The six sides of Frank Xerox

Posted: March 15, 2014 in folklore, visual arts, zappa, zappology
Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, 1983, cover art by Tanino Liberatore (back and front)

Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, 1983, cover art by Tanino Liberatore (back and front)

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Gil Chaya has a collector page at comicartfans.com: “I collect Liberatore, Ranx, and Bisley from 1990 to 1994, I have a very big collection of artwork to trade or buy”.

He has a nice collection of Tanino Liberatore sketches, including some from The Man from Utopia cover art, that shows Zappa as RanXerox, the cyborg-punk character created by Stefano Tamburini and drawn by Liberatore.

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, front cover sketch, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, front cover sketch, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, back cover sketch, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, back cover sketch, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

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On the left side of the sketch above, note the placeholder for a six sides tracklist!

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

Tanino Liberatore, Frank Zappa, The Man from Utopia, cover trial, posted by Gil Chaya at comicartfans.com

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Here is an excerpt of a 2012 interview given by Tanino Liberatore to Pubblico (November 20, 2012, clippings available here) :

The cover of The Man from Utopia is Zappa as RanXerox!
It was him who wanted it, he liked the idea of Frank Xerox.

It was him who told you about the stories depicted or did you witness all those scenes?
I was at the Naples and Rome concerts where nothing special happened. After the Naples concert we went dining together to discuss the cover. In the beginning it should have been a six pages comic strip, but the project was later reduced. Since I don’t like covers with a lot of details or messages, and I prefer a strong drawing to leave a powerful impact, I proposed to draw the front cover according to my approach, leaving to him any decision concerning the back cover. Frank accepted. So in the back I drew the promoters who worry only about sniffing cocaine, The Pope, the gal who let Zappa know about RanXerox. Also, the famous “3-1 Vaffanculo” banner (referred to the 1982 FIFA World Cup Final, editor’s note), the infamous Palermo tear gas riot and the sun with the face, because he loved an Italian olive oil with a similar logo.

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The astral object on the right top corner of the back cover looks more the moon to me, there must be a misunderstanding here. Anyways, a six pages comic strip seems to get along perfectly with a three lps set: Frank Xerox live in Italy, 1982?

In another interview given to the Italian Magazine XL (n.80, October 2012), also documented in video on the XL blog, Tanino explains that it was a young woman who showed a copy of RanXerox to Zappa after the 1982 Rome concert.

XL, n. 80, October 2012, "Frank Xerox"

XL, n. 80, October 2012, “Frank Xerox”

The Man from Utopia back cover detail, a woman holding a copy of Frigidaire

The Man from Utopia back cover detail, a woman holding a copy of Frigidaire

She said she was a Frigidaire (the Italian magazine that first published the adventures of the cyborg-punk hero) journalist and showed the freshly published album fully devoted to RanXerox. Zappa was so amused by the comic album that asked his friend Massimo Bassoli to put him in touch with the authors. And here they are in 1982, with a copy of RanXerox.

Stefano Tamburini, Frank Zappa, Tanino Liberatore, Rome, 1982

Stefano Tamburini, Frank Zappa, Tanino Liberatore, Rome, 1982

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Comments
  1. […] circumstances of the 1982 Italian tour, some of them depicted in the Man of Utopia cover that, as told somewhere else in this blog, had been conceived in Rome in those days, at first for a 1982 live in Italy […]

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