I wanted to get this one up by Christmas, but alas, the holiday season side swept me right into the Christmas guard rail. Too much rich food and too much booze had my stomach screaming in agony, sluggish and carb sick I didn’t really want to do anything, much less write a blog post but I really wanted to introduce “Fantastic Games” to people who were not in the know, so I bucked up and gonna dive right into this thing.
So “Fantastic Games” was a movie I found on a external hard drive my buddy gave me. I actually watched this three months ago and to my surprise I found out this was a kid’s Christmas film, but not like any I’d ever seen. Watching the credits and doing research I found out this was an Italian made movie directed by Al Passeri who also directed the equally bat shit insane “Creatures from the Abyss” (1994). The whole Christmas motif is pretty much a wreath around the main body of the story which is some weird Never Ending Story/Power Rangers hybrid.
So during Christmas Eve, a family is stranded in a cabin while a snow storm rages outside, Mary the daughter is deathly ill covered in cloths, there is mom, grandpa and her brother Kevin, their awaiting the return of the father who is a doctor but he is stranded in the snow, their dog is also missing. Then there is the family “friend” who looks like a villain from Central Casting circa 1910, he wears a long black trench coat, derby hat and big black mustache. He goes to see if he can find the father out in the snow, but he has ulterior motives. Since its Christmas Eve the family gets to open presents, Kevin opens one for Mary that contains what looks like a cave girl on a surf board and a book. Kevin starts reading from the book and we are off to a rip roarin’ start.
In “Fantastic Games”, a gnome castle floating in space is threatened by a third rate Darth Vader type with a mask made of various mirrors who controls another floating castle called the Planet of the Black Fortress, the Lord of the Black Fortress, Makeb, wants all the wealth in the gnome castle, so the gnomes call on Jade, Queen of Hope who wants to be paid with a grain of golden wheat, they agree and Jade, along with her surf board and midget dog go to take on the Black Fortress full of weird technology that the gnomes seem not to have.
She enters a weird contest that mimics a video game to defeat Makeb and save the gnomes from destruction, and as all this is happening, Mary is ever closer to death and the blizzard outside gets worse and worse. Black hat “friend” keeps showing up saying he is trying to find the father but twitches his evil mustache. Some of the actions in the story correspond with what happens in real life. On the other hand Makeb keeps zapping his assistants from a stone dragon above his bone laden throne when they screw up, one in his death throes puts bugs in the system making Makeb’s job harder. In the game Jade/Mary battles evil eye balls, jazz playing skeletons, giant stop motion sand worms, fire demons and other things to get a higher score then Makeb who will get destroyed if Jade wins.
“Fantastic Games” is a strange movie in the best way, made in 1998 it looks like it could’ve been made in 1988 instead, in fact I wondered if this was made earlier but released later. As in any Italian production the acting is bad, the dubbed voices atrocious and a plot a mix of 1980 Flash Gordon and the Never Ending Story. For a holiday kid’s film this is just nutso all over the place and that is a good thing. The Italians don’t mess around when they make genre films, its everything out the window, including the kitchen sink.
In my mind, when I see the two words “Techno” and “Viking” put together, it doesn’t seem right, “Techno” to me is wimpy and pathetic, “Viking” is strong, virile and mean. I was that kid in the 1990’s who hated techno as a genre for the most part, barring a few songs here and there, I was the kid that liked metal, noise rock, punk and noise genres as a whole and the only reason why I would go to raves was to pick up chicks on Ecstasy and score some mind altering substances, other than that I hated the techno hipsters with their brightly colored clothing and jewelry. Me and my friends would make fun of them, overall I thought it was pretentious music for pretentious people, which is the reason why I had some trepidation picking “Techno Viking”, even if it was on the ASKE (Anti Social Kultur England) label, but my trepidation were put to rest, this was a whole tape of twisted Techno, the twisted part put the “Viking” in the music.
The tape came with xeroxed art with the title of the tape, “Techno Viking” on top and bottom, the ASKE records symbol on one side and the track listing on the other side. Again seeing the art I figured that the tape would be a cheap, recorded one, nope, it was a white pro tape limited to 40 copies, I have copy 16.
So here is my track by track break down of “Techno Viking”, the first track is “War” and it starts with a sample from the movie “Fight Club” with chanting in back and then bongos mixed into the track. The second track “Discipline” has synthesized beat and effects and “Discipline” chanted over over, the beat gets faster and faster and the “Discipline” chant gets higher in pitch like chipmunks, the third track is “Pub Fight”, this track has a wailing synth line with a weird electronic beat over samples of people fighting in a club. The fourth track is “Life on the Streets” which features a sample of a journalist interviewing a drug lord played with an incessant beat over the interview. The fifth track is “Destroy Rework” which features a beat with a distorted synth over it. The sixth track “Debt Rework” has a distorted synth over a galloping bass line and beat, the sixth track is “Ogard Runir Remix” the track is pretty much pagan chanting over a repeated electric drum beat, distorted bass with a high, whiny synth line, and the seventh and last track which is my favorite is “Abyss” which is low, pitch shifted spoken word over synth lines and drones. Overall, this is techno I don’t mind too much, still not a big fan, not enough happens in the “techno” genre of music. “Techno Viking” techno done “ASKE” style is techno done right.
When this tape came I was concerned, the fact that it was wrapped in what looked like a garbage bag with electrical tape made me think the music inside might be garbage. I normally buy tapes if their recommended to me or if the details of what is on the tape interests me, its pretty much a (half) blind buy. I was careful to cut this thing open hoping not to scratch it. After getting the bag and electrical tape off I encountered two A5 sheets with xeroxed art stapled around the tape.
After getting the sheets off the “Mona Lisa Smile” tape I was surprised to actually see a white pro tape and not a cheap recorded one.
I can’t find any info on it, got the “Mona Lisa Smile” tape off of Analog Worship, and I forget if there was a limited amount of copies, again this was released by ASKE (Anti Social Kultur England) Records. Here is a side by side break down because there really is no single tracks, side A of “Mona Lisa Smile” is just crackling, rhythmic and pulsating drones, almost like what a sonogram sounds like except more deeper sounding, something you can put on in the background that isn’t too distracting if your trying to study, read, or do any work that doesn’t demand distraction, it is even something you can meditate to. Side B of “Mona Lisa Smile” is a little different, it starts with what sounds like church bells, then there is what sounds like a acoustic guitar and organ all washed over with rippling water sounds, near the end of the tape the organ and guitar give way to only the rippling sounds and rhythmic thumping. Side B could be used for background music but it is a little more noisy and complicated. Overall “Mona Lisa Smile” is a tape I will throw on while writing this blog, working on my projects or reading a book. The tape keeps it interesting and it covers my favorite sub genres in the noise genre, dark ambient and drone. You really won’t find “Mona Lisa Smile” anywhere, its not on analog worship or on discogs at all.
Now I rarely hear folk music mixed with experimental industrial and darkwave. ASKE (Anti Social Kultur England) records is known for putting out weird and out there lo fi music, everything from black metal to twisted techno, some of those genres mixed together. “Lightning Undersun” is one such project, this is one tape whose sound is hard to pin down and that is the way I like it, Discogs gives really thin information on “Lightning Undersun” I did get this off of Analog Worship, there was a limited edition of 30 I got tape 3, I know this is a small label but I really am not into the whole small amount of “limited edition” batches that only certain people can get, especially if your stuff isn’t up on a streaming service or bandcamp. I know ASKE pulled down their whole discography on bandcamp and are doing physical release only, that means only 30 people are going to hear “Lightning Undersun” which doesn’t make any sense to me at all, there is a bit of snobbery and elitism when a release is only limited to X amount of copies. I know most of these types of labels hate the mainstream and trends but who is gonna listen to your label or band if you keep it off of everything? Your label and band can remain special by just sticking to your principles and sound, strictly limiting yourself as a label makes no sense.
The “Lightning Undersun” tape, besides the bag having xeroxed art work folded over the tape, has a slip of paper with the track listings on them.
So for a track by track break down, so track one is called “The Son”, kind of a play on words, this track is a weird mix of darkwave and folk with low echoing vocals that switch to clean higher pitched vocals, with wailing flute,a programmed drum machine beat in back, and a acoustic guitar strumming along, so far this track sounds a lot like “Death in June”. Track two is called “Blood God”, this track is a fast paced affair with hardcore screeching vocals that go into clean singing, then into what can only be described as industrial noise racket and then a strummed acoustic guitar and field recordings of rain and thunder, a sample from some old movie is played and then harmonious singing. Track three is called “War in the Sky” it starts with a steady drum machine beat, static noise like you’d hear in the “Harsh Wall of Noise” genre and a ghostly synth with light background talking and near the end of the track various strumming acoustic guitars colliding with keyboards. The last track “The Wheel Turns” starts with bongos and a electric sitar playing fast, dogs barking, people grunting and the deep, echoing darkwave vocals return to round out the track. These tracks repeat on side B.
Which was my response when I first watched this movie, in fact, when I first got this movie from “Vinegar Syndrome” and watched it, it kind of pissed me off, it was everything I hated in a movie, pretentious, trying to be weird, trying to be different, trying to be funny etc. Then after it ended at an hour and three minutes, my mind started to meditate on what I watched, the movie wasn’t long, to make the “Short (S)hit” list it has to be under a hour ten minutes, to me that is a short film, after the hour ten minute mark its a feature. Then an hour later I was still thinking about the movie, Cornshukker’s nasally refrain “I know” to any person who visited his sparse and rustic abode started to make me chuckle, then I meditated on the Cornshukker, a ghostly figure from folklore made up by the director/writer Brando Snider off of a painting he made, the Cornshukker is supposed to be a cryptid/nature spirit who lives on corn whose natural habitat is being in infringed upon by civilization. The Cornshukker’s skin is pale, he has no hair, black lipstick and eyeliner and wears a ill fitting suit with a wide tie, in other words he is a mopey 90’s goth kid.
He mainly communicates through telepathy and when he does this his head stretches and morphs via cheap 1990’s in camera digital effects, crawdads invade his property and make loud noises in his head so he smashes them bloodily in the carpet, and various visitors like a girl scout cookie seller, prancing flute player, traveling dead heads, a make up saleswoman, a crazy pastor, a drunk pizza delivery guy from “Smegma Pizza”, a Mexican Senorita, a bigoted person in a creepy old man mask etc. come to Cornshukker’s shack and almost all of them with weird lines they read stilted. If you got this far reading this your probably muttering or yelling in a anger “WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK”. That was my initial reaction but I watched it again, the Cornshukker is a movie that is dream like, the weird visitors the Cornshukker seem to me to be from some other dimension, I mean this was filmed in the Mid West so that would probably explain a lot of this vibe. The soundtrack is a whole other thing, the music is mainly ghostly lo fi country, something that one would hear on some radio signal from the ghost world, the segments and the “logic” in this short film drift on seas of the abstract. When (SPOILER AHEAD) Cornshukker kills the bigoted old man, a young guy in a weird old man mask, with a shovel, Jesus Penis’ “I Left My Body” industrial track drifts in, now this track sounded familiar to me, I had to search my memory banks, some burned out from all the substances I’d done in the past and some overloaded with underground pop culture effluvia, in the credits under the “soundtrack heading” the name “Bureaucracy of Hope” and a address to the record company popped up then I remembered the shitty, shot on video movie that tried to rip off “Necromantic”, the movie “Ghorewhore” and its industrial soundtrack which was the whole compilation album “The Bureaucracy of Hope” the title “Elephants Force-Fed on Stale Chalk” (which I will post on my bitchute channel and do a review of sometime), on that album is Jesus Penis’ ghostly “I Left My Body”, it gives the murder scene a nightmare quality. A hour and three minutes for a movie like this is perfect if the “Cornshukker” had lasted longer I would’ve literally “shukked” this film onto amazon or ebay. It has drawn comparisons to “Eraserhead” but “Eraserhead” it is not, both are black and white but that is where the similarities end, “Eraserhead” builds tension, a nightmare atmosphere of barely comprehended fear, you can feel “Eraserhead” vibrating in your bones, “Cornshukker” doesn’t mess with any of that, it bashes you over the head with its weirdness, some people will retaliate in anger and some will go down unconscious and happy, at first I was the former but now I am the latter. “Cornshukker” took some time getting used to, if you aren’t patient you will not like this film.
“Cornshukker” was made on a six thousand dollar budget, Brando Snider, the director decided to make this movie after he watched Robert Rodriguez’s “El Mariachi”, a precursor to his later bigger budgeted movie, “Desperado”. When Brando found out that Rob made his movie for as little as seven thousand dollars, he knew he could make a movie on his own. He said two thousand dollars went to the director of photography, Jim Tipperman, one thousand dollars went for film, and one thousand dollars to process it, he had no money at the end of it. He had to take out a loan through the Greenfield Banking Company, the loan officer who gave him his loan, Judy Gable, was in the movie she is one of the people in the (SPOILED MEAT AHEAD) torch and pitchfork ending. The mob with the pitchforks and torches at the end were people they asked in the local Fortville pub to play the crowd, so twenty to thirty drunk people showed up with pitchforks and torches. The police were actually called because they thought the film crew was a satanic cult, Brando’s mom and grandma tried talking to the police but were told to shut the fuck up at shotgun point, when Brando showed them he had permits to film they dropped the guns and said into the radio “Film Crew” and left like nothing happened. For the character of “Cornshukker” Brando almost got a professional actor to play the character and he found the perfect guy, tall, lanky and skinny, the only problem was the actor had long hair and the “Cornshukker” has a completely shaved head, and the actor wouldn’t shave his head, so Brando hired his brother Jason who shaved his head and in my opinion, is the “Cornshukker” nobody else could’ve played him, most of the cast of “Cornshukker” is family and friends. The only two professional actors in the movie was David Briggs who played the Reverend Lewd and Jack Rooney who played the ranger/cop. The acting of the non actors in this reminded me a lot of “Gummo”, Harmony Korine, the director of “Gummo” used some actors in his movie but shot actual people in their surroundings, this is called “Cinema Verite”, an almost documentary style of capturing moments on film. When Brando was filming out in public with the Cornshukker people would drive by and yell “Powder!” Which was a lamestream movie that came out back around when he shot his movie and it pissed him off because he thought his character was nothing like “Powder”. He did post production in a place that let him pay off the post production cost by shrink wrapping tapes which took six months, they allowed him two hours to edit his movie, an older guy, David Lister, helped him edit the movie, he said Lister was an ex hippie who loved “Cornshukker”. After the film was finished VHS copies were made and distributed they sent a copy to Sundance Film Festival but were turned down, they sold the VHS at twenty bucks a tape through various channels and for the longest time this movie was hard to find until its Blu Ray release. Along with Vinegar Syndrome this was put out in partnership with VHShitfest, a company that specializes in releasing little seen movies.
Been awhile since I did one of these, hell, been awhile since I have posted, been busy and lazy, since I can’t make a basket of mackerels with this web site I have to do actual work to keep myself alive and after that work is done I don’t want to do anything but veg out and let my brain soak in the book I am reading, the movie/TV show I am watching or the music I am listening to. I really have to force myself to work on my blog, that being said I constantly go to this site, “366 Weird Movies”. This site has introduced me to so many cool movies, TV show and other media I otherwise wouldn’t have heard about. They have different features like “Saturday Shorts” where a weird short of yesteryear or current day is featured every Saturday, “Apocrypha Candidates” different reviewers try to decide if a certain weird movie should join the list, “Weird Watch Party” where you can join other fans of strange cinema on streaming platforms to group watch a weird movie, “Weird Horizon for the Week” where they list theaters and festivals showing odd movies and DVD and/or Blu Ray releases of strange films for the week, “Whats in the Pipeline” where they discuss movies and TV shows in production or that are coming out in the near future, “Capsules” where movies and TV shows of the past that are bizarre are reviewed, and interviews with film makers. I could read “366 Weird Movies” all day long, but there is a draw back, sometimes “366 Weird Movies” has the “stench of hipster” all over it, some of the pieces are way up their own ass and they make me roll my eyes. The drawback to some of these sites is it seems that the people who run them and write for them think their better than everybody else with their unpopular and fringe tastes and sometimes politics gets injected into the pieces were politics doesn’t even apply which is one of my biggest pet peeves. Look, nobody gives a shit about what you think, talk politics if it has do with the plot or message of the piece of media you are reviewing. This even pisses me off when the person agrees with me, but overall these are minor drawbacks and their rare, though the hipster thing is a light coat over the whole web site. That being said this site is one of the few that searches out movies and TV shows no one else does and as a result I have found a lot of good stuff both old and new. So go over to “366 Weird Movies”, take the road less traveled, even if it is crooked and leads to a rabbit hole.
Short films shot in black and white were a dime a dozen in the 1990’s, most low budget directors used the monochrome method to impart artiness, seriousness and mask whatever defects a low budget production spawned, most were pretentious shit from hipster assholes who had their heads wedged firmly in their asses. While the current entry “That Little Monster” was shot in black and white, tried to be arty, and tried to mask its defects with monochrome, serious it wasn’t and it is glorious to behold.
So the plot of “That Little Monster” isn’t really that complicated, it takes place in a retro future imagined by 1950’s sci fi writers, it takes place on a different planet, in a house with furniture, a TV set and Hi Fi record player that wouldn’t look too far out of place in a 1950’s swinging bachelor pad with a few tweaks here and there to make it look unearthly, add strange ornaments, sculptures and plants to make it look even more unearthly. Forrest J. Ackerman, founder of the first zine and movie monster magazine, “Monsters of Filmland” does the intro to the movie. In comes female earthling Jamie (Melissa Baum) looking for a baby sitting job to make a little more money on this different planet, another human Twelvetrees (played by Reggie Bannister of “Phantasm” fame) interviews her for the baby sitting job, first by trying to pitch her a alien soda in what looks like retro commercial. She gets hired, she is to watch the infant spawn of the Willock couple who are going to a costume party dressed like humans, the male Willock breaks into a weird folk song out of nowhere, they allude to their being other human baby sitters that didn’t work out. She is given instructions on when to feed the baby and that she can have as much microwave popcorn as she wants, the aliens on this planet think microwave popcorn is the best invention they were given by us humans. Twelvetrees warns her to be careful around the alien infant, of course she ignores his advice and the alien baby starts running wild and things and people get hurt and Bob Hope (yes that one) makes a surprise cameo.
For a low budget short film, the effects are pretty darn good, the alien baby gave me a chuckle and made me happy every time it popped up on the screen, I imagine this the way the baby in David Lynch’s “Eraserhead” would’ve looked like if it had lived a couple of more months, the gore effects and baby toys were well done, they made the baby toys look slightly familiar but otherworldly. This one really isn’t scary, its ridiculous, but ridiculous in a non pretentious and fun way, and to boot it is short, “That Little Monster” is one I will go back to and it makes it easy that its fifty minutes long and interesting, if it would’ve went on for an hour and half I would’ve been looking at my room wondering what I had to organize. “That Little Monster” came out of a time that was experiencing a “retro revival” every hipster was digging through thrift stores in the 1990’s looking for 1950’s-1960’s lounge lizard threads and digging through heaps of vinyl in used record stores trying to find the lost 45 or 78 of some obscure Swing Band. I can tell the director of this short, Paul Bunnell was one of those types of people.
Paul shot “That Little Monster” over three years, it was originally supposed to be a segment in the awesome “Monsters” TV show, the connection to “Monsters”, according to Paul, “died” so he decided to develop it himself into a artsy kind of film to get his work seen. In the interview I saw, Paul looks like your typical 1990’s retro hipster, he wears black frame Buddy Holly glasses, his hair is slicked back with Brylcreem, he wears a plaid suit jack and wide collar shirt whose collar flaps come over the suit jacket collar, he also drives a 1960 Thunderbird with Bob Hope spelled out on his license plate and he does Don Knotts impersonations, this is the kind of guy who would direct a movie like this. Paul said it took thirty thousand dollars to make and some help from some producers. Paul says he is more of a visual stylist and tells his story more through visuals than the actual story. This short is packed with eye popping visuals, Paul directed the segment “The Visitant” in the “Strange Tales” (http://www.noisepuncher.net/2021/09/20/want-to-watch-some-strange-tales-1986/)anthology I reviewed here awhile ago.
Stan Lee saw “Heavy Metal Magazine” eating into his profits, Stan Lee couldn’t have that, so Stan Lee decided to start his own rip off of “Heavy Metal Magazine” known by “Epic Illustrated” by first having Rick Marschall as editor under the title “Odyssey” in 1979, it was originally gonna appear in “The Marvel Super Special” magazine Marschall found out that there was other magazines with that same names so he changed the name to “Epic Illustrated”, he was soon replaced by Archie Goodwin who took over the editorial reins. “Epic Illustrated” started in 1980 as a quarterly with a “Roman Soldier” style Frank Frazetta cover, in my opinion not the best representation of the stories contained within the magazine.
Stan Lee, in the editorial to the first issue, says “Forgive us if we sound presumptive but ‘Epic Illustrated’ is more, far more than merely another new magazine. ‘Epic’ heralds the dramatic start of a new era in publishing, an era which proudly presents long awaited marriage of superb illustration and the best in imaginative fiction.” Thus Marvel’s competition to “Heavy Metal” begins and since this isn’t a comic book and is a magazine, more taboo territory can be covered without running afoul of the “Comics Code Authority”, in other words tits, peoples eyes and brains can pop out, really if you put an issue of “Epic Illustrated” side by side with an issue of “Heavy Metal” you’ll see very little difference even in the print type used in the editorials, letters and reviews section, Archie will be editor until the last issue. “Epic Illustrated” begins as a quarterly until issue five (April 1981) then it goes bi monthly. “Epic” will also use alot of the same artists “Heavy Metal” does, but whereas “Heavy Metal” is more “Eurocentric” in its artist choices, Marvel goes more for American artists, not that they don’t use European artists, there is a smattering of them but this is more of a stateside thing some of the same artists that appear in the pages of both magazines are Ray Rue, Arthur Suydam, Barry Windsor Smith, Howard Chaykin, Richard Corben, Terry Lindell, Jeffery Catherine Jones among others. In the last issue Archie writes “This will be our final ‘Epic Illustrated’. We regret that very much, but with the success of other projects here at Marvel such as our ‘Epic Comics’ line and the ‘Marvel Graphic Novels’ with which we’re involved and with wide reader interest in an anthology style magazine (particularly one as expensive to produce as ‘Epic’) increasingly harder to sustain, this seems the best course. The alternatives, decreasing frequency of publication, cutting the page count or paper quality, raising the price etc. would only lessen a product of which we’re quite proud. We prefer to bring ‘Epic’ to a close while its still the same magazine that we know and love.” I don’t know, “Heavy Metal” survived and is still going today though I’d hesitate to say “strong” but even in its weaker periods it kept the quality up and page count the same, we’re talking about “Marvel” here that was a multi million dollar comic book company that had its fingers in various pies, this seems to me a “Stan Lee cutting costs” type thing to focus on cheaper “Epic” related comics and graphic novels, as opposed to a talent laden, slick, and well produced magazine. Not only that, it seems “Epic Illustrated” leaned more heavily on the fantasy side of things and “Heavy Metal” leaned” more on the science fiction/space opera side of things, especially back in those days. And like “Heavy Metal, “Epic Illustrated” had continuing stories, short pieces, and articles on things pertaining to the whole sci fi/fantasy thing, and like “Heavy Metal” with various artists come different art styles that keep the magazine interesting. The continuing pieces in “Epic Illustrated” are Jim Starlin’s sci fi epic “Metamorphosis Odyssey” with his character Dreadstar seeking to destroy a race of aliens that annihilate whole galaxies published from issue one to issue nine (Spring 1980 to December 1981), Arthur Suydam’s ode to 1950’s sci fi and classic slapstick cartoons “Cholly and Flytrap” appearing in issues eight, ten, thirteen, fourteen, and thirty four (October 1981, February 1982, August 1982, October 1982, February 1986),
Roy Thomas adapts a story from Micheal Moorcock and P. Craig Russel illustrates “A Tale of Elric of Melnibone: The Dreaming City” in issues three (fall 1980), four (winter 1980) and fourteen (October 1982), Roy Thomas adapts yet another pulp sword and sorcery hero from Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, in “Almuric” where a lantern jawed, big muscled hero from earth travels to a brutal, barbaric world running away from the cops in issues two to five (summer 1980 to April 1981), Rick Veitch with his “Moby Dick in Space” tale “Abraxas and the Earthman” issues ten to seventeen (February 1982 to April 1983), Chris Claremont and John Bolton with their silver haired, barbarian woman warrior in “Marada” in issues ten to twelve (February to June 1982) and (twenty two to twenty three February to April 1984), Carl Potts with Dennis O’ Neil, Terry Austin and Marie Severin’s Japanese samurai warrior in the Pacific Northwest of the US battling dragons and evil samurai in “Last of the Dragons” in issues fifteen to twenty (December 1982 to October 1983), Pepe Moreno of “Heavy Metal” fame illustrates and editor Archie Goodwin writes a post apocalyptic tale of a world trying to heal in “Generation Zero” issues seventeen to twenty four (April 1983 to June 1984), Dean Motter continues what he started in the black and white sci fi comic “Star Ride” this time colorized with “The Sacred and Profane” where the Papacy sends the church into outer space to convert alien races with disastrous consequences in issues twenty to twenty six (October 1983 to October 1984), Doug Moench and Mike Ploog’s “Elf Quest” rip off (a good rip off by the way) “Weirdworld: Dragonmaster of Klarn” a tale of elves, evil wizards, comedic dwarfs and dragons mixed up in a battle that could destroy the world in issue nine, issues eleven to thirteen (December 1981, February 1982 to August 1982,
Tim Conrad spins a medieval tale of sorcery, and golems in realistic black and white with “Toadswart d’Amplestone” in issues twenty five to twenty eight and thirty to thirty three (August 1984 to October 1985), what is a continuing story and I don’t think belongs in “Epic Illustrated” is the Silver Surfer story in issue one, that needs to be in some other compilation, not a sci fi and fantasy compilation magazine, Silver Surfer, while having sci fi elements is more in the super hero genre and that goes for “The Last Galactus” continuing story in issues twenty six to thirty four (October 1984 to February 1986) by John Byrne, while the art is top notch, “The Last Galactus” is part of the Marvel Super Hero Universe and shouldn’t have been in “Epic Illustrated”. That aside it is a pretty solid series and good competition to “Heavy Metal”, just like with “Heavy Metal” I enjoyed the short pieces more than the longer and continuing stories because I have ADD, HA! HA! The review sections started in issue five (April 1981) Jo Duffy who worked for Marvel and was editor and story writer on the original old school “Star Wars” comics comes aboard as associate editor on “Epic Illustrated” and starts the review section that was prominent in their rival “Heavy Metal” at the time, in the issue she becomes associate editor she starts the “Bookview” column where she reviews fantasy and sci fi books and comics, Dennis O’Neil does “Mediaview” where he does tongue in cheek movie reviews and reminiscences about his childhood movie experiences in Indiana, issue seven (August 1981) will add Steven Grant’s “Gameview” where Steven reviews different role playing game modules and computer games and then husband and wife team John Robert Tebbel and Martha Thomases do “Futureview” a column that talks about technology and future possibilities for tech, this column was “better late than never” since it was introduced near the end run of “Epic Illustrated”, the columns ended in issue thirty one (August 1985) near the end of the magazines run. Also included in later issues were artist interviews, profiles and portfolios. Countless imitators came out of the wood work, some awful and some awesome (I’ll get around to reviewing those some day), however, I kind of wish that Stan Lee and company would’ve bit the bullet and continued this magazine, I don’t think its full potential was reached. In fact, I truly believe that if they would’ve continued the magazine they would’ve bested “Heavy Metal”, out of all the fantasy “underground” compilation magazines, “Heavy Metal” is the major one that rode out all the trends, all the economic downturns and bull shit and survives (some like me would argue it barely survives, its a shell of its former self). “Heavy Metal’s” continuing stories and short pieces still bested “Epic Illustrated” and I am not saying by a long shot that “Epic Illustrated” sucks, I just don’t think it was given enough time to grow but what we have is “Epic”.
Well here it comes, are you ready for another bad acid trip for your ears? A lethal hot needle in the veins? Ready to go tripping through black poppy fields? Then look no further than the much awaited sequel (check out the first volume compilation here: http://www.noisepuncher.net/2021/11/07/the-wild-noise-land-of-tasmania-1-lets-go-down-there/ YOUR WELCOME) from the land down under, “Tasmania 2”, put out on 2 LP’s with a booklet of trippy art by the notorious and now probably defunct, Overuse Records in 2018, this features various bands and noise projects, some with the label owner’s different projects. If you have a short attention span, or your ADD like I am you won’t get bored, in this volume like the first you get raw black metal, blackened punk, blackened noise, dark wave and bubbling, oozing noise but without further ado here we go, the first track “Pixelated Waves” is by Colour Sensory, it is a blackened noise slap that at first has blown out sound then calming drones and lilting keyboards drifting in and out of the track, the second track is “Closure” by “Leather Temple”, crackling static and ear piercing feed back populate this track for the fetish leather set.
Next up is the tracks by Fixation, “Pounding”, and “I Can’t Make It Stop” two blackened punk hardcore stomps that will melt your face and step on your toes until their a bloody mess, next up can you smell “The Scent of Masculinity”? Because I don’t want to, this track by Claudia has a simple, warm drone with pulsating sound and soft drum machine keeping rhythm.
Carved Cross breaks that vibe on their track “Washed Away in the Passage of Time and Regret” with slow, evil, plodding, raw black metal and shrieking in agony vocals, next up you have Dysassociation with the tracks “Interlude”, “Head in the Clouds” and “Interlude 2”, blown out dark wave with haunting, wind chime synths.
Night Falls Haunting has three tracks “Rest of the Lonely”, “Ancient Rites”, and “Tradition Dies Slowly” the band goes in a different direction with their music on this comp, its hard to describe, their first track is what I’d call “acoustic black metal”, the second track has a incessant drum machine beat, a scratchy repeated riff, hoarse vocals and a strumming acoustic guitar that occasionally comes in, and on the third track there is another repeated scratchy riff with chanting flute in back with the gruff shouted vocals.
Isolationist comes on with their twisted power electronics track “Knowledge Control” wailing distorted synths, harsh, electrocuting ripples and banging noise agony with shouted, echoing vocals, once again Leather Temple comes with its sonic whips and chains to torture you audio wise with “The Blurred Lines Between Sex and Death”.
Next up Gaunt comes on with some blown out, droning dark wave track with “A.E.” a call back to suicidal, minimal wave, goth 1980’s style, Plague Whore warps your ears with blackened noise filth and black metal vocals run through a static filter with their two tracks of audio horror “Invocation/Apparition” and “Glory to the Mother of Sex” which includes Hindu chants with its wailing noise.
Carved Cross mourns life with its minimal, primitive slow plodding black metal track “All Debris Return Home to Rest”, and last but definitely not least Claudia closes the compilation with his pulsing, calm and bubbling ambient track “No Sign of Weakness”.
My first encounter with “Blab!” was issue eleven. I was in some independent bookstore in So Cal looking for weird art shit as usual, this was in 2003 I’d heard of “Blab!” Before and had seen the covers but none of them snagged me until I saw the weird Mark Ryden illustrated cover. It was my first introduction to Ryden, I picked up the large book and thumbed through it, the book reached up and bitch slapped my retinas. After being beaten black and blue, my eyes sore, I bought the thing and later bought volumes sporadically as the years went by. I’ve gone through two house fires, numerous psycho ex girlfriends stealing and/or destroying my stuff and moves and I lost my original “Blabs” and forgot about them. Eventually I started trying to find artwork by Al Columbia, I’d found out he’d done a rendition of “The Book of Revelations”, nightmare Fleischertoon style, for “Blab!” Volume ten. Trying to find volume ten was like trying to find a needle in a haystack because of the Al Columbia strip but trying to find this one book rekindled the flame of my interest in “Blab!” And if I was gonna start collecting all of the “Blabs” I had to find ten so I had a complete collection. I searched high and low, almost in despair, nobody had it, that is until I saw there was a copy on Amazon Japan, so I had to contact a Japanese shipping export company to buy it for me and ship it for me. Once I got it I went about collecting all the “Blabs”.
Issues one to seven are a smaller size, A5 format, and edited by the great Monte Beauchamp, the first issue features more text and less art and comics, it mainly focuses on the 1950’s EC horror comics that were banned and how they influenced various underground artists like Kim Deitch, Bill Griffith, Rick Griffin etc. Some of the same artists do some artwork for the issue. Issue two features still more text than art and comics, now there is a feature “Blab Dating” with artists doing different grotesque renditions of “Blab!” Dating prospects, the Mars Attacks! Card creator, Len Brown, is interviewed, Daniel Clowes does a strip on EC Censor Wertham’s first book “The Show of Violence”, Gary Arlington and his love of EC comics is shown in a an interview and parodied by Kim Deitch in a strip, EC and early Will Elder “Mad’s” influence is explored by various underground artists. Both issues were put out by Beauchamps own imprint, Monte Comics from 1986-1987, when Kitchen Sink Press took over the title they printed new editions of “Blab!” Volume one and two.
Issue three sees Daniel Clowes doing a strip on another of the censorious Wertham’s books that led to the crack down on comics in the 1950’s, “Seduction of the Innocent”. Spain joins in with his reminisces of 1950’s Buffalo, New York in “Tex’s Bad Dream”. Richard Sala follows the life of a censor in “What the Censor Saw,” Bhob Stewart investigates Bazooka Joe and his origins in “Bubbling Over”, Joe Coleman does a piece on the infamous “Casanova Killer” in “The Final Days of Paul John Knowles”, Kim Deitch features an excerpt from a story that would be completed in “Zero Zero” (I review the whole “Zero Zero” series here http://www.noisepuncher.net/2021/09/30/five-four-three-two-one-zero-zero-comix/ get zeroed out, babe) in the strip “Wagan Island”, Richard Sala spears televangelist hypocrisy in “A Date with the Devil,” Blab’s Date Department piece continues and various underground artists talk about Robert Crumb’s influence on them, the content is starting to become more art and less text. This is when Kitchen Sink Press takes over publishing “Blab!” in 1988 from issues three to eight.
Issue four has more comics than text, Daniel Clowes dives head first in the apocalypse in “666”, Spain dishes on his old friend in the 1950’s in “Fred Toote Rides”, Richard Sala talks subliminal advertising in “Hypnorama”, Jaxon talks underground comix in “Comics or Comix”, “Blab!” Does the “Dating Depot” thing with ugly dates, Doug Allen brings his cowboy hat wearing character Steven in “Steven Flips Out”, Skip Williamson has his recurring character Snappy Sammy Smoot go to work in the corporate world in “Death Merchant”, Monte interviews Daniel Clowes into “Behind the Eightball”, Jay Lynch and Gary Whitney brings the “Bix” in “The Best of Bix”, “The Wages of Sin” brings Joe Coleman’s criticism of religion to the pages and Mark Newgarden talks “Garbage Pail Kids” in “Garbage, Gum and Lawsuits”.
Issue five is when “Blab!” Goes majority comics and art with some text, in this one Richard Sala does triple cross in the art world in “Big Dark Zero”, Lloyd Dangle does a strip on Deborah Harry (yes that one) and other victims escaping the clutches of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy in “Lucky to Be Alive”, Joe Coleman tells the tale of serial killer Carl Panzram in “Carl Panzram #32614”, Ray Tone talks crime comics of the 1940’s and 1950’s in “The Rise and Fall of the Crime Comic Book”, Doug Allen has his cowboy hat wearing Steven in the air in “Steven in Thin Air”, Spain tells about his youth in the 1950’s and the neighborhood bank robber “Wilcoxson Naussbaum”, Skip Williamson lands Snappy Sammy Smoot in the middle of adopting his thug nephews in “Self Titled”, Daniel Clowes draws a tale of a life owed for death in “One for the Father”, Joe Coleman is interviewed by Monte, and Dan’s brother James Russel Clowes spins a murderous yarn with illustrations by Richard Sala.
Issue six is an “Alcoholic” issue. To start in the inside cover Mary Feelner discusses her parents, alcoholism and herself in the strip “As American as Mom, Apple Pie and Martinis”, Joe Coleman does a write up of old west career criminal and hobo, Jack Black in “You Can’t Win”, Richard Sala does a whodunnit murder story with a bizarre twist in “Where is Christine Brooder?”, Lloyd Dangle does a strip on a real life alcohol fueled murder committed by a couple in “Mixture for Murder”, Doug Allen brings cowboy hat Steven back in a strip with a drinking competition with a talking cactus in “Steven in the Show Down”, Skip Williamson has a lush, vomiting, pink elephant watcher going down for the count in “Necropolis Keester”, Monte Beauchamp and John Pertrie do a write up on alcoholic cartoonists and its illustrated by Daniel Clowes titled “Alcoholic Cartoonists”, “The Lying Ear” has Frank Stack doing a strip about the alcohol fueled and contentious friendship between Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, the “Blab Dating Depot” goes digital with Mark Landman and Monte Beauchamp, Spain talks alcohol in his 1950’s youth in a black r and b/rock n’ roll dive called “Down at the Kitty Kat”, Skip Williamson has Snappy Sammy Smoot being targeted by the IRS in “Travail, Misery, Disillusionment and Pending Oblivion with Snappy Sammy Smoot”, pets get sloppy drunk in Gary Leib’s “Pets That Drink”, Josh Alan Friedman writes a tale of prostitutes and booze and Richard Sala illustrates in “Babes on Broadway”, and Justin Green does a one pager “Great Moments in Alcoholism, Las Vegas 1967”, on the story of his father drinking numerous shots of straight Jim Beam and telling Frank Sinatra and his crew to shut up when they were loud while his friend Clancey Hayes played on stage.
Issue seven is the last of the A5 size format with a Daniel Clowes’ covers and Chris Ware does the inside covers and back covers with “Jimmy Corrigan, Smartest Kid on Earth” strip with a mix of fantasy and brutal, creepy reality where each bleeds in Jimmy’s memories and then Jimmy can’t tell what is fantasy or reality, Joe Coleman does “Boxcar Bertha, an Autobiography” his way on the trials and tribulations of a woman hobo, Mary Fleener does a strip on how her husband and herself deal with a dysfunctional couple that are their friends (one who is into pyromania) in “Ashes of Passion”, Doug Allen’s cowboy hat wearing Steven does noir in “Bang”, Gary Leib talks about mental health in an abstract way in “My Mental Health??? Fine”, Spain digs again back into his 1950’s youth in “The Shadow of Fred Toote”, Terry Laban talks about how porn ruined a man’s life and family in “Porn”, Frank Stack goes back into the past and talks assassination of William Shakespeare in “The Bad Must Die”, the drunkard Necropolis Keester drunk stumbles his way into being a corporate spokesman for a sham product in “Necropolis Keester Careens Off the Road to Recovery up the 12 Steps to Psychobabylon”, a man experiences the emptiness of living an urban life in “Tales from the Land of Plenty” by Marc Trujillo”, and Josh Alan Friedman writes up a tale of youth in a old folks retirement home illustrated by Richard Sala in “Come to Pa Pa.” This time the comics outnumber the text with Josh Alan’s story being the only text based thing in the whole issue.
Issue eight goes into a bigger 10×10 format to better feature the art, to get this format kick started Walter Minus and Charles Berberian do their strip retro with a tale of jealous love, voodoo picture stabbing and a sci fi ending with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, Terry LaBan shows what happens when the sun comes out and the pants drop in “Mating Season”, Richard Sala does a strip on a man going to retrieve his father’s brain in “My Father’s Brain”, Doug Allen brings cowboy hat wearing Steven into redneckville in “Steven and the Morons”, Spain goes back in time again to his 1950’s youth and his favorite radio DJ in “Cruisin’ with the Hound”, Jeffery Steele does a text piece on haunted bars across America with illustrations by Johnathan Rosen “A Case of the Shakes”, Archie Prewitt brings on Sof Boy who gets roughed up by a metal head and his Rottweiler in “Sof’ Boy”, Gary Leib celebrates Halloween, old school, with “Halloween”, Chris Ware has Jimmy Corrigan on a island stranded in another installment of “Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth”, a robot goes through abstract adventures in Peter Hoey’s “Angry Gray Robot”, Peter Kuper talks danger on the high bridge in New York City in “The Beaten Path”, David Golden combines drawings with physical objects like matchbooks and beer bottle caps in a story of fiery lust in “Burning Love”, Monte Beauchamp explores the colorful art of the Valmor company in “Art of the Valmor Label”, Frank Stack talks Michelangelo, the painter’s sordid and criminal past in “No Hope No Fear”, Jeff Johnson illustrates a song by Jadydee Short in “Snake Doctor Blues”, Denis Kitchen, publisher of Kitchen Press does a comic on how he is more of a businessman and less of an artist, Marc Trujillo further explores the alienation of urban life with “Tales from the Land of Plenty”, and Drew Friedman talks his career with illustrations from himself and his brother Josh Alan Friedman does a prose piece about an elevator man who loses his cool with an insulting kid in “Elevator Ride”.
Issue nine Richard Sala has a man chasing a bird through a phantasmagorical crowd to get his invite to his own “Prestigious Banquet to Be Held in my Honor”, Walter Minus does obsession, retro style with “Priscilla”, Doug Allen has his cowboy hat wearing “Steven in Double for Danger” doing an amnesia noir thing, Charles Paul Freund writes and Peter Hoey illustrates a sad tale of the last days of a robot swing big band in “Valse Mechanique, The Mechanical Waltz”, Tony Fitzpatrick explores “Dirty Boulevard” with a series of dirty denizens on single page notebook paper, Baseman does philosophy his style in “Enjoy or Suffer”, Christian North East does a collage/drawing with retro ads and pictures in “Goodnight Irene”, Jeffery Steele tells the tale of a loner in the late 1940’s who shoots up his hometown with drawings by Teresa Mucha and Steve Campbell in “The Quiet Man”, Spain explores his late 1950’s youth and fights in diners in “The Fighting Poets”, Banquet has a transgender son taking revenge on his parents with a doll in “A New Version of Love”, Terry Laban does a strip on the extraterrestrial thinning of the human herd in “Park”, Marc Trujillo shows that no good deeds are left unpunished, especially in the city in another installment of “In the Land of Plenty”, “Sweet Grolo” and his invisible donkey wants to cook a dove he kills but can’t find anybody to do it by J. Bradley Johnsons, Peter Kuper talks about how watching the movie “Exorcist” as a young man has effected him into adulthood in “Exorcise”, “Sof’ Boy” by Archer Prewitt has Sof’ Boy homeless and being puked on by an alcoholic bum and being chewed on by rats, Monte Beauchamp does a piece on the cover art of the old Dell mystery books in “The Art of the Dell Mystery”, Nidlog has “Little Baby Gumba” going on a “Late Night Walk” that goes to drunken hell, Chris Ware explores a strange future in “Tales of Tomorrow”, Josh Alan Friedman spins a tale of a sad husband of a former 1960’s girl group singer trying to chase down the fame she lost via the nostalgia circuit with illustrations by Randee Ladden in “The Nostalgia Rapist”, and Boris Artzybaket’s factory based on his animal/human/mechanical hybrid art work is featured by Beauchamp in “Visual Thunder”. Starting in 1997 with this issue Fantagraphics took over publishing and kept the large format, they stopped publishing “Blab!” in 2007 with issue eighteen.
Issue ten is the volume that brought my interest of “Blab!” Back into my consciousness because I wanted to see Al Columbia’s whacky interpretation of the Book of Revelations. While the stand out is Al Columbia’s piece, the rest of the book is no slouch by a long stretch. Walter Minus brings back the retro with Agnes Muckensturm writing a day by day take down of men a woman ate in “Sunday is Not Necessarily the Best Day of the Week”, Banquet spins a tale of a twisted game show host in “The Bitter Happiness”, Greg Cwiklik brings the text and Randee Ladden the art in a story of pioneering black boxer Jack Johnson in “Black Jack, The Legend of Jack Johnson”, Peter Kuper does a strip on how porn corrupted him through the years in “Porn”, Al Columbia brings the high light of the volume, one collectors look for in “The Trumpets They Play” with his cartoonish take on the Book of Revelations with his recurring characters Seymour Sunshine and Knishkebibble the Monkey Boy, the combination of drawings and photo realistic background is eye popping, Peter Hoey does collage and retro artwork in “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden”, Spain does his 1950’s youth thing, this time him and his friends hop the fence to a carnival in “Carney”, Jeffrey Steele writes up on Jackie Wilson and Drew Friedman illustrates in “Mr. Excitement”, Doug Allen does a strip on the everyday existence of a junkyard owner in “Dumpy by Pant”, Pamela Butler drives Little Red Riding Hood hard into adult territory in “Little Red Riding Hood and Me”, Richard Sala does the weird crowd thing with a super sleuth tracking down a psycho in “Stranger Street”, urban every man wants to be a victim to get attention in another installment of “Tales from the Land of Plenty”, by Marc Trujillo, Mark Landman has Elvis as a fetus rockin’ n’ rollin’ and downing copious amounts of drugs in “Fetal Elvis”, Chris Ware spins a yarn about a man alone and his robot in “Rocket Sam”, Charise Mericle does a collage/drawing piece on how her parents immigrated to Canada in “Immigration”, Christian Northeast brings his retro style in “Convention”, Gary Panter paints grass in “Brooklyn”, David Goldin has Little Baby Gumba descending into hell by chasing a rat in “Wonderland”, Sof’ Boy mocks a rottweiler who wants to tear his head off without knowing it in “Sof’ Boy”, Hagelberg brings on the Four Repairman of the Apocalypse in “Baby Universes of the Apocalypse”, J. Bradley Johnson has Dr. Stefanopoulos giving out obvious and “rewarding” medical advice in “Severe Stomach Pains”, David Goldin opens up his sketchbook of drawings and collage, and Josh Alan Friedman writes an essay on working at “Regent Sound Studios”.
Issue eleven is really the first “Blab!” that caught my attention before I didn’t really get roped in until Mark Ryden’s bizarre cover. Blanquet starts his shadow puppet art style in “The Oak Sorrow” in a dark fantasy tale of the oaks who get revenge on the doll makers that use the wood of the oak trees to make their dolls, Matti Hagelberg has Walt Disney, Albert Speer and Practical Pig searching for happiness in “Alvar Aalto the Furious”, Drew Friedman does a one pager with “Come Fly with Me”, Greg Clarke has an anamorphic dog snob snobbing it up in “The Peculiar Milieu of Precival C. Wolcott”, Baseman shits on philosophy in “Enjoy or Suffer”, a twisted turn of events between a dame and a gentleman by Walter Minus in “Virginia Blondes Can Be Harmful to Your Health”, Lou Brooks illustrated and writes a story of killer mutant buttocks in “Attack of the Giant Buttocks People!”, Christian Northeast does a page by page retro art style story in “Easy’s Getting Harder Everyday”, Peter Kuper does a strip on living in Israel as a young kid, faking sick and getting a spinal tap in “Spine”, Stonehouse collages retro ads and pictures with retro drawings in “Can You Live in Happiness on Earth”, David Goldin introduces the sketchbooks of Waterman Moses that look suspiciously like Goldin’s own artwork in “Waterman Moses”, Peter and Maria Hoey do a piece on a truck driver who ascends a strange ladder to his destiny in “50 Times Brighter than the Brightest Star”, in “Good Boy!” Rob and Christian Clayton spin the tale of a boy who wants to borrow God’s dog, Beauchamp shows the postcard art of Krampus in “Gruss Vom Krampus!” Jethro Kamberoes painting pastiche is on display in “I Don’t Live Today”, Steven Guarraceia does shifting paintings in an art gallery in “In the Picture Gallery”, Laura Levine does paintings of UFO sightings throughout the years in “The Flying Saucer Review”, Baseman does abstract insanity in “Lucky Charms” and “More Lucky Charms”, Jeffery Steele does the words on the Salem Witch Trials and Teresa Mucha does the art in “The Old Haunts”, David Goldin has Little Baby Gumba drunkenly chasing a rat onto a ship and becoming a part of the ship’s crew as rat boy in “The Seven Seas”, Richard Sala has the story of a man who goes to claim an inheritance that isn’t his and all hell breaks loose in “The Story of the Inventor of the Paroximus Elixir”, Lloyd Dangle emails a manifesto that might change the world in “email@example.com”, Spain does the 1950’s thing in regards to his Catholic upbringing and questioning it in “Confessions”, Johnathan Rosen opens up his sketchbooks in “Obsessive Compulsive”, Dumpy fights dog punk drug addicts squatting in his junkyard in “Dumpy and the Punk Animals” by Doug Allen, and Pamela Butler turns the tale of three little pigs on its head on “The Three Little Pigs”.
In issue twelve Blanquet lets fly the “Curse of the Fortune Cookie” where a couple walks out of a Chinese restaurant with more than they bargained for, Charles Paul Freund writes and Peter Hoey draws a missing “Arabian Nights Tale” called “The Binary Dreams of Wahid Al-Sifr”, Walter Minus spins another tale of wicked women in his retro style in “Serial Lover (Seven Lives in Paradise)”, Friedman does another one of his caricatures in simply “One”, Douglas Fresser tells the tale of a car in pieces in “Jesus and Poote”, Greg Clarke captures the musings of various people, various professions and different walks of life in “Private Musings”, Peter Kuper does his own play on Winsor McKay’s “Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend”, Monte Beauchamp has more postcard art of everybody’s favorite evil Santa, Krampus in “Return of Krampus!” Julian Mandel mixes 1920’s nude photography with drawn backgrounds to illustrate a fantastical story in “Nus Fantastiques” translated by Kim Thompson, the Clayton Brothers literally paint a house full of insanity page by beautiful page in “Ding Don! Welcome to Tim’s House”, Christian Northeast does face portraits of a fictional 1970’s rock band, more adventures of “Fetal Elvis” this time he meets Nixon by Mark Landman, Baseman explores his weird and abstract world in “Suffer” and “Enjoy”, Johnathan Rosen makes a “New Zodiac for Sentient Machines”, Tim Biskup spins a story of a coin operated robot that goes awry in “Freddy Seymour”, Greg Clarke does a portrait of “Profligate Pork”, Mark Mothersbaugh, member of an awesome band, Devo, integrates strange photos and weird drawings in “Toilet Train”, a robot waxes poetic in “Theres Just One Thought I Get” by Hoey and Freund, wooden idols duke it out for the chance to be number one in “18 Wooden Statuettes” by Michael Barelos, Laura Levine tells the tale of two shut in hoarder brothers in “The Collyer Brothers”, David Goldin combines fire cracker labels with drawn limbs and heads to spin a fiery tale of how fire works started, strange items sold retro art style in “One Day Only Year Long Sale” by Lou Brooks, Death takes a man in a black humor poem illustrated in “Obituary” by Max Adeler, “The Great I Am” discusses the weird esoteric religious cult that was started in my hometown of Mt.Shasta, the “I Am’ers” I went to school with were regular kids, didn’t even seem to be cult like, article by Jim Heimann, Spain and his crew get into a mock battle on the streets of 1950’s Buffalo, New York that gets out of control in “Sons of Hercules”, Johnathan Rosen opens up his sketch books in “Son of Obsessive Compulsive”, Baseman’s at it again with “Enjoy or Suffer”, Doug Allen does a strip on a 1952 Hudson Hornet and its history of bumps and scraps in “Car Cancer”, Baby Gumba becomes a Bollywood star by killing rats in Calcutta in David Goldin’s “Fistful of Curry”, and Ghost of Finnish president Kekkonen appears to champion skiier Matti Nykaren to encourage him to complete the ski jump in “That Splendid Matti Nykanen”.
In issue thirteen Matti Hagelberg has Finnish president Kekkonen getting swallowed by a whale in “Kekkonen in the Belly of the Whale”, Walter Minus does the bad girl retro thing in “My Sweetheart”, Doug Fraser lets loose the dogs of war in “Job’s War”, Charles Paul Freund, Peter and Maria Hoey talk prison in “Song of the Panopticon”, Tim Biskup tells a woodland tale in abstract retro style with “The Helper”, Blanquet spins a tale of He’s and She’s in “Rancid Love”, the Clayton Brothers paint a tale of a boy who lied to the tooth fairy and got what he deserved in “Will All My Teeth Fall Out?”, Monte Beauchamp talks about how “Old Man Tooke” made art out of the old novelty “Johnson and Smith” catalogue pages which inspired him to do the same, Sue Cole delves into man’s inhumanity to animals on shipping barges in “Ghost Sheep”, Henrik Drescher mixes ribbon and drawn art in “The Mechanics of Nashville”, Johnathan Rosen further explores his world of weird mechanics in “The Seamy River”, Christian Northeast makes his strange retro portraits in “Beans and Bacon”, while Haley Johnson goes the same route in pink on “Dirty Girl”, Michael Bartalos tells the story of a brain swapped for the brain of a genius with disastrous results in “8-2-4”, “3 Number 1 and 2” Baseman takes you into his strange, abstract world of skeletons, devil balloon heads and nude women, Drew Friedman does a barbecue party with Robin Williams, Sammy Davis Jr. and Sigmund Freud, Peter Kuper tells the story of how him and his friends almost drowned in a ocean undertow in “Deep Blue”, Camille Rose Garcia has a bedtime story for grown up children with “A Spy in the House of Madness”, Daniel Goldin does his mix of real paraphernalia and drawing, this time with joker cards and the history of the joker card in “The Joker”, Marc Rosenthal goes 1920’s cartooning style in “Une Crise De Style”, Fred Stonehouse mixes his drawings, retro comic strips and bits of found notebook in “Ten Commandments”, Greg Clarke tells the tale of Pierre Chevalier an anamorphic cat and his weird life in Paris in “An Elegy on the Death of a Hirsute Poet”, Spain talks his 1950’s youth and the strange old man in the house full of newspapers in “The House on Wakefield Street”, Johnathan Rosen does more abstract, mechanical art in “Parasitic and Polymorphous Perversity”, a hippie buys a bass in 1968 to play in a band, gets rid of it and maps the road of the bass back to himself in “First Bass”, Juan Soto tells the twisted tale of Mrs. Payne who beat her husband to death at the behest of her “talking” dog and declared insane in “The Pacemaker”, and Blanquet goes deep into dark territory in “Obsessional Hints”.
In issue fourteen Tom Huck does “Vintage Junk ’04: Fair-y Tales from the Mississippi Expo” complete with dominatrices, boxers and native Americans in smiling, wide eyed insanity, “Meinhut” by Bob Starke shows through minimal, abstract art how artists are stiffed by businessmen, Greg Clarke documents the adventures of a white truffle named Herve in “The Forlorn Fungus”, Spain documents his 1950’s youth experience with porn in “The Birth of Porn”, in the “Second Slap”by Juan Soto and Marcelo Rodriguez they tell the tale of a woman whose abusive husband is scared straight by her psycho police captain father, Willem Rosenthal dives fish first into “Saltines”, Reumann and Robel draw the rabble (like myself) who reads “Blab World”, Camille Rose Garcia tells you to drown your troubles in “Pharmaceuticools”, David Sandlin spears suburbia in “Slumburbia”, the Clayton Brothers fuck with your motor skills in “Coping with my Motor Skills”, a black splotch causes havoc in “What’s Dat?!” By Marc Rosenthal, Monte Beauchamp shares early matchbook cover art in “Striking Images”, robots commit suicide in “I Built You First” by Peter and Maria Hoey, in a series of small fires Doug Allen spins the tale of a lawyer who insures his cigars against fire when he smokes them, he files a claim and wins the money but his plan goes “Up in Smoke”, Blanquet paints another one of his hellish landscapes in “Enfer De”, Baseman paints a watery world in “Wet Dream”, Johnathan Rosen talks and illustrates modern sun worship in “The Solution”, just a day in the life of humanoid birds in “Birdville” by Larry Day, in “Love and Peace”, Noah Woods drawing and collages it, David Goldin mixes found items and drawing in “Thirty Third and Third”, Mark Landman has “Fetal Elvis” come back and get drafted in the war against nasal cells by colonel Placenta, Walter Minus has his retro femme fatales in his noir poetry in “Locker Broadway Stash”, Peter Kuper talks about his time in the cave at the Red Sea where thinks he might’ve found the lost dead sea scrolls in “Dead Sea Stroll”, Sue Coe does her political poetry with illustration in “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, Fred Stonehouse has weepy figures on retro sign backgrounds in “Will He Can’t”, Laura Levine tells the story of the vaudeville “Piccolo Midgets”, and Matti Helberg documents the further exploits of former Iceland president Tamminiemi Kekkonen in “Hard Boiled Kekkonen”.
In issue fifteen Camille Rose Garcia illustrates her poem “Subterranean Creatures”, Matti Helberg brings back president Kekkonen from the dead, literally, in “The Shoes Say “Ukk”, Bob Staake illustrates various ridiculous lyrics from various songs in “They Got the Shapely Bodies. They Got the Steely Dan T shirts”, Nicolas Debon documents various fanatical sects of the desert in “The Holy Saints of the Desert”, Peter Kuper talks the American Dream in “Dream Machine”, Marc Rosenthal has two undercover cops in the city in “Convergence”, Monte Beauchamp documents the “Kilroy Was Here” art from back in the day during World War Two, Christian Northeast wants to know where the smell is coming from in “Mr. McGillicutty in Whats that Stink?”, in “Astrida” Walter Minus brings his femme fatales back into action, Baseman does the “Garden of Unearthly Delights”, David Sandlin does his abstract suburban couple thing in “I Dream of Joni”, Don Colley rolls it up in a carpet in “My Burdened Heart”, Owen Smith does a painting of a boxer forlorn and his dame in “Cornered”, Tom Huck does “The Race of the Wheelbarrow Brides”, Tim Biskup features art from his miniature books in “Tiny Bubbles”, David Goldin combines found junk and drawings, primarily a Yoohoo can in “Yoo-Hoo”, Blanquet does another hellscape in “Dream of the Great Lake”, the Clayton Brothers do “Home Take Them Out”, knuckles get bandaged in Doug Fraser’s “A Pugilist’s Alchemy or Pulp”, Gary Taxali plays around with his lunch in “Lunchbox”, Laura Levine tells the story of the world’s most famous headless chicken in “Miracle Mike the Headless Chicken”, man about to have a literal blast in “Hope Your Holy Daze are a Blast” by Don Colley, Peter and Maria Hoey draw and C.P. Freund writes an old school ode to “Tin Tin” in “Major Sands in Shadow of the Mirage”, Sue Coe and Judith Brody do the bird flu in “Fowl Plague”, Vinnie does a comic on why your a loser for reading comix in “Comix are for Losers!”, Teresa James illustrates and Jeffery Steele writes about the Black Dahlia in “The Unkindest Cut”, Grey Claude explores the career of a pissed off actor in “The Blithe Spirit of Tinseltown”, Reumann and Robel illustrate their insane and absurd cityscapes in “Four Horsemen”, Spain talks about his artistic evolution in “The Education of an Underground Cartoonist”, Geoffrey Grahn talks taxi dancers in “Dime a Dance Girls”, and Drew Friedman does real life like portraits in “Wonderful Land”.
In issue sixteen Andrea Dezso does a topsy turvy evil version of the Teletubbies in “Names in a Book in Random Order”, Geoffrey Grahn tells about how the world almost ended in the early 1960’s between Russia and the US in “The Man Who Saved the World”, a weird pet gets pawned off in “Destroy Accident City” by Paco Alcazar, the “Swamp Preacher” drinks deep of sin by David Sandlin, Sergio Ruzzier does a children’s bed time story for adults in “The Nice Devil”, in “Lost Liner Notes” Hoey and Freund shed a spot light on various unknown jazz musicians, Spain draws an attempted pick up in “Blab Cartoon #1”, the abstract gets crazy in “Humanimals” by Mats!? Ronnie and Pal talk “Jesus” by Christian Northeast, Esther Pearl Watson paints various houses and the purported “Legends, Rumours and Hearsay” about them, Greg Clarke wants you to wipe away your problems in “Blab Cartoon #2”, Bob Staake tells you how to “Live Like An Artist”, Mark Todd does a single page ass joke in “Blab Cartoon #3”, Henrik Drescher tells you “How to Dance”, Peter Kuper puts a explosion and everyday life side by side in “Explosion”, Walter Minus does his femme fatale thing in “Blab Cartoon #4”, Monte Beauchamp shares his collection of 1950’s and 1960’s “Impko Decals”, Gary Taxali does his retro sketches on found paper in “Notty”, Owen Smith does a retro “Dragon Lady” painting, Brain Cronin shows them legs in “Nadia”, David Sandlin does the “Angel of Redemption in a Web of Sinsation”, J. Bradly Johnson piles on the “Image Surplus”, Fred Stonehouse weeps over “Nino”, Lou Brooks does sweaty burlesque in “Take It Please-y on Me, Girl”, Laura Levine does “Veronica Lake”, Christian Northeast has “Doctor Wells” give a kid pills for a tummy ache brought on by ice cream, Baseman draws a one pager showing when love between a girl and her teddy bear goes way too far in “Blab Cartoon #5”, Rubel and Reumann got pink in “Four Pages”, Marc Rosenthal does his own ode to Tin Tin’s style in “Flotsam and Jetsam”, Christian Northeast does “Blab Cartoon #6” with stores of literal shit, “Fetal Elvis” looks for amphetamines in the pancreas, Sue Coe and Judith Brody “Run” with the hunters and the hunted, J. Bradley Johnson talks about loss of will power in “Pepin and Joe Go to Work”, the Clayton Brothers do a rare pen and paper story in “We Miss You”, Spain does a story on his jive talking friend James in 1950’s Buffalo New York in “Return of James”, and Drew Friedman proclaims “Live and Cookies”.
In issue seventeen Sergio Ruzzier shows the sadness “While You Sleep”, Matti Hagelberg puts a modern spin on Hansel and Gretel in “Ernst Starvo Blofeld” in Christmas in Shacktown”, Geoffrey Grahn shows the oldest trend mania in “Dutch Tulip”, Steven Guarnaccia does a miniature artist in “Max Vesta Matchbook Artist”, Peter and Maria Hoey talk jazz with Coleman Hawkins and Django Reinhardt in Paris in “Out of Nowhere”, Greg Clarke does the anamorphic animal thing via a French mouse in “The Pungent Gaul”, next up “Vintage Rolling Skating Labels” by Anonymous says it all, Sue Coe and Judith Brody do one on the hurricane and its effects on humans and animals, Walter Minus wants an ex in “Blab Cartoon #1”, eyes paint a “Stone Maze” by John Pound, wet sloppy kisses in Lou Brook’s “The Wetter the Better”, tropical bliss with monkeys in Amy Crehone’s “Monkey Love”, Calef Brown has different creatures in the act of “Migration”, crying monkeys in Fred Stonehouse’s “Little Bug”, “Sun Rays of Death” assault retro America by Ryan Heshka, Esther Pearl Watson explores the “Haunted Eleazer Plot”, Gary Baseman does his own version of the “Li’l Egg Hunt”, Mark Todd does “High-Ku Class of 89”, Lou Brooks twists your tongue in a knot and lets it grow in “My Garden of Tongue-Listing Twimericks”, Shag does the artist from the early 1960’s painting a nude in the stand alone “Blab Cartoon #2”, Monte Beauchamp does a “Tribute to Bazooka Joe”, Marc Rosenthal does enchanted forests and subdivisions in “Behold the Wave”, Brian Cronin says “I have Dyslexia But I Don’t Know Ti”, Peter Kuper has “Nine Lives” and he proves it in his comic strip, Mark Landman has Fetal Elvis do the “Fetal Sunday Funnies” satires on Sunday comic strips, Gary Taxali’s retro teddy bear character needs another poker player for his game in “The Poker”, Spain talks about his old job at a copper cable company in “High Smile Guy in a Low Smile Zone”, Paco Alcazar gets the shovel in the weird “Membrane”, and Drew Friedman does portraits of “Old Jewish Comedians”.
In issue eighteen Bob Staake does his own take on e mail scams in “Hugh Got Mail”, Paco Alcazar talks a hired assassin’s relationship with his mom in “Obedience”, how to draw comics the Blab way with “The Blab Academy of Visual Arts” by Randall Enos, Drew Friedman does “More Old Jewish Comedians”, Nora Krug tells the tale of a American defector to North Korea in “No Man’s Land the Life of Sargent Robert Jenkins”, here comes “The Ever Elusive Yeti” by Mark Todd, Sergio Ruzzier once again lampoons children’s books in “Two Birds”, Fred Stonehouse paints “The Widow’s Garden”, Esther Pearl Watson talks harmless apparitions in “Caspers”, Steven Guarnacia tells the story of the master builder of mini golf courses in “Moe Greene”, a beautiful wine taster talks the taste of her different suitors in “The Tasting Notes of Annapol Garda”, Richard Bears draws the “Shapes of Things”, John Pound has eyeballs working in “Brick Rooms”, Baseman plays in the “Devil’s Playground”, Tim Biskup draws a “Helper”, suited devil men populate Travis Louie’s “Krampus One”, Shag talks hand jobs in “Blab Cartoon”, Skip Williamson does a story on a hermaphrodite turned actor turned killer in “Daddy was a Lady”, Mark Zingarelli does one on a burlesque house club owner on “Chick’s Club Taboo”, Peter Kuper talks about bullies in “Bully for You”, Ryan Heshka does one of his strange painted retro sci fi stories in “Brides of Science”, Sue Coe and Kim Stallwood take down circus’ treatment of the elephant Topsy in “The Elephant Never Forgives”, Mark Landman’s “Fetal Elvis” gets high off paint thinner and steals porn from Colonel Placenta, Mark Frauenfelder gets juiced in Calef Brown’s “The Eldritch Commons”, “Peas” waxes poetic by Serge Bloch, Randall Eno’s teaches another Blab cartoon class with “Sound Effects in Comics”, Geoffrey Grahn does one on the poor houses of yesteryear in “A Visit to the Poorhouse”, and Gary Taxali does his retro thing with “Billu”.
“New and Used Blab” features the best of the previous “Blab” volumes, and while there is a lot of good material in this part of the book, if it were me I would’ve included Al Columbia’s “The Trumpets They Play”, the absence of that twisted genius piece is mind boggling, turn the book upside down you get new material with a introduction by Mark Mothersbaugh, David Goldin does his hybrid of found objects and hand drawn characters in “Horace”, Camille Rose Garcia does “Who’s Afraid of the Peppermint Man?” A grotesque story of how peppermint candy is made and shipped into town, Doug Allen does a strip on being stranded and rescued by a ghost ship in “Adrift”, Peter and Maria Hoey with Charles Paul Freund writing about how alien invaders use humor comic strips to conquer humanity in “The Paper Grin”, Marc Rosenthal goes to “France”, Douglas Fraser takes a shot at capitalism in “Pax Americana”, Monte Beauchamp features the cover art of old detective magazines in “Cover Couture”, Sue Coe goes after factory farming in “The Man with No Heart”, Blanquet does a shadow puppet nightmare theater where a girl’s teddy bear instructs her on how to get revenge on her bullies in “Sweet Teddy”, Johnathan Rosen does stream of conscious in “Hey Mister”, Teresa Mucha paints “Go There to Rest”, Haley Johnson does “Dirty Girl Body Language”, Walter Minus has a pixie femme fatale cause havoc in “Tarantula B.”, Spain talks the Cold War in “My Cold War”, Drew Friedman shows how you can have a successful career in “Show Business”, Richard Sala features a treasure hut for “Amber Eyes”, Fred Stonehouse has weepy characters in “General Martyrology”, Baseman does the devil balloon head thing that causes destruction in “Baseman”, Monte Beauchamp does “A Tribute to Jim Flora!!!” And his abstract jazz record covers, “Fetal Elvis” fights his evil twin by Mark Landman, and Peter Kuper talks fear of nuclear destruction in “Bombed”. Chronicles Books put this one out in 2003 after Fantagraphics gave up publishing “Blab!”.
“Blab World 1” came out years after in 2010 and was put out by Last Gasp it starts with the then departed Geoffrey Ghan’s artwork and study on “Slime Molds”, Kari Lane McCluskey’s strange Lolita like doll world is photographed in “Collodion”, Greg Clarke chronicles the trials and tribulations of “The Neurotic Art Collector”, Bill North features and writes an article on how the skull played a major role in cover art back in the day in “Skull!”, Nora Krug illustrates a story on “The Tumultuous Life of Isabelle Eberhardt”, Shag shows what happens when you screw around in “Eames Lounge”, different artists draw and paint their vision of the apocalypse, artists like Ron English, Mark Ryden, Ryan Heshka, Owen Smith, Jean-Pierre Roy, Andy Kehoe, Spain, Martin Wittfrooth, Femke Hiemstra, Natalia Fabia, Joe Sorren, Gary Baseman, Karen Barbour, Edel Rodriguez, Sue Coe, Mark Burckhardt, Calef Brown, Kris Kuksi, Tom Huck, Andrea Dezso, Yoko D’Holbachie, Alex Gross, Fred Stonehouse, Gary Taxali, Travis Lampe, John Pound, Michael Noland, Sofia Arnold, Larry Day, Teresa James and Kathleen Lolly. Sergio Ruzzier does his parody of children’s books in “The Life of an Artist”, Steven Heller does a write up on “Weirdo” I also did one on my blog ( get weird-OH! Here http://www.noisepuncher.net/2021/05/19/your-such-a-weirdo-underground-comix-magazine-1981-1993/), James Lowe writes on and shows propaganda caricature art of World War Two in “Ax the Axis”, Mark Landman has Fetal Elvis commanding his “Art Empire”, Juilia Moore writes and Steven Guarnaccia illustrates the “Lament on the Death of Willie”, Mark Todd does the tale of “The Dreaded Mothman of West Virginia”, CJ Pyle draws braided people with ballpoint in “Ballpoint Bravura”, and Peter Kuper does his interpretation of the “Four Horsemen”.
In “Blab World 2” Nora Krug does a strip on “Adolf’s Aberration” not that Adolf, the artist Adolf who drew and invented a colorful past for himself after being arrested for various, uh hmmm, indecencies, Greg Clarke does the trials and tribulations of Edward in “Dispatches from Oblivion”, Ryan Heshka does a profile on Frank R. Paul who illustrated covers for “Wonder Stories” and “Amazing Stories” in “A Passion for Paul”, Elvis Studio does an abstract pink world in “Hollow Inside”, Andrea Dezso does a strip on a woman who summons a demon lover called “Liderc”, Drew Friedman draws and writes a profile on “Will Elder”, different artists draw their visions of “The Hereafter”, artists like Ryan Heshka, Jon Macnair, Eric White, Femke Hiemstra, Erik Mark Sandberg, Larry Day, Brook Slane, Christopher Buzelli, Gary Taxali, Luciano Scherer, Cahtie Bleck, Craig Larotunda, Laurie Hogan, Marc Burckhardt, Martin Wittfooth, Travis Lampe, Robert Connett, Lou Beach, Kris Kuksi, Lou Brooks, Yoko D’Holbachie, Charles Glowbitz, Elvis Studio, Kevin Scalzo, Fiona Hewitt, Jean-Pierre Roy, Chet Zar, Rob Sato, Michael Noland, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Xinoqing Ding, Jana Brike, Baseman, and Owen Smith, Steven Heller does a write up on Zap Comix in “The Zap in my Life”, Sergio Ruzzier does his kid book satire thing with “Left Overs”, a bird character wakes up and finds he is dead, Doris Kitchen of Kitchen Sink publishing does a comic strip on a haunted house him and his family lived in “The Vexing Thing Upstairs”, Mark Todd does a strip on “The Great Sea Serpent of Brazil’s Parahiba River”, Bill North does a write up on Fred Stonehouse in “Fred Stonehouse! A Life in Between”, Peter Kuper talks about how he dreamed of his dead father in visitation. “Blab World” in particular stresses more of the painting and single page illustration than the previous issues of “Blab!” Nothing wrong there, it almost is an easier and accessible issue of “Hi Fructose” art magazine.
So in closing “Blab!” Is a series with interesting, eye popping, art work and comics, a cross between high brow and low brow. I absolutely fell in love with this series again, there will be times I’ll just crack an issue and drink in the sights like a heady brew, while not all of the stuff in “Blab!” Is my cup of tea, that is any comics anthology, not every story, strip or art is gonna be somebody’s cup of tea and that is OK, the point of “Blab!” Was to introduce people to art that they’d never seen or heard of. I sure do hope Last Gasp continues to put out “Blab World”, this world would be the richer for it. “Blab!” Away my friends.
Now if any of you want to buy these go on amazon or ebay, good luck getting a copy of the ever illusive issue 10.