private dick that met up with me each week to review whatever terrible information or snapshots he’s bringing, then I’d prefer it happen at a tiki bar.  The setting makes life’s chalky pills easier to swallow. Tiki Bars always hit every note I’m looking for in a booze environment:  they’re dark, drinks are easy, and there’s little chance of a tv screen blaring sports shiz. After over a year in development, I’m supremely stoked Mondo can finally offer these to folks. My favorite features of this particular mug, as Collectibles czar Brock Otterbacher pointed out to me, are the little twin spouts formed in the back by the ears. They make throat-pouring breezy.

THE GRADUATE by Rory Kurtz

Pretty fucking perfect.  I can imagine folks trying to set this up for real as a '60s Esquire cover shoot, which is about as high a compliment as I can pay it. Spot on for the era and hard-to-snare tone of the film.

2-1B by Mike Mitchell

I like all the portraits Mike’s been stoking his eye coals over this past year, but I especially look forward to the deeper-cut choices events like SDCC and MondoCon allow. Often these mute background characters feature the best designs as they have to communicate “alien” solely by appearance. I can only pick one for this list and it came down to Lobot, a true hero of Cloud City, or 2-1B. I chose the latter for his fascinating contradictory construction. An artificial caregiver’s visage needs to project a soothing safety allowing you potentially to place your whole goddamn life into his goofy claws. To accomplish this, his creators constructed a stylized dull blue skull covered in ham glaze with an old microphone for a respirator. If the cubist calavera eye sockets weren’t enough, shining out of them are tiny pinprick lights for eyes. That would profoundly terrify me as the face feeding me ice chips after waking up from varicocele surgery. I can almost imagine this inadvertently ghoulish design allowed the rebels to pick a lot of them up cheap at the space-med depot.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT by Jason Edmiston

Jason keeps leaping Hulk-style to dizzying new plateaus, and this year’s Hateful Eight really pushed him into creating another masterpiece. Really happy with how this evokes the classic '60s Italian western posters while still feeling unique and true to Edmiston’s recognizable style. 

Nightcrawler Pin by Tom Whalen

I had a girlfriend in high school with an overtly religious mother rivaling Piper Laurie in Carrie. Like for realz, she was crazy mean and unabashed in explaining why I was a poor dating choice for her daughter. Essentially she believed that I was vaguely “Satanic” (mainly because she once saw me in a Misfits shirt) and that I had no hope for any vocational success (mainly because she actually met me).  

I had a Nightcrawler action figure suctioned to the windshield of my car. My girlfriend admired it, so I thought I’d pick another up and surprise her with it. Her mother later found it hidden still on the card and loudly accosted me for polluting her house with a demon “surrounded by the fires of hell”. That last actual quote was her perception of the teleportation portal behind Kurt on the package. I was young, so I bothered to argue with a zealot and pointed out how her reaction to Kurt’s appearance mirrored the bigoted ignorant reactions he experienced from non-mutants in the comics. I probably deserved whatever exhausted pinched expression she retorted with.

Anyways, that figure stayed in my car for a long time, all the way through college until it was lost or stolen. I’d look at it and feel a sad empathy with Kurt and possibly an inspiration to pursue the joie de vivre he exhibited despite all the slings and arrows. 

We made a landslide of pins this year led by the indefatigable Tom Whalen whose work marries well to the medium of shiny nickel lines and soft enamel.   Despite it’s size, his happy depiction of Kurt really spoke to me probably more than most.  There’s solace in having his grin readily available for a quick glance.

NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET by Mike Saputo

We’ve done a lot of posters for Nightmare on Elm Street, but this siren from Saputo really hits the rafters.  It’s the first time I think a Mondo poster really shows not just how frightening Freddy can appear but also how powerful. He’s a god in the dream realm and that’s a no-baloney scarier proposition than just a straight machete wielding strongman. Hoping to see Saputo take a few more naps with Freddy in the coming year.

HÄXAN by Becky Cloonan

Perfectly gorgeous. Becky’s the shit.