Earlier this year, Neko Case and Kelly Hogan released a collaborative single, “These Aren’t the Droids.” The cover art came via Lynda Barry, whose distinctive style can be seen in a host of books, and whose approach to teaching has been written about in the New York Times. This was the latest example of an artist known for their work in comics taking on an album cover. It’s far from the only one, though; read on for more examples of this kind of overlap.
Charles Burns’s cover for the 1988 compilation Sub Pop 200 hits plenty of the hallmarks of Burns’s style: physicality, ruined landscapes, and a general sense of discomfort, all rendered perfectly in stark black and white.
Burns isn’t the only notable comics icon to have done work for Sub Pop during that label’s formative years. Daniel Clowes’s artwork for Thee Headcoats’ 1990 album Heavens to Murgatroyd, Even! It’s Thee Headcoats (Already) features a densely-packed urban scene with plenty of jokes in the background: note the “Man, I Love to Smoke!” billboard just below the inverted flag.
Bill Frisell’s 1998 album Gone, Just Like a Train features artwork from the surreal cartoonist Jim Woodring; Frisell and Woodring have also collaborated on animation projects.
Given the man’s fondness for portraits of blues artists, it’s not necessarily shocking that the artwork for the recently-released collection of violin music from Alexis Zoumbas, Alexis Zoumbas: A Lament For Epirus, 1926-1928, was by Robert Crumb.