by BK Munn
The 1970s was a time of high weirdness by any measure, and nowhere is the exquisite fromagerie that was that most memorable of decades more evident than in the unique places where the world of music intersected with the world of comic art.
Gaze in wonder on this telluric artifact recently unearthed in a collection of vinyl records: Plateau by Canadian rocker Robert Connolly is a 1978 concept album on Tube Records about the seeding of the ancient humans of Planet Earth with a cosmic consciousness, bestowed by a benevolent human-like alien race who themselves are at war with a race of evil toad-like aliens.
To accompany this opus, which sounds like a watered-down mash-up of Genesis, Yes and Alan Parsons Project, Connolly commissioned an 8-page black-and-white newsprint comic book that illustrates some of the action of his story.
The comic, which also serves as a lyric book for the music, was illustrated by cartoonist Nik Poliwko (the air-brushed album cover was designed by Mister X co-creator Dean Motter, who had a hand in many classic Canadian albums in the 70s and 80s). Poliwko had some work in the early issues of the Vortex Comics anthology and nowadays produces EC-style horror comics for magazines like The Creeps.
The album concept and comic book owe quite a bit to the work of Erich Von Daniken (Chariots of the Gods), a popular 1970s writer who also inspired Jack Kirby and his Eternals (1976). In fact, Plateau reads like a Kirby homage, with stand-ins for Kirby’s Eternals, Deviants, and Uni-Mind concepts.
The artwork is quite accomplished, and has a sort of post-Neal Adams/Wally Wood vibe, with lots of Zip-A-Tone, cross-hatching and glittering space-ships. The outer space scenes also make use of the “Kirby Crackle” effect.
See for yourself: