8 Nov

And now for something completely different. Having spent the last few days listening to far too much White Hills and having far too much fun last night taking in the “Dropout Boogie” tour of The Black Angels and Black Mountain, it seems appropriate to take some time to reflect further on the black and the white … and nowhere to we have quite the same opportunity to do so as when staring at the illustration art of the enigmatic NAGA WIKA.

Staring at the Frenchman’s artwork is something we’ve spent hours doing. Like the best comic artists, the real talent of Naga Wika lies in his ability to capture something authentic about the situation being portrayed on the page – something beyond physical perspective or setting. Given that most of Naga’s work relates back to underground music, many readers will be immediately drawn (pun, sadly, intended) to his ability to capture the personality, nuance and utter familiarity of a life spent seeing bands, playing shows and collecting records. The two issues of his comic masterpiece, “Bestial Avenger,” may be the greatest neo-tour diary in the history of one boy and one girl destroying the world, one riff at a time.

Or something. Really, this is all just an elaborate excuse to spend even more time looking at his artwork. We’ll let Naga provide a little cross-hatched detail on the rest.

At what age did you develop an interest in illustration? At what age did you decide you have talent in this area to go along with your interest? Or are you still deciding if you have talent?

Well, I never thought about it that way. I’ve always drawn since I could hold a pen. So drawning about music came very naturally, as I listen to lot of stuff everytime. Talking about “talent” is a bit embarassing to me, haha … it’s none of my business.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I think of your drawings as showing some of the “fun” that is still inherit in underground music … and a fun that has always been there? Do you agree? You also seem to find the fun or silliness within a type of music, without necessarily mocking it. Would you agree?

You’re pretty much correct, sir! I never think at first about doing it funny or goofy; I want to make something cool and fun. With “Bestial Avenger,” I want to make something as cool as listening a Bathory record! I basically try to make a comic I would love to find. Strangely enough, there are no metal comics around, which is odd. And the few that I have come across weren’t done by real fans but were all about the clichés.

Have you ever heard about – or been confronted directly by – someone being offended by something you’ve drawn?

Never, no. I think if people do not like it, they ignore it, anyway. That’s fine with me.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

What is your own personal history with music? What bands first captured your imagination as a kid? Are those same bands still fascinating to you today?

Well, if I don’t count the shitload of cartoon soundtracks 7-inches that I listened to when I was a kid, I could say i really started to be into music around 14 with bands like Death In June, Einsturzende Neubauten, Joy Division, Sisters Of Mercy, In The Nursery, Bauhaus and such. Metal came after, meeting friends at school. I still love bands like Siouxsie and The Banshees, Cure or Joy Division, of course. I’ve never been goth at all, though.

Following that thought, can you think of a band or artist that you wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to when you were 15 that you absolutely love today? How about a band that you loved when you were 15 and today really can’t stomach?

Hmmmmm … let me think … oh yeah, I used to hate Portishead and the whole trip-hop stuff at the time. I changed my mind with the last album (‘Third’) they released a couple of years ago that I love. Well, I didn’t want to quote it earlier, but I loved U2 before (I didn’t know! I was young!). I was mostly into the first records and I still have some affection for their “Boy” album. It’s still embarrassing though!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Are you familiar with the work of Bryan Walsby or Steve Krakow (Plastic Crimewave)? What artists do you admire?

Never heard of Krakow (but i’ll look into), but reading Walsby is always a great time. I’m amazed how much stories he knows about bands … I don’t read a lot of comics nowadays but I still like cartoonists like Art Spieglman, Chester Brown, Gilbert Shelton, Thomas Ott, Mattt Konture or Blutch to name a few … and of course, Robert Crumb, my fave ever.

How much do I have to pay you to draw a portrait of the average reader of Revolt of the Apes? How much do I have to pay you for your limited edition, purple vinyl, flexi-disc first-pressing 10″ of a 1989 Massacra rehearsal?

Well, it depends how your readers are looking. But let’s say: Metalheads = 10$ each, then 1$ by patch. Hipsters = 55$ each (it’s more expensive ’cause it’s a pain for me to draw them!). Believe me or not, i dont even have any Massacra or Loudblast. I prefer early frog metal like H-Bomb, TNT, Excalibur or the migthy Soggy!

Who is more fun to draw – a stereotypical NWOBHM dude or a stereotypical black metal dude? Did you see the film, “Until the Light Takes Us”?

It’s more about the situation, actually. “Until the Light Takes Us” is cool for a look but overall, I thought it was bad. The complement movie to the “Lord of Chaos” book, basically. The part with Frost is hilarious, though.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

What music have you been listening to lately?

My favorite question! Lately, lot of MC5, Angel Witch, Jailcell Recipes, Electric Eels, Enforcer, Gasmask Terror, Occulta, the “Nuggets” box, Idiot Talk, Zoldier Noiz, The Hand Of Doom, Blondie, Gravehammer, Radio Birdman, Morbus Chron, UFO, Sonic Ritual, Aluk Todolo … and tons others i can’t remember right now.

What’s next for NAGA?

I finish at the moment the cover for the upcoming issue of “Ratcharge” zine. Then … I dont really know. I’ll try to think about a new “Bestial Avenger” (*intense brainstorming*).

Read the entire first issue of “Bestial Avenger” online.



  1. Shazzula Nebula August 2, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    he is great!!!


  1. Naga Wika Talks to the Apes « mr. atavist - November 9, 2010

    […] sonic devotee, Revolt of the Apes, takes a side road down the musical path in an interview with illustrator/graphic artist Naga Wika […]

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