We Need to Talk About Mondo, Part Two: Mondo Today, by Chase Beck
Shortly after moving into their new gallery at 4115 Guadalupe St., Austin, Texas, Mondo held what was, at that time, their largest gallery show ever. It was titled, “Nothing’s Impossible” and featured artwork inspired by Disney films from a variety of artists. The combination of now iconic films like Fantasia, The Jungle Book, Ratatouille (with a particularly breathtaking rendering titled “Remy Adrift” by Aaron Horkey), Up, and many more, with leading artists in poster design and illustration made the show incredibly popular. That same year, not content with a highly successful gallery show, Mondo held their very first convention, “MondoCon Austin”. While, in my opinion, the offered posters at MondoCon ‘14 could not contend with the popularity of the Disney set, the convention brought together many artists, illustrators, writers, special effects technicians and the like, with fans of posters, movies, and standing in line. It was an auspicious first outing that promised many great things for Mondo’s future.
Since the inception of Mondo, they have not only limited themselves to providing prints. Often, they include the occasional t-shirt as well as various miscellaneous items among their offerings including lapel pins (my personal favorite being the 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith), VHS tapes, audio cassettes, and even knitwear. However, in the past year, Mondo has begun to make forays into figurines and vinyl records. Their first figure was the Iron Giant from the Brad Bird film of the same name. It was immensely popular and they have since followed it up with other impressive sculpts including their current offering of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As a fan of the comic artist Mike Mignola, I was particularly excited for the Hellboy figure designed to mirror Mignola’s first ever sketch of Hellboy and colored by original Hellboy colorist Dave Stewart. That kind of attention to detail is what continues to impress me about Mondo.
While they had released a few vinyl records previously, In January of 2014, Mondo announced a merger with Death Waltz Recording Company. Death Waltz has released some terrifically elaborate and detailed horror movie soundtracks in the past. Their release of the original Godzilla (1954) soundtrack is high on my wish list. Death Waltz continues to release their offerings today under Mondo as well as improving Mondo’s own releases. These range from the niche and obscure to the blockbuster. Their most popular titles include such wonderful soundtracks as Jurassic Park, Aliens, and The Last of Us. It goes without saying that the various works of art adorning these albums meet Mondo’s fans’ high expectations.
As mentioned, a result of the gallery opening are the occasional gallery shows. Increasingly, these are accompanied by lines of people, some willing to wait overnight, eager to purchase a prized poster before the limited supply of prints are exhausted. While waiting hours in line can be a trying experience, particularly when the Texas weather is not cooperating, it also provides an opportunity for attendees to meet and share in their enthusiasm for the hobby. Additionally, artists and Mondo team members often provide entertainment for line sitters: handing out prizes, knick-knacks, and even arranging special in-line events. I must say, when a velociraptor showed-up at the most recent Jurassic Park show I was quite surprised. All this has led to a steady increase in Mondo’s visibility and popularity.
Check back in for Part 3: The Future of Mondo