"That's probably the hardest I've worked on any project," says Avi Spivak, the illustrator behind Norton Records' recent issue of Kicksville Confidential. And if you've seen Kicksville, released this past October, you'll understand what he means by "hard work" -- the Brooklyn-based artist's painstaking renderings of Norton stars are as detailed as they are funny, and they're clearly the toil of someone with a deep interest in u-ground comics and gutsy r'n'r alike. In Spivak's enthusiastic scrawl -- part Kaz, part MAD, part G. Panter, part urban daydrunk stupor -- some of the Norton stable's more colorful tales come to life, and we see, for example, Hannibal's fabled ride through Midtown Manhattan on an elephant, a Screamin' Jay Hawkins/Esquerita street-level fistfight and Hasil Adkins's rural shootout.
Spivak's resume prior to Kicksville is no less impressive. In addition to commercial art and various other projects, like the mural he painted outside of the now-defunct Mars Bar, he's contributed to Maximum RocknRoll, The Scientist, Vice -- and Al Goldstein's SCREW, for which he illustrated a cover in 2006.