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UNDER THE INFLUENCE

revolution.jpg The Story of Tyler Rintas and His Providers

Tyler Rintas tells one of my favorite types of tales — wild, chaotic, kinky, and truly stranger than fiction. A year ago Rintas, a UWM-Milwaukee film school graduate, decided to investigate the mysterious world of escort services. His curiosity formed the seed of an idea that after many changes lead to his final project — a comic book and multimedia endeavor called Providers Under the Influence. After starting his own legit escort service, Rintas encountered two teenage escort heroin addicts. “Suburbanite girls who had got caught up in a fast paced lifestyle,” he says. They were in a bad management position — their manager was beating them and taking an unfair cut of the money they earned. Rintas took them in as employees of his own escort service and documented much of their behavior through writing and photographs for nine months, at which point he checked them both into rehab. The project shines a flashlight on the dark side of humanity. Rintas says it was a “soul bending project to make, (but I didn’t) mind baring my soul to this material because it’s honest.” The original idea was to tell the story through a photo essay, which evolved to an approximately 36-page comic done in a style called “fumetti.” This style uses pictures rather than drawings in a comic style. Rintas adds effects to the pictures with a computer. Some of the photos are recreated scenes by models, but some are actual photos of the events in the comic. The comic style has a sort of classic exploitive edge to it — think I Was a Teenage Dope Fiend crossed with I Ran a Legitimate Escort Service. Gritty true crime comic noir might be its classification. In addition to the comic, Rintas has assembled a multimedia art collective around the project called Placebo. Placebo is working on a display that includes silk screened images, abstract versions of the images and prints. Rintas’s project is definitely a unique one, made from working and reworking and re-reworking an idea. He says he will continue to produce comics in this style, and already has an idea for his next title, Son of the Dope Man, a fiction revenge tale that’s “a little more fun.” Probably because it’s not based on cold truth. PROVIDERS UNDER THE INFLUENCE will be released March 15 and will be available at your hip book stores and comic book shops. Placebo recently showed displays of art from the book at the Burnham Bowl Comic Show and will be traveling around to various comic cons when the season starts later in spring. Visit the website. Dig it!
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