Saturday, August 16, 2008


TISM - Greg! The Stop Sign (1995)

August is almost-Olympics month on the Infinite Wars! To reflect the spirit of the games the Smash Hits will be dedicated to artists from around the world! Artists like Australian pop-clash sattirists, TISM!

Supposedly the Smash Hits all have something to do with comics, or at the very least, overlapping pop culture. So, why TISM?

As you might imagine, the struggles for significance championed by independent publishers in American comics is multiplied for those largely unsupported artists in the diminutive Australian comics scene. Still, through the mid-nineties, the boom that was experienced by the American industry found it's way to the strong comics culture down under. The comics boom, and the culturally penetrating Greg! The Stop Sign, facilitated the unlikeliest of works in Mark Sexton's 1995 TISM comics, published by Aaargh! Studios.

The comics touched on a similar brand of antagonism that characterises TISM's [This Is Serious, Mum] pseudo-performance art, and elaborated on the mysterious band's history.

Greg! The Stop Sign borrows joyous pop riffs from the Beach Boys, whilst parodying a government sponsored road safety awareness campaign, which featured television adverts punctuated by the titular exclamation. While not the most popular, or well liked groups, TISM present an unmistakably Australian irreverance that casts a very familiar, unglamorous reflection of Australian urban life in the 90s, rarely seen in international media.

Though not explicitly connected to the TISM comic, it's a nice enough entry into our international Smash Hits Olympics. Nice, in a slightly mean spirited way, at least.

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