Supercomb, like Rinso, appears to parody infomercials with its stylised lettering and cliche slogans. The outline of a man is depicted holding a ‘supercomb’, which is described as an ‘unbreakable pocket comb’. The chaotic layering of text, paint and sketches in the piece, however, contrast strongly against the tightly controlled visual presentation which defines the advertising press. The almost illegible writing presents a sharp contrast to the accessible, eye-catching text of commercial copy.
A copyright sign accompanies the date, spelt out in words at the base of the print. In the work of Basquiat, materialism and consumer culture are consistently depicted as an enveloping and omnipresent phenomenon which contaminates all. As Leonhard Emmerling writes: “A 1981 drawing shows nothing more than the word “Milk” emblazoned with a copyright sign. This drawing combines a staple food with the claim of control over its distribution and the consequent ability to draw a profit from it.” In the heavily commercialised world of Basquiat’s images, nothing is safe from the carnivorous march of market forces.