If you've ever read Hunter S. Thompson's ode and requiem for The American Dream, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you're already wildly familiar with British artist Ralph Steadman's work. Those psychedelic, Rorschach-esque ink-blotter bats on the first page, right next to "We can't stop here! This is bat country!" is the handicraft of Steadman. You also might be familiar with his work illustrating the colorful, Gonzo-splattered labels of Maryland's very own Flying Dog beer.
According to The Guardian, Steadman has joined up with Vince Gilligan to create absolutely epic limited edition Blu-ray cases for all six seasons of Breaking Bad. Characters Walter White, Jesse Pinkman, Gustavo Fring, Mike Ehrmantraut, Hank Schrader, and Saul Goodman are featured on the cover for each season. According to The Guardian, they will go on sale from February 2015.
Pissed Off Geek has some information on how the collaboration for the Blu-Ray came together. According to Vince Gilligan:
“When I first floated the idea of approaching Ralph to work with us on this project, it was a bit of a pipe dream on my part,” said Gilligan. “I can barely describe the combination of disbelief and giddy joy I felt when I heard he was on board to do it! Ralph is the Walter White of artists: He’s a dark genius whose output is disturbing, yet habit-forming. I am thrilled by his arrestingly bleak, visceral imaginings of our Breaking Bad characters.”
Like all of us, Ralph Steadman had the same raw, visceral reaction to Breaking Bad and its Greek tragedy tale of a high school chemistry teacher-turned-evil meth kingpin:
“I watched the Breaking Bad whole series in two weeks and now suffer withdrawal symptoms,” Steadman said. “At first, I thought ‘this series is going to be all about death and desecration,’ but instead became a more complex landscape of human relationships. I hope I put something of these feelings into the portraits that I made of the characters, which were landscapes in themselves. An irony in the subject of crystal meth is how beautifully it resembles the desert sky.”
Go read Steadman's character breakdowns over at Pissed Off Geek.
Before coming to BroBible five years ago, I had the awesome pleasure of hanging out with Ralph, while working as a research assistant on a Hunter s. Thompson book project a couple years ago. He's The Man, capitalized. I have a signed and inscribed treasured print hanging proud in my living room. I highly recommend watching the documentary about the illustrators life and art, For No Good Reason, when it inevitably hits Netflix in the next few months.
If Steadman ever makes these Breaking Bad sketches publicly available as prints, I can't even imagine how much they'd go for. Want, want, want. Here's what the Blu-Ray covers look like via Esquire and The Guardian...
Here's what the packing looks like: