Maurice Vellekoop and the Return of Gloria Badcock
What ever happened to Gloria Badcock? Last seen in 1997′s Vellevision collection, Maurice Vellekoop’s sexual adventuress had disappeared from view, gone but not forgotten — until now! From publisher Koyama Press, a brand-new comic book featuring her campy and decidedly queer sexual exploits premiered in November. At $5, The World of Gloria Badcock makes a perfect stocking stuffer, albeit a fairly risque one. The sale is restricted to those over 18, and the content is racy enough that we had to carefully pick some sample pages here that wouldn't make the publisher swallow his tongue.
About Maurice: Maurice Vellekoop was born in 1964 in suburban Toronto. His mother created bulletproof hairdos for the local ladies in her salon in the family's basement. His father was an avid art lover who blasted the neighborhood with his opera records on Saturday afternoons. A true child of the TV age, Maurice grew up on a steady diet of supernatural sitcoms, variety shows, Japanese monster movies, and Ross Hunter melodramas. Inspired by his sister Ingrid, he became interested in commercial art from an early age, eventually attending the Ontario College of Art from 1982 to 1986. He joined Reactor Art and Design soon after graduating and has been illustrating for major magazines, book publishers, and ad agencies ever since.
Editorial clients include The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Glamour, Wallpaper, Out, Entertainment Weekly, Mother Jones, Saturday Night, Cosmetics, and Fashion. Advertising clients range from Spotco, LVMH, Abercrombie & Fitch, Smart Car, and Pink Triangle Press to, most recently, Murale, a brand-new chain of cosmetics Stores. Maurice's book publishing clients include Running Press, HarperCollins, and Universe/Rizzoli. His work has appeared in American Illustration and was included in Stylishly Drawn by Laird Borrelli, a book on contemporary fashion illustration published by Harry N. Abrams.
Maurice is the author-illustrator of four books of his own work with Drawn & Quarterly and Green Candy Press. His work has been shown numerous times at the Reactor Gallery in Toronto, the Mayor Gallery in London and in a traveling group show called "New Pop" that stopped at the Palazzo Fortuny in Venice.
Maurice currently lives on idyllic Toronto Island with his lover, writer Gordon Bowness.
Here are some thoughts on Gloria from her creator:
Gloria Badcock is a comic character I created originally in the late 1980s for three issues of a zine called Fabulous Babes, which was a collaboration with me and visual artists Fiona Smyth and Roxanna Bikadoroff. Her adventures were then collected in my 1997 anthology Vellevision published by Drawn & Quarterly (now out of print). Gloria is a beautiful and glamorous editor of a Flair-like magazine called Parade. Though famous, G.B.'s private life is mysterious — like many a gay man, she's never been linked romantically as far as anyone can tell. This is because her sex life is so unbelievably fantastical no one would believe it — a little like the secrecy that turns the plot of the TV show Bewitched. Aliens, minotaurs, and mermen count amongst her partners.
Last year I met up with the fabulous Anne Koyama of Koyama Press to discuss potential projects. I had a number of ideas for small books and the idea of a G.B. revival appealed to her most. I had been dabbling in comics again after a long absence during which I'd focused more on books of pictures, and it seemed like a good time to start writing again.
G.B. indeed has autobiographical elements. I grew up in a dreary suburb of Toronto, where my family was part of a rather joyless Calvinist Protestant denomination called the Christian Reformed Church that did not accept homosexuality. Life in high school was particularly difficult, and I developed a rich fantasy life drawn mostly from television and the movies as a means of escape. G.B. could be seen as a meditation on the value of fantasy. The reader is sometimes unsure whether her experiences are real or not.
Gloria herself is pansexual. Her friends Dr. Cornelius and Sven Berger are gay. Another theme of the book is the strong friendship that exists between so many women and their gay friends. This nicely reflects the idea of a gay artist creating porn/erotica that appeals to women. So far the reaction from women has been very positive. I'm wading into murky water here, but I think a lot of women are potentially less likely to purchase/use pornography because so much of it is created by straight men. The World of Gloria Badcock offers an eccentric, innocent, joyful, positive, queer-inflected alternative.
When an animated version comes out, I'm getting someone who sounds just like Suzanne Pleshette for sure — the sexiest voice in the world!
The comic is available from KoyamaPress.com or your local alternative comic book store.