“When they caused the great cataclysm, the Forces of Dread metamorphosed. From each other’s heads they sprang forth in all their glorious deformity, terrorizing all.” So relates Plug, the narrator of this tale, which is neither graphic novel nor science fiction, but a disturbing, strangely familiar, and unusually evocative portrayal of a future “Landscape” that looks eerily like a dystopian conclusion to the evolving twenty-first century.
At the tender age of three, Plug is already an international celebrity. Since making his debut at the Vavel Comic Book Festival in Athens (2000), this brainchild of Viktor Koen has been the subject of profiles in Communication Arts and the Los Angeles Times, and has received numerous accolades, including the Phôtosynkyria Award in Greece (2001) and induction into the Digital Hall of Fame in Sweden (2002). Now, Plug is the central character of his own—and Koen’s first—book, authored by Melanie Wallace, Plug in the Quest for Mug, which debuted at the Vavel festival earlier this year and (like its subject four years earlier) became an instant success.
“These characters are visually seamless constructions: structurally coherent and unnervingly believable. Koen is clearly taking cues from Hollywood—it isn't difficult to imagine these creatures buzzing through the latest sci-fi blockbuster—but remains faithful to the demands of the fine art context by imbuing the works with the stately conventions of traditional portraiture. Indeed, rarely does one see digital technology used so fittingly outside cinema—that is, to create something new and convincing without drawing undue attention to the novelty of the medium.”
— Holly Myers, Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2002
About the Artist and Author
Viktor Koen was born in 1967 in Thessalonikê, Greece. He received his bachelor of fine arts from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and his master of fine arts, with honors, from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. His images are published regularly in The Sunday New York Times Book Review, as well as Time, Newsweek, Money, Forbes, and Esquire magazines. He is on the faculty of Parsons School of Design and is a thesis adviser for the School of Visual Arts. His award-winning prints have been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Australia.
Melanie Wallace is the author of Blue Horse Dreaming (MacAdam/Cage), which has been praised by the New York Times as a “remarkable and utterly original” novel. She is a regular contributor to greekworks.com and lives with her husband in Manhattan and Myloi, Greece.