White Noise on Paper: Damn “Commies From Mars”! (1973-1987)

The title of this underground comix series sounds like the title to a bad b movie from the 1950’s-1960’s at the height of the red scare and I think that is the purpose. This series pretty much satirizes the “Red Scare” and science fiction comics and movies in general, kind of like what the early 1960’s card series “Mars Attacks” did. This was published by Last Gasp, first issue came out in 1973.

It was edited by Tim Boxell who would, oddly enough, direct the serialized puppet biker, soap opera segments of “Winter Steele” for the awesome animation anthology show, “Liquid Television”, he was also a technical advisor on the Eddie Murphy’s oriental occult movie “Golden Child” among other jobs in Hollywood. The series, a lot like Last Gasp’s other series, would span years and publish sporadically, in “Commies From Mars” case, after its first issue there would be a six year hiatus before the next one.

Many authors and artists would come aboard, most from the underground comix world, people like Greg Irons, Peter Kuper, Spain, S. Clay Wilson and Kenneth Huey which gave the series variety and kept interesting. Different strips explored different themes, some were straight up satire, some action, eroticism (especially between humans and aliens), science fiction, propaganda, societal control and social mores while not taking itself seriously.

In those fourteen years six issues came out, I first stumbled across this series while reading old “Heavy Metal Magazines”, the ads in the back were from Last Gasp Publishing’s underground comix satire line up which featured “Cocaine Comix”, “Young Lust” and “Commies from Mars”, when I read that title I busted up laughing, it brought to mind those corny and cheesy 1950’s B monster movies I used to watch while stoned on a Saturday night on the local public access station. I forgot about the title until I started going through my “Heavy Metal Magazines”, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to dig into my wallet to buy the series issue by issue. Luckily, Last Gasp released all six issues in one beautiful book.

“Commies from Mars The Red Planet The Collected Works” will set you right. Jerry Garcia from a band I fucking hate, The Grateful Dead, does the foreword and Tim Boxell gives warning about the “Martian Extermination Legion” knocking on your door at 2AM. There was very scant info on this series and its publishing, nonetheless the mystery adds to the mystique of this series. This comes highly recommended from me, visual white noise every noise addict should search out and inject in their veins. THE MARTIANS ARE COMING! THE MARTIANS ARE CUUUUMMMMINGGGGG!!!!

To get invaded, do it fast because the spots on the saucer are being filled up:


White Noise on Paper: In “Young Lust” Comix (1970-1993)

Satire, if done right, can cut like a sharpened razor, but if done wrong all it will do is tickle you annoyingly. “Young Lust” does it right! Right in your pants! Cream!

“Young Lust” was started by co editors Jay Kinney, and Bill Griffith. Jay was a prolific underground cartoonist and promoter of the satirical religion “The Church of the Sub Genius”, he wrote an article on their convention that took place in Dallas for Robert Crumb’s “Weirdo” (you can find my review of the whole run here: underground comix anthology of the 1980’s-early 1990’s and he was also editor of “Gnosis” magazine. Bill Griffith, was also a prolific underground cartoonist and created the “Zippy the Pinhead” strip that was syndicated in mainstream newspapers. The comic was started in 1970 and published sporadically until the last issue in 1993. They came up with the idea of mocking the “Romance Comics” of the 1950’s-1960’s. In the foreword to “The Young Lust Reader” which contains the first three issues, Jay says that the plots of the “Romance Comics” were formulaic in most issues: “See, the basic romance plot involves a helpless, passive girl in love with some idiot, but then a suave man of the world comes along and wins her heart. But finally he proves to be the devil incarnate and in the end she goes back to the idiot, who’s safe and will make a good husband. In between there’s a lot of tears and some kissing but thats about the gist of it.” So Jay and Bill turned that on its head, 1960’s counter culture style and in Jay’s words “Turn that vapid chauvinistic drivel inside-out and upside down”. The first issue featured only Bill and Jay with a one pager by Art Spiegelman. At first the comic was rejected by future publishers of subsequent issues Last Gasp Comix, Print Mint and Rip Off Press, however, Bill and Jay got a deal with John Bagley’s “Company and Sons” after selling 10,000 copies other bigger, underground publishers took notice.

The second issue was picked up by Print Mint, Bill became the primary editor while Jay helped out and drew strips, they were joined by Justin Green of “Binky Brown” fame, Roger Brand, Landon Chesney and Jim Osborne, all underground cartoonists.

Issue three was put out by Last Gasp and it was in four color, however, the third issue in my reader is in black and white along with the previously mentioned cartoonists, Spain came aboard, and Ned Sontagg. The first three issues stick pretty much to the formula of mocking the old, corny Romance comics. That is the gist of it and while the first three are good I am not gonna go into detail too much on the first three, because the subsequent issues are more interesting.

There was no follow up collections or omnibuses of “Young Lust” which is a damn shame so I started buying the issues separate. “Young Lust” issue four is in four colors, this time Print Mint stepped in as publisher, however, with this issue it goes deep into a different territory while there is still satire this is when, in my opinion, “Young Lust” comes into its own, it dives ball deep into absurdity, insanity and hilarity and this is the first time I have seen a Spain comic in color with his “What It Was Really Like in the 1950’s: Raw Meat”, its weird because almost every Spain comic I have come across is in black and white because most underground comics are done that way, in “Raw Meat” Spain and his leather clad JD gang get to gang bang a chick and then have to run when the fuzz show up, You get a tale of “Young Lust” from 1960 featuring a young Jay in “5th Grade Confidential”, Justin Green leads you on the surrealist and insane escapades of Dog Boy with his phallic nose and his cheating Geisha girlfriend in “A Dog Boy and his Geisha”, Kim Deitch has an ex war vet choking simian neck after catching a spider monkey fucking his German wife in “Simian Sin”, Art Spiegelman contributes a comic that wouldn’t be out of place in his future high art comic compilation “RAW” in “Little Signs of Passion”, Bill Griffith and his wife Diane Nommin have both of their continuing characters Didi and Funston come together and than “apart” literally in “Claude n’ Didi”, Jay and Ned Sonntag go into the future with a character that looks oddly like “Ziggy Stardust” era David Bowie, where all men and women are homosexuals and rock stars,  Bill Griffith goes in for sloppy seconds with a peeping Tom astronomer who uses his telescope to watch people have sex in “Scenic News From the Griffith Observatory” and Robert Crumb gets into the action with yet another tale of sexual self loathing in “Red Hot Romances of Shlub Mugubb”.

With issue five, Last Gasp publishing took up the publishing task, the cover is a erotic satire of Maoist propaganda, that is the first comic by Jay Kinney who does a sexual take down of the Maoist revolution in “Red Guard”, Bill Griffith has his recurring character, Funston fuck while thinking of Twinkies in “Too Much Fun”, Paul Mavrides studies mutant sex habits in “Mutant Smut”, Spain dives back into the 1950’s with “fag bashing” in “Dessert”, Griffith “strips” with Dr. Marvin Lipschitz in “Dr. Marvin”, Jay Kinney and Sonntag double team into a future where there is commies running the country on the west coast and the Devil himself running the east coast in “Menthol Sirens”, Jay “cums” back and with a chihuahua in a tea cup in “Tea Cup” and Guy Colwell has dope heads of all races and genders sucking and fucking each other in “They Can’t See Us Here”.

Issue six is magazine sized and is titled “The Taboo Issue” and in this one you get the regulars and more “new cummers” which make the issue varied and interesting. Bill Griffith goes wild with his recurring character Funston fucking everything in sight including the sheep he is counting to fall asleep in “Plug Un-plug”, Spain goes “Robert Crumb” and annihilates himself for the rat he is towards women in “My True Story”, Micheal McMillian goes into outer space with a geek-giant alien sex romp in “Harold Wiseguy in Abduction Deduction”, Phoebe Gloeckner has Mary the Minor run off to do drugs and turn tricks while her single mother searches her out in “Mary the Minor”, Gary Panter adapts a novel by Tom DeHaven about a nightmare post apocalyptic world where people get off on watching A Bomb blasted mutant survivors have sex with weird masks, “Cafe Flesh” style, in “Freaks Amour”, Diane Noomin has her recurring character the mature Didi screw the delivery boy in “Stupid Cupid with Didi Glitz”, Melinda Gebbie has a three way with the three sisters who don’t need boys in the “Three Swans”, Kim Deitch has his female protagonist go to her psychiatrist about her underwater sex fantasies about the politicians Ted Kennedy and John Anderson in “Mind Games”, Paul Mavrides and Jay Kinney, two Sub Genius cult members, put their pipe smoking messiah J.R. “Bob” Dobbs smack in the middle of international and intergalactic intrigue in “Underneath the Covers”, and Robert Shwartz gets artsy fartsy with his meditation on opera and sex on the back page.  Most of these artists are the cream of the crop of the underground, most from the San Francisco scene, most of them worked for different publications and magazines, most of the people that worked in “Young Lust” also worked on Robert Crumb’s “Weirdo”.



Issue seven goes back to a regular sized comic book and while the first six were released between 1970 to 1980, issue seven appears ten years later in 1990, it kind of reminds me of the last issue of “Weirdo” that just appeared in the early 1990’s when the Crumb family had moved to France. I figure Ron Turner, publisher and owner of “Last Gasp” wanted to bank on the surge of independent comics and zines that were really starting to proliferate in the 1990’s, Jay Kinney and Paul Mavrides collaborate yet again to document a love story with North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung (deceased father of the current Kim) and 1950’s fetish pin up model Betty Page who whips Kim into shape and takes over as dominatrix queen of North Korea in “Guilt Edged Bonds”, Daniel Clowes illustrates the down and dirty folk song “Frankie and Johnnie”, Bill Griffith brings his recurring character Funston back trying to rekindle an old flame who is now married to a skinflint televangelist in “Hot Tears for Tamara”, a Clare Biggs reprint from 1926 (and I am really surprised this comic strip got published back then, a husband trying to hide his dirty book from his wife. Things never change HA! HA! HA!) in “That Guiltiest Feeling”, Micheal McMillian has two couples get kinky in the high desert with “High Desert Ecotage”, Diane Noomin has Didi put out an ad for “love” in “I Had to Advertise for Love”, Spain and Jay Kinney have a pervert who thinks he is in ancient times visiting a temple prostitute but instead finds himself getting kicked out of a strip club in “Slave of Ishtar” Susie Bright gets nasty in her love column, “Ask Susie Hexpert”, Phoebe Gloeckner illustrates the sexual generation gap in former communist Eastern Europe with “An Evening in Prague”, Harry S. Robins gets shit on by hot women and philosophizes about it in “Grace”, Justin Green returns with his phallic nosed Dog-Boy who fetishizes food in “Eat and Tell”, Lee Binswanger gets awkward when the younger sister has to entertain the date of her bigger sister while the bigger sister gets ready in “Entertainment Tonight”, Spain tears in to misogyny in “The Sexist: He Lived By Lust Alone” and Jennifer Camper has lesbian revenge on a male lover in “A Teen Guide to Dating”. 

The final issue, issue eight, is magazine sized and came out three years later in 1993, by that time “Young Lust” shot its final load and collapsed exhausted with a well deserved post coital cigarette. Jay Kinney and Ned Sonntag get dick deep into piercing fetish and Hindu mythology in “Pierce the Veil”, Bill Griffith has his famous, syndicated character “Zippy the Pinhead”, himself and his recurring character Funston getting X Rated in a weird orgy in “Fleshed Out”, Charles Burns does one on the multiple personalities of the boyfriend of a girl who doesn’t recognize him from day to day in “Love Diary”, Justin Green has Dog-Boy run out on his imperfect wife to Reno to screw a prostitute in “Reno Romp”, T. Laban has a professor researching S and M, tattoo, and extreme piercing in “Modern Primitive”, Diane Noomin has Didi screwing a lounge lizard on a miniature golf course on “Lava My Life”, Spain has Big Bitch fuck up some terrorists naked in “Big Bitch”, Harry S. Robins waxes philosophical again about being constantly rejected in “Road of Knives”, Robert Triptow has 1940’s tale of noir, sex and murder in “Dick Hymen in Hard Boiled Romance”, Angela Bocage has a modern day Siren fucking both men and women in “Siren”, Jay Kinney talks about a Muse he has had throughout his life in “My Muse Left Me and All I Got Was This Stupid Comic Strip!”, Carol Lay turns an old fraternity tradition into a drunken sex orgy in “Panty Raid”, John Bailiff jerks off with out consequences in “My Big Day”, and Sub Genius Devivalist Reverend Nenslo says sex is dumb in his ad “Sex is Dumb” and Lloyd Dangle dumps heavy satire on the old 1-900 sex number ads in “Tele-Scorn”.



Through out the series there is fake ads, satire on the ads that were in these magazines normally romance and hygiene related things. Of course “Young Lust” fucks this in the ass really hard and cums in it’s face.

If the first three issues were to be republished today with this new generation of kids they wouldn’t get what “Young Lust” was making fun of. However, “Young Lust” became its own, twisted sexual mutant on issue four, sure it was still satire but very surrealist in its satires of sexual mores and the culture of relationships. “Young Lust” is an example of why I like underground comics, they aren’t afraid to go into unknown, twisted and strange territory. The first issue came out as the hippie flower boomer thing was starting to wither on the vine and the bloom fell off dead on issue 6 in 1980, however, the seeds of that planet bloomed into a stranger and more mutant plant than its dead parent with issues seven and eight in the early 1990’s, while a lot of zines and underground comics of that 1990’s period tipped their ironic hats to their forebears, they also mercilessly roasted them and sometimes the smelly, ex hippie boomers deserved every flame they got. “Young Lust” could probably survive, surrealist humor about sex and relationships is taken as a given everywhere you look now in every form of media. “Young Lust” will make you cum your pants before you have a chance to stick it in.

So if you want to jerk off instead of getting a real woman go here, all the tissues, uh, I mean issues are up here:

If you want a real woman there is issues, as well as the first three issues in “The Young Lust Reader” for cheap on amazon. Just do a search and you’ll be popping your load in no time!


Visual White Noise Theater: Whats “Under the Silver Lake” (2018)?

“Under the Silver Lake” is like one of those Russian nesting dolls, you pull off one shell of a doll and there is another smaller doll underneath but this movie isn’t like your typical nesting doll, you don’t come down to one small doll within larger ones, you can keep pulling shells off and seem to never come to the end. This pisses a lot of people off, it doesn’t piss me off and I love movies like this that have me thinking days after I watched it, especially if its a newer film. Directed by David Robert Mitchell, who directed the awesome, multi layered symbolic horror film “It Follows” this was Mitchell’s fray into “Neo Noir”, a genre post 1960’s that lifts the main themes of “Noir” and transplants them into the current time period. More modern examples are most of the films of David Lynch, “Drive”, “Brick”, “Big Lebowski” etc. that mix various genres in with “Noir” genres like comedy, sci fi (think “Blade Runner), the supernatural and occult etc. Mitchell takes the “Neo Noir” genre and turns it on its head snapping its neck in the process.

Put out by A24 who has actually been putting out good newer movies, “Under the Silver Lake” on the surface is your typical “noir” plot. Loser and down on his luck Sam, played by Andrew Garfield, is about to get evicted from his apartment. He seems to have no job and is a creepy voyeur type who spies on his female neighbors, one of which is an old hippie chick who feeds her numerous birds on the balcony topless, he also has sex with an older and aspiring actress who drops by his apartment once in a while, as their having sex on the news they see that Jefferson Sevence, a billionaire stunt man/mogul has disappeared without a trace. However, he falls for a girl in a bikini who was a small white dog as a pet who is his neighbor, which is funny because there is a dog killer loose in the Silver Lake area who is killing pooches. He hooks up with Sarah, played by Lisa Marie’s daughter and Elvis Presley’s grand daughter, Riley Keough. They go in her apartment to watch a Marilyn Monroe movie called “How to Catch a Millionaire” and she has three dolls on her dresser of actresses in the movie, name labels beneath the dolls and beneath the names strange code. Soon other people come into the apartment before he can get it on with her and she tells him he has to leave but he should come back the next day. He does and finds the apartment empty, he breaks in the window and hears somebody coming, a girl dressed like a prostitute comes and gets a shoe box full of Sarah’s stuff with dolls and other pictures in it. He asks his pissed off landlord where she is and the landlord brushes him and tells him he has to pay rent or he is gonna get evicted. So Sam goes to find out what happened to her and where she is at.

That is the surface story, sounds like a start to a neo noir film and I am not giving anymore away but suffice to say from there it gets more crazy and insane. Then you start to wonder whats paranoia/fantasy or reality. This movie reminds me a lot of Lynch’s “Southern California Trilogy” of movies which are “Lost Highway”, “Muholland Drive” and “Inland Empire”. Its a mix of Lynch, Hitchcock and Chandler, even the in between, incidental music is something Bernard Hermann would’ve put in one of Hitchcock’s films which was done by the ultra talented “Disasterpiece” who did a synth soundtrack for Mitchell’s first movie, “It Follows”. Sam is obsessed with retro pop culture, in his apartment he has got posters for noir and old monster movies all over his walls, a VHS tape player, a Nintendo, Nintendo Power magazines, even the magazines he beats off to are old copies of Sears Catalogs, Playboys and Hustlers. As his search for Sarah intensifies so does his paranoia that all of pop culture and what we listen to, beat off to, watch, eat etc. is orchestrated by small group of men who hide in the dark.

Some of the characters in the movie don’t even have names, which I think is done on purpose, the aspiring actress girl whom is a “friend with benefits” type is listed in the credits as “Actress” who is played by Riki Lindhome, then there is the paranoid “Comic Fan” played by character actor Patrick Fischler who has been in two David Lynch projects, the aforementioned “Muholland Drive” and “Twin Peaks the Return” TV series, the Comic Fan puts out a zine drawn in Daniel Clowes fashion about the history and urban legends behind Silver Lake which was where the movie industry started, chief among them being the Dog Killer of the 1920’s who might be inspiring the killer of the modern day and the Owl’s Kiss woman who has sex with prominent men and murders them, all these sequences are done in animated, 2D.

“Comic Fan” also believes all the answers can be found on a map he finds in the back of cereal box, he also has plaster masks of Johnny Depp, Grace Kelly etc. all over his walls when Sam goes to ask him questions about the zine he created and Sarah, he says it all leads back to what is on that cereal box and if he isn’t careful the Owl’s Kiss will kill him. At first Sam thinks he is crazy but then realizes that ever since he was a kid he was trying to find patterns in everything. The Comic Fan gives him a guide on how to spot hobo symbols, one of the symbols, two diamonds joined together, look like the same symbols from the “Twin Peaks” original TV series, in the movie they mean to “remain silent”.

In “Under the Silver Lake” there is a lot of symbols, a lot of patterns and a lot of interpretations of what those symbols mean. It also examines pop culture and paranoia burn out in our technological age. It also skewers modern Hollywood and the media, almost every actress in this movie is a part time prostitute, and I don’t think there is any misogyny in that presentation, its actually a comment on how power hungry producers see females in the industry. Its a critique but the movie goes a lot deeper. There is a multitude of theories about this movie, that Sam as actually a schizoid, kleptomaniac who is imagining most, if not, all the movie in his head, there is scenes in the movie that are picture perfect renditions of the cover of an old 1960’s Playboy he jerks off at, a Marilyn Monoe film and other homages to retro pop culture or that he is actually dead and in limbo in a type of purgatory etc. There is numerous videos on the different theories and symbols in this movie. In fact the film’s cryptography advisor was a computer scientist named Kevin Knight who helped create a computer program to break the Copiale Cipher, so the symbols and numbers in this movie aren’t meaningless.

“Under the Silver Lake” premiered at the 2018 Cannes Festival. A24 were pretty shitty with this movie, they kept pushing it back and back on the release date and barely promoted it. That wasn’t fair to this movie, of course it has developed a cult following but it should be more widely known as a good addition to the “Neo Noir” cannon of movies. High recommendation from me, not a lot of modern movies stroke my sensibilities, especially lame stream movies. So go ahead jump into “Under the Silver Lake”.

So it is streaming on some platforms, if you have prime on Amazon or other subscriptions you should be able to watch it no problem. I say pay these people.

But if you don’t want to support art, you cheap fucking bastards, find a pirate ship if you know what I mean.