Essays · Movies

The Beautiful Art of MondoCon 2016

By  · Published on October 24th, 2016

Posters, soundtracks, and a book of art. It was a great weekend at MondoCon 3.

This past weekend, my wallet and I took a trip down the road to the third annual MondoCon here in Austin, Texas. For those unfamiliar, MondoCon is a gathering of artists, fans, and collectors built around the sensational popularity of Mondo, the boutique art arm of the Alamo Drafthouse empire.

What began as a small convention of passionate poster nerds has grown steadily over the years, expanding to the point where it needed two small convention hall for booth space, as opposed to one. It opened with a show at the Mondo Gallery, featuring new works from Mondo regulars Jason Edmiston and Ken Taylor. On Saturday, the show opened its doors to a wonderful maze of artist booths, the Mondo store, and a series of panels and screenings that would cover the entirety of two days.

While Mondo began as “Mondo Tees,” a small t-shirt shop wedged in the corner of the Alamo Drafthouse lobby, it has spent the better part of the last decade expanding its array of goods. The posters are often the headliner – many a cinephile knows of Mondo’s limited releases of art prints – but in recent years they’ve added Mondo Music, a label committed to releasing soundtracks for cult classics on vinyl, complete with art from the Mondo rogues gallery; and they’ve delved into collectibles, with everything from Adventure Time and The Iron Giant collectibles to a stand-up Alfred Hitchcock figure. Very little of what Mondo does is cheap, but there’s a quality you feel in the craftsmanship. From the texture of their prints to the attention to detail that goes into their vinyl releases, everything that Mondo puts out is infused with the pure joy of fandom.

Below I’ve assembled a gallery of the big hits from MondoCon 2016, complete with a few admissions of what will be going up on the walls of Reject HQ very soon… with apologies to my wallet.

The Soundtracks

We begin with the soundtracks: The Monster Squad, The Fountain, and the recent horror hit Deathgasm. The release of The Fountain was presented at a 10th anniversary screening of Darren Aronofsky’s film with composer Clint Mansell in attendance for a Q&A. The artist information (left to right) is as follows:

The Mondo Posters

Among these posters, a few went on sale in the Mondo Store at the con, with several others released during the screenings scattered throughout the weekend. The first poster listed above is The Witch, by artist Aaron Horkey, which was presented to attendees at the Mondo Mystery Movie on Saturday night. In person, it’s a drop-dead gorgeous rendition of Black Phillip and his minions. More artist info for the posters above is as follows:

The closing night of MondoCon featured a screening of Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon, featuring the above poster by Jock. According to the Mondo programmers, this was a hard-fought licensing win, as they had to go all the way to Bruce Lee’s daughter personally to get approval to both show the film and sell the poster. As you can see, the results are worth the effort. Here’s more info on the above posters:

And finally, the artist information for the final batch of posters:

The Art of Jock Book

The other big release of the weekend was a book celebrating The Art of Jock, the popular British artist and frequent collaborator of Mondo. In the images above, you’re likely to recognize some of the works from both posters and comics, everything from Ex Machina to Batman to Shaun of the Dead. It’s a gorgeous hardcover book.

What Did I Buy?

Thanks for asking. As an attendee of both screenings, I was excited to bring home both The Witch and Jock’s Enter the Dragon. Aaron Horkey’s The Witch will fit nicely alongside his previous Mondo Mystery Movie posters for Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. In my trip to the Mondo store, I couldn’t help but pick up The Martian, Under the Skin, The Graduate, and Mulholland Drive. My personal buying strategy is to only buy prints that I’ll actually put up on my wall. There are plenty of collectors out there who fill their flat files with prints and resell the ones they don’t particularly like. For me, it’s all about art I can live with. Lucky for these 6 new prints, I’ve got just enough wall space left.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)