White Noise on Paper: Its freakin’ “Epic Illustrated”!!!

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.

Frank Frazetta cover for issue one. While it is good, it is too “historical fiction” looking for my tastes, compared to the later covers.

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),

From issue 8, Arthur Suydam’s “Cholly and Flytrap” characters in the story “A Little Love A Little Hate”

  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,

Panels from “Weirdworld: Dragonmaster of Klarn” in issue 12.

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”.

Tim Caldwell’s “The Egg” from issue 7, a mixed media comic strip, a combo of photography and illustration.

To have an “Epic” experience go here:

To get physically “Epic” you can find copies of all issues still available on ebay, amazon, etc. Some varying in price depending on condition and availability.

Now get “Epic”!!!!


Visual White Noise on Paper: “Mome” is the word.

To be completely honest I bought these issues of “Mome” because Al Columbia had work in them, and for no other reason, that being said the comics and art in the rest of these issues is pretty damn good. “Mome” was edited by Gary Groth and featured cartoonists that were new to the game, with a few old school hands on deck. “Mome’s” content is varied but the same themes seem to repeat themselves in each issue, mainly dealing in philosophy, dreams, imagination and some autobiographical stuff thrown in. Gary interviews a different artist in each issue. I have five of them, all featuring some of Al Columbia’s work but I will go through them one by one and give some highlights not a run down of every story in each issue.

“Mome” issue 7, Spring 2007 is the first issue featuring the illusive Al Columbia’s work, its a series a of pieces titled “Chopped Up People” what you get is Al’s twisted sense of humor bleeding off the pages. You get Pluto, Mickey Mouse’s dog, chopped to hell smiling his head off, a portion of a comic strip featuring Al’s recurring characters Pim and Francine, a blue smiling man cut into pieces etc. you get the drift, in Al’s nightmare Fleischertoon world anything is possible even smiling cartoon corpses. Eleanor Davis’ “Seven Sacks” is another highlight, a ferryman takes seven different weird creatures across the river  with each getting bigger and bigger, each with a sack going to a gathering, at the end the ferryman sees a foreboding column of smoke in the distance and pushes off hurriedly to the other side. Sophie Crumb (daughter of (in)famous underground comix couple Robert and Aline Crumb) does “Lucid Nightmare Pt. 2” about a trio of kids that do “Z-9” which transports a person to the “Land of Sweet Dreams” but also has them waking up and not knowing where the hell they are with a really bad hang over, and thinking they might be kidnapped by predators. “Nothing Eve Part 3” about a group of guys in a bar who are deciding on what they want to do before the end of the world by Kurt Wolfgang. In “Al Loose Ends Part 2” Lewis Trondheim does the autobio thing which I normally hate but in this one he tries to find out from his fellow cartoonists (mostly French and Dutch) if the cartooning profession causes the cartoonist to age badly or cause more depression than other professions. “Hollow Leg” is a dream bout a girl having a hollow leg that talks to her by Anders Nilsen. And another dream (or nightmare) comic comes our way via David Heatley at a house party where September 11th, 2001 gets replayed in a absurd way.

“Mome” issue 8, summer 2007 has Al Columbia’s “Fucking Felix” and with this one we’re back in Columbia’s “Fleischertoon from hell” world. It is literally that, Felix the cat getting fucked in nine, single black and white pages, Felix awaits his lover, a bald man in a suit who gets some “pussy” and “makes” in Felix’s mouth, Felix spits out tadpoles. Again Al’s twisted, sick humor oozes through. Eleanor  Davis has a bard meet and enchant a woman of the wild in “Stick and String”, or is she the one doing the enchanting? Sophie Crumb does “Lucid Nightmare Part 3” where the kids wake up from the “Z-9” trip to be chased by a maniac and they have no idea where they are at. Tom Kaczynski has a character named “Cayce” who has a dream, he wakes up in the future in 10,000 years, and he watches a TV show with Karl Marx leading a zombie revolution on Mars. In “Young Americans” Emile Bravo does a comic strip taking place in the 1950’s and the strip proceeds innocently like a comic strip from that period with a intellectual father trying to relate to his jock/sports addict son but then the strips repeats the same panels and makes the dialogue more profane which gives you pause for thought. “Hide and Watch” by Joe Kimball is a surrealist comic where the sun gets attacked by light bulbs and various other, unexplained things happen. And Trondheim does “At Loose Ends Part 3” in which he further explores if cartoonists age worse than any other profession.

In “Mome” Fall 2007, Al Columbia actually follows through on a Pim and Francine strip! Normally, Pim and Francine are only featured in partial strips, one page art or scraps. In this one Pim and Francine get eaten by a bald headed butcher who bakes them into his pies. “Shhh!” Tim Hensley goes 1960’s art style with a tale of a guy trying to woo a girl with a band contract in a library. Jim Woodring does his weird, anamorphic squirrel character, Frank, in his weird, abstract, Buddhist/Hindu world in “The Lute String Pt. 1”. Joe Kimball tells the tale of vampire love in “The Lifer”. Then there is pages of Mike Scheer’s ballpoint pen drawings that are jaw dropping with an intro by Eric Reynolds. Tom Kaczynski has a new condo slowly drive people insane in the surrounding community in “976 Sq Ft.” Sophie Crumb does “Lucid Nightmare pt. 4” which is the final part were the addicts escape from their captors to join up with a bunch of hippies.

“Mome” issue 11, Summer 2008, Al Columbia goes off the “1930’s cartoon from hell” thing and paints a scene of a sad, lonely, empty and deteriorating house, the panels show and emote the loneliness of the house, near the end you see a older woman with a rope around her neck but the question is was it a suicide or foul play? In the comic “5:45 AM”. A woman sees every man looking pig like but when she comes across a man she likes she sees him looking like a male version of herself, but his penis has the head of the piggish man in “Einmall Ist Keinmal” by Killoffer. Eleanor Davis does “Its Dot and Louisa in the 10.000 Rescues” each panel features the aforementioned characters in different weird rescue situations. “In Million Year Boom” a man goes to help develop public relations for a  brand new “green community” that is a lot more than it seems and more horrific.

In “Mome” Vol. 12 2008,Al Columbia does the single art pages with “Invasion”, all the pages show is what looks like an empty, suburban street with empty houses and front lawns except for the blue cats, the title “Invasion” makes me think these cats aren’t of this world and maybe why no people are about. This is why Al is one of my favorite artists, some pieces leave more questions than answers. Sophie Crumb does portraits of an old west female outlaw named “Agnes Freeman”. Oliver Schrawuwen does a pretty fucking funny comic called “Hair Types” where a buffoon in an art class, when seeing an illustration of different types of hair made by a fellow bearded art student sees that his hairstyle is listed as “docile hair”, the bearded student says that he has “crazy hair” he is roasted by all the students with hilarious results. “Train” by Dash Shaw has a woman, who is a children’s therapist, go on jog after a therapy session and witnesses a train wreck where the survivors stampede towards her in fear and she doesn’t know what to do. Jon Vermilyea does a violent rip on children’s breakfast food ads in the “The Breakfast Crew”. David B. tells a tale of a man whose skin is made into a drum and whose spirit leads his men into battle through the beating of the drum, but love gets in the way in “The Drum Who Fell in Love”. Sophie Crumb does a “Tijuana Bible” take, old school style, in “Loopy Liza in “Tsk Tsk”.

So while I bought the issues for Columbia’s work the rest of these issues surprised me and were just as interesting and good. Maybe down the line I might try to buy the whole run of “Mome”. I didn’t list the issues with Al Columbia covers because I am more interested in his comic strips and art, less so about his covers. The interviews are pretty interesting in these issues, and “Mome” sure is the word, get it out and get into it.

To get into it you can read every “Mome” in digital form right here:

To get physical copies which I recommend there is still cheap copies on Abesbooks, Amazon etc. out there so snap them up while you still can.


White Noise on Paper: Lets go to the “Biologic Show” by Al Columbia

Al is one twisted motherfucker and from one twisted motherfucker to another he made me a fan. The “Biologic Show” is when he started to develop his style that he is famous for, the “Fleischertoons from Hell” art style, in “Biologic Show”, the art style is more drippy, sharp and edgy goth, not that there is anything wrong with that, his demented and twisted sense of humor is intact. The “Biologic Show” issues 0 and 1 are very rare and hard to find, they were collected with other odds and ends and put in a book by Hollow Press with a dembossed cover in Italy and now that is sold out. That is the book I read and I am reviewing

The first issue of “Biologic Show” was published by Fantagraphics in 1994, this was issue 0, why Al just didn’t call it issue 1 I can’t figure out. “Biologic Show” issue 0 features “No Tomorrow If I Must Return” featuring his recurring clown character, Seymour Sushine, this time embedded in what looks like the mouth of his hinged mouth character, Alfred the Great, featured in “Zero Zero”(get zeroed zeroed out here:, the next one up is self titled and its about a man who finds his girlfriend murdered so he commits suicide to find her in the afterlife, the problem is this afterlife is Hell and his girlfriend will have nothing to do with him, “Grinding Larry” is about Larry who gets in a car wreck and loses his brain and now he has to find it, “Over” is a nasty poem set to some horrific comic strip art, “Extinction” features a couple’s escalating fight on a park bench and a man nearby who fights his mutant dog, nothing goes right as you imagine, “Lowborn Peacock” has another one of Al’s weird poems being performed in Hell, “Lil” Saint Anthony” is a tale of a man in a semi catatonic state eating his own shit on the ground and a boy wanting to buy bullets for his gun to put the man out of his misery, “Bruja” is another nonsensical strip and poem, recurring characters Pim and Francine make their first appearance in “Tar Frogs” they look different, more goth like as opposed to the 1930′ Fleischer Brother’s style characters they’d become, Pim eats some tar shaped like frogs off of their pervert neighbor Mr. Crowley’s front porch and becomes horny, he rapes Francine who might be his sister while Mr. Crowley (I have Ozzy’s voice echoing in my head) leers and watches behind a curtain, Pim impregnates Francine and she gives birth very fast to a beaked monstrosity, Pim tries to kill it but realizes he’s been really stabbing his sister.

“Biologic Show” issue 1 is really issue 2 called “Peloria Part One” and features Pim and Francine only in their nightmare world being chased by Siamese twin girls who are trying to kill them, Francine runs away and Pim gets cornered, Francine grabs a ride in a car with a creepy old man who attempts to hit on her and she wants to be let off at the fountain in town where she meets another recurring character of Al’s, Knishkebibble the Monkey Boy and his vacant eyed goth girlfriend and asks Monkey Boy if he’s seen Pim, Monkey Boy says “no” while feeling up his girlfriend and Francine gets back in the car with the creepy guy, Pim in a daze emerges and asks Monkey Boy if he has seen Francine, he lies and says he hasn’t, Pim passes out and Monkey Boy tries to revive him, soon Francine in the car with the weird guy thinks she sees Monkey Boy and Pim sitting at the fountain, she decides not to get out of the car and drives away with the stranger. The story is supposed to continue in the next issue.

Al claimed he was gonna do “Biologic Show” issue 2 which was actually gonna be 3, the story “I Was Killing When Killing Wasn’t Cool”, was supposed to be appear in that issue but Al realized his style of drawing had changed and he’d changed it into the “Fleischer Brothers from Hell” style he is known for and didn’t think it would fit “Biologic Show”, the story ended up being put in “Zero Zero” which I reviewed (link above). Al got the title for his comic from William S. Burrough’s book “Exterminator”. After Al didn’t want to do “Biologic Show” anymore (Surprise! Surprise!) Fantagraphics said they were gonna expand “Peloria” into a graphic novel, but of course a lot of Al’s plans, it didn’t happen.

This book also features Seymour Sunshine “Debris”, bits and pieces of his recurring character in “Slow Machine”, “Casigian”, “The Hellbound Bellydancer”, and “Ersatz (A family name)” featuring two characters that look suspiciously like Pim and Francine, the book republishes the mini comic “23  Skidoo” the story “Orifi to Boreal” about a man who goes to a wishing well wishing for pussy and throws his coin down the well he gets more than he bargains for, in the next untitled story a man gets in a car crash and skids yards and features a poem about the man internally bleeding to death and the last piece is “Johnny 23” a piece published in the comix mag “Taboo” in 1992, a guy tries to suppress his murdering impulses by imagining he is a crooner while having his ex girlfriend tied up in his bathroom.

So there you have it, “Biologic Show” is nihilistic, bloody, violent and to be honest a bit juvenile, the thing is meant to convey pure black mortician humor. You can see the progress of Al’s style, from the drippy, jagged edged style to a more 1930’s cartoon from hell style. While the art style has changed, the humor and messed story lines have not. “Biologic Show” is not for the feint of heart, I do like his later art style better, it is more original and his own. A lot of people back in the day were doing the whole “goth jagged edges with drips” thing. I do wish Al was more prolific, people say he is a perfectionist, problem is there is very thin line between perfectionist and procrastinator. Finding the original issues and the compilation book from Hollow Press at a reasonable price is gonna be impossible, I know I looked. I have my copy and got it right before it went out of print. Good luck if your trying to find it.

If you want to find physical copies go look on ebay, but I got to warn you your wallet is going to be screaming to be put out of its misery.

To read the original “Biologic Show” issues digitally you can go here:

And here:


White Noise on Paper: Look in the “Mirror Mirror 2” on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?

Comics anthologies are my thing, especially ones that are non traditional and feature various forms and styles of art, “Mirror Mirror 2” is one of those compilations, this is meant to be a “horror” compilation edited by Sean T. Collins and Julia Gfrorer. In the foreword Gretchen Alice Felker-Martin says “Great horror is the pursuit of meaning through defilement, a conscious and inquisitive violation of the mind, body, the beloved, the home; the concentric circles of security that comprise our lives. Great porn proceeds from a similar root, grappling with that which delights and with that which abases in the context of their inextricably. There is no division between the shame that ignites desire and the desire itself, just as there is no division between love and fear of death.”

Thus starts this anthology, all of it, unlike the other “Mirror Mirror” anthologies are in black and white. Again as with other compilations some pieces don’t evoke anything near horror, in fact, some pieces made me chuckle at the “try too hard” story lines, but there is pieces in here that are also bone chilling, overall its a beautiful book. 6″x 9″, flexibound in black Pantone offset with black gilded edges. The highlights are the castrating lesbian love affair in “Love” by Laura Lannes, Clive Barker (yes that one) summons his inner Stephen Gammell on his one pager “Dark Moon”, Lala Albert explores dark fairy eroticism in “Vespertine Odor”, Nicole Claveloux goes old school medieval with her silver and black paintings of erotic dark fantasies, Mou descends into the darkness of depraved self pleasure in “Empty Handed”, Uno Moralez uses 8 bit video game graphic art to show what happens when man’s idealized fantasy of women go awry in “Vitalya (I’m Fucking Tired of You)”.

Dame Darcey does the Gothic haunted castle thing brilliantly in “Meat Cake: Fire”, Johnny Negron does a cryptic and horrific poem form justice in “Perfect Beast I: Baton Sinister”, Trungles puts his own erotic spin on the old Beauty and the Beast story, reptilian style in “Shifts”, Al Columbia brings out his recurring characters Pim and Francine and strings them along in his 1930’s surrealistic horror cartoon world in a bunch of one pagers, Meaghan Garvey flirts with death in “Everytime”, Apolo Cacho runs through a weird beast like world in “Coatlicue”, and Josh Simmons does a day out with a son and mother who want to visit a cave and end up getting more than they bargained for in “The Cave”.

Over all its a solid comp with a different take and spin on what horror means, some of the pieces art wise and story wise don’t work and only elicit a shrug from me, the ones I listed above are gold. If your into unusual, underground comix you should dig into “Mirror Mirror 2”.

So where do you look in the “Mirror Mirror 2”? Go here, the company 2d cloud publishes this book, support them, when it looked like my copy was missing in the mail the owner of the company offered to send me another copy, free of charge, no questions asked, luckily it finally came:


White Noise on Paper: Chow down on some “Kramers Ergot” 5-10

Ergot is a fungus that infects rye and other related plants, it is also closely related to the chemical composition of LSD and was prevalent during the middle ages, some speculate widespread Ergot poison helped contribute to the witch hunting hysteria of the time. Its apt that a comic compilation like this one has “Ergot” in its title, I think the editor, Sammy Harkham, made that title for his compilation of art and underground comics on purpose, who “Kramer” is besides the guy in “Seinfeld” I can’t figure out. “Kramers Ergot” is worth every wallet emptying penny, once these go out of print the price of used physical copies shoots into the stratosphere and I hate to say it digital masturbators, “Kramers Ergot” is meant to be enjoyed holding the actual thing and reading it, the experience isn’t the same as reading it on “Comixology”. “Kramers Ergot” was started by Sammy Harkham as a zine in 2000 under his own Avodah Books, issues 4 and 5 were published by Gingko Press, the issues 1-4 are very rare and way way WAY out of my price range, there is some prices I am not willing to pay, I have 5 to 10, out of those 5 is the weakest of the bunch but its still got good material, stand outs in 5 are M.L.E. (Mutant life Expectancy) by the great Matt Brinkman with Neil Burke coloring, the always talented Chris Ware with “My Life”, the always cryptic Helge Reumann and Xavier Robel’s alternate reality, dialogue free comics, Gabrielle Bell’s comic panels look like paintings, Kevin Huizeuga’s foray into theology with “Jeepers Jacobs”, Jorand Crane’s western ghost story “The Hand of Gold”, Leif Goldberg’s colorful insane paintings, Paper Rad’s Yellow Submarine type acid trip comic strip, Fabio Viscogliosi’s strange old time children’s book type illustrations in “Love or Leave a Dunce on Holiday”, J. Bradley Johnson’s “Brimming with Enthusiasm: A Selection of Early Comics” and Dan Zettwock’s head trip of a horror comic “The Ghost of Dragon Canoe”.

Kramers Ergot 5

Books 6 and 7 came out through Buenaventura Press. 6 is a huge improvement over 5, the highlights  in this one are the tale of a church haunted house in “Cross Fader” by Dan Zettwoch, reprints of underground Dutch artist Marc Smeets, intro by Chris Ware in “Passing Time”, the insane satire of action and kung fu movies with a psychological and metaphorical bent in “Ejector Seat Cadence” by Bald Eagles, the colorful and LSD haze inducing “Kramers Ergot Fuck You” by Paper Rad, Jerry Moriarty’s painted comic panels in “Sally’s Surprise”, vice cop corruption in “Pushing” by Chris C. Cilla, the Aztec high school dramedy in “Jaguar Street” by Matthew Thurber, reprints of Suiho Tagawa’s colorful Japanese war propaganda comics from “the Norakuro”, X rated Aesops fables from Fabio Viscogliosi in “Pornography for Beginners”, the fantasy water color stylings of Sherry Boyle in “The Porcelain Figurine” and the insane world of Elvis Studio by Helge Reumann and Xavier Robel.


7 is a killer, I’d say a literal killer because the thing is hardbound and the size of a old Sunday comic supplement from the 1930’s, i.e. giant and I even had a hard time flipping through the thing, you could easily use it as weapon to beat somebody to death. I had problems finding room for the thing, its in full color with glossy pages if you don’t lift it right you can get a hernia, however, staring at the giant pages will immerse you even deeper in the stories, now I know why my grandparents were nostalgic about their Sunday comics page. “Kramers Ergot” 7 appeared in 2008 at retail price of 125 bucks because of the cost of putting it together and publishing it, “Kramers Ergot” 7 killed Buenaventura Press. Alvin Buenaventura, the publisher went on to set up another company and ended up committing suicide in 2016, whether it was due to his company going under is speculation. The stand outs in 7 were Shary Boyle’s elephant fantasy “Grow Old”, Ted May’s Frankenstein space adventure in “Cradle of Frankenstein”, Daniel Clowes’ twisted noir “Sawdust”, CF’s weird ass fantasy “Crate Cauldron”, Kim Deitch’s tale of a beer bottle cap collector in”Sex, Drugs and Sweet Music”, Chris Ware’s tale of a girl with one leg in “Home”, the late great Richard Sala’s tale of chasing love in an interesting crowd of characters in “I Chase the Bright Elusive Butterfly of Love”, Rick Altergott’s continuing adventures of his mentally challenged hero in “Doofus”, Matt Brinkman’s animal/skull/reptilian hybrid one pager, Eric Haven’s otherworldly tale of a barfly and reptilian woman in “Reptilica”, Matt Thurber’s tale of Brian Eno in “Produce the Corpse”, Blex Bolex’s tale of an artist who is given a offer he can’t refuse in “Lost for Life”, Will Sweeney’s journey of mad scientists, hallucination machines and space in “Chatsworth Miasma”, Anna Somers bear hunt gone awry in “Lumberjack’s Widow”, Helge Reumann’s untitled story of his weird world with bearded men and weird deformed creatures who beat and shoot each other and Matt Groenings bunnies losing at the game of life in “Road to Success”.




  “Kramers Ergot” 8 went way down in size, to almost the size of a pocket book and was put out by Picture Box Press who has put out some bad ass books. It was a tan hardcover with partial gold foil and tangerine colored hexagons on its front, it reminded me of one of the books I’d pull off my grandpa’s walnut bookshelf when the dust jacket went missing, the contents of said book would normally be boring. The cover, simple design and color scheme screamed 1970’s, this next volume in typical fashion goes in a different direction, this time only some of the pages are glossy and some in color and starts with a boring fucking essay on how without gay people “camp” wouldn’t exist, half way through the preachy essay I skipped ahead for the comics. “Kramers Ergot” 8 doesn’t disappoint, Gary Panter roars into this weird and twisted future with his recurring character “Jimbo”, C.F. gets into strange love in “Warm Genetics House Test Pattern”, Takeshi Murata goes art pop culture funky with “Get Your Ass to Mars”, Johnny Ryan goes into outer space and gets slaughtered by aliens in “Mining Colony X7170”, Anya Davidson has a mean ass bitch kicking butt in “Barbarian Bitch”, Sammy Harkham, the editor of this shebang, contributes the weird and terrifying tale of spousal upheaval in “A Husband and Wife” and, last but not least, reprints of the deliciously evil Wanda from 1970’s era “Penthouse” magazine gets brought back to life in full color, I see a lot of the old Warren magazine artists of “Eerie”, “Creep” and “Vampirella” in Ron Embleton and Frederic Mullalley’s art work for “Oh, Wicked Wanda!”

“Kramers Ergot 9” switched publishers to Fantagraphics and switched size, this thing is the size of a telephone book, the other part of the title is “Evil Fully Determined”. This time the boring essay is dropped and the comics come on like a freight train. Highlights are Renee French’s bird abstract world in “Bjornstrand’s Elise”, Helge Reumann dives back into his strange mutant/lumberjack world in “Sexy Guns”, Anya Davidson channels Pagan Rome/Christian animosity in “Hypatia’s Last Hours”, Al Columbia has his recurring characters Pim And Francine do a one page nightmare appearance in “Night People” and does another color section on the aftermath of a party from hell from the 1930’s in “The Devil’s Mansion”, Al is a genius, problem is he very erratic in his output, Al was supposed to contribute a full page comic in the oversized 7 but couldn’t get anything done, people who know him say he is a “perfectionist” but that to me is another word for lazy and/or procrastinator. Tim Hensley channels old school cartooning into a story about a priest who gets in a “unholy” jam in “I Confess”, its all in a days work in “Police Work” by Adam Buttrick, Lale Westvind goes a on a space cannibal ritual retreat in “The Kanibul Ball”, Kim Deitch goes down memory lane in a zoo in “Shrine of the Monkey God”, suicide goes haywire in “Adieu Cruel World” by Baptiste Virote, Blobby Boys get violent towards infidelity in “Blobby Boys” by Alex Schubert, one criminal gets out of prison but wants to come “home” in “Comics and Gags” by Abraham Diaz, and Jonny Negron has one of his voluptuous vixens get felt up by a 1980’s action hero stereotype in his one pager.

“Kramers Ergot” 10 is a bigger volume not as big as the other one, this one was put out by Fantagraphics an affair goes off the rails in Dash Shaw’s “Police Woman”, Robert Crumb digs into knuckle dragging modern neanderthals in “The Ruff Tuff Cream Puffs”, Jason Murphy does abstract in “A Calamitous Exit”, Arouk Richard does the duck walk west in “Ducky Co Co”, C.F. goes crazy on “Liquid on Neutral”, Blutch does face melting action in “Angel Face”, Shary Flenniken trots out “Trots and Bonnie” and their sexual misadventures and satire of old comic strips that first appeared in “National Lampoon” magazine, Rick Altergott brings out his immortal and idiotic “Doofus” who klutzs and crashes  through his strip, editor Sammy Harkham spins a tale of old Hollywood in “Blood of the Virgin” it is the longest strip and worth the slog, Will Sweeney gets spacey in “The Embigening”, Helge Reumann’s weird world is great as usual in “Equalizers”, a full color reprint of the classic Frank King’s “Gasoline Alley”,  Kim Deitch tells about roaming with Spain and writing underground cartoons in the 1960’s in “If It’s Weird It Works”, and the always cryptic and awesome Lale Westvind with her half shark half lady in “Sarka”.

The “Kramers Ergot” volumes before 5 are too rich price wise for my blood, their heavily sought after collectors items. There is some prices I won’t pay and the prices for 1 through 4 I won’t pay for. “Kramers Ergot” with each volume keeps it interesting, editor Sammy Harkham mixes comic strips and art together seamlessly. Each volume has got its own personality and own flavor, from varying sizes to different artists and content. “Kramers Ergot” is something you can ingest and not see werewolves and want to hunt witches (maybe you will do that after reading these volumes anyways). I sure hope Mr. Harkham does more volumes.

So where do you ingest this ergot? Well go look on ebay and amazon, hate to be lazy but search these out, there is some of these that at reasonable prices, except for the oversized volume 7.

Volumes 1, 2, 8, 9, 10 are available online to digitally ingest here, if you want to be a millennial/zoomer pussy about it:


White Noise on Paper: Five, Four, Three, Two, One, “Zero Zero” comix.

I remember people being afraid of an apocalyptic event as the 1990’s was wrapping up, some said it would be a huge computer crash via Y2K (anybody remember that?) that would destroy all systems politically and economically, an environmental disaster that the Greens kept predicting every ten years like their religious counterparts with the book of Revelation etc. of course none of that happened some would argue in September 11th, 2001 was an end to our way of life and now that the Coof is running rampant it looks like the end could be at hand and is being used by unscrupulous, authoritarian scumbags to push their various control freak agendas. The underground comics anthology series “Zero Zero” played on those fears tangentially and manipulated them into absurd humor by various artists.

The editor was Kim Thompson who was an editor on other Fantagraphics publications. This comic anthology series lasted from 1995-2000 with 27 issues. Kim got the name “Zero Zero” from artist J.R. Williams who is another recurring artist in the series, originally J.R. was gonna call his own series “Zero Zero” but instead ended  up calling his comic “Crap” instead (insert joke here). Not only that, “Zero Zero” is another way of saying the year 2000 which evoked hope in some and fear in others, the comics themselves in between the covers, mostly black n’ white except for some two color pieces looks like it takes place in a post apocalyptic, nightmare world. In the forward to the first issue Kim says “That balance of the new and established, of penthouse art and gutter art, of quantity (page count for RAW, frequency for Weirdo) and quality remains elusive. ‘Zero Zero’ is but the latest attempt a few steps down that path.”

David N. Holzman’s woodcut comic “Big Head” from issue one, March/April 1995.


Also Kim shit on the then current trend of “autobiographical” comics started by Robert Crumb’s wife, Aline, when she was editor of “Weirdo” and shit balled into a crap avalanche by countless artists. Kim said in the same forward “Zero Zero’ will be something of a refuge for those who are sick unto death of the autobio comics trend, not to mention its the cousin the graphic/lecture rant, although I will let my defenses down for the occasionally extraordinary piece (this (first issue) issue’s Bukowski/Moriarity collaboration being a case in point, ‘Zero Zero’ is about fiction in comics form.” Now of course Kim would go on to not really hold that editorial position with David Collier’s comics which were rants/autobiography, Collier’s art style is very close to Crumb’s, and while the art was good I often found his pieces to get too self involved, preachy and up their own ass. Though I have to say Joe Sacco’s piece on himself and a couple of journalists confronting a dictator on Christmas at an orthodox service in Serbia was interesting, so was J. Backderf’s story on hanging out with the infamous serial killer Jeffery Dahmer in high school which was expanded into an award winning graphic novel and into a feature length movie but its very rare that an autobio comic is interesting to me.

Two color contents page with Sof’ Boy who is in a hilarious S n’ M themed strip March/April 1996.

There is a few strips that are serialized and their all good, chief among them the late and great Richard Sala with his very retro “The Chuckling Whatsit” which was later gathered in a graphic novel, Max White’s tale of greek/Christian mythology “Homunculus”, Kim Deitch’s obsession with old pop culture in both his “Molly O’ Dare” and “Search for Smilin’ Ed” pieces, Dave Cooper’s space age/futuristic put down of the man hating butch brigade in “Crumple”, Kaz and Timothy Georgarakis’ collab on “Meat Box” a comic that takes place in some absurd dadaesque/abstract world, Ted Stearn’s adventures of a Teddy Bear and his chicken friend in “Fuzz and Pluck” and David Mazzucchelli’s “Pop. 66” that takes place in some hellish town in Italy or Spain, not one of these serials bored me they were all entertaining and I couldn’t wait for the next episode in each issue.

Richard Sala’s “Chuckling Whatsit” serial started in issue 2.

Some of the names that show up are the old guard of the underground comix scene mixed with the new, you’ll get some nastiness from Mike Diana, Henriette Valium, Max Andersson, Glenn Head, Skip Williamson, Blanquet, P. Revess, Chris Ware etc. You get a bunch of different art styles which makes the anthology overall interesting. Some pieces don’t hit, some fucking nail it. While the series is mostly black and white there is Al Columbia two color sections and that was my whole reason for searching out this thing, because Al Columbia hits the ball and the park for my money, in issue 4 Al has the two color Fleischer toon inspired nightmare “I was Killing When Killing Wasn’t Cool” with his two recurring characters Seymour Sunshine the clown and Knishkebibble the Monkey Boy which was supposed to appear in his own “Biologic Show” comic issue 2 until he canceled the series and gave this to “Zero Zero” the title is a play on the song title “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”. Ole’ Al has a inside cover color job in issue 8 called “He Didn’t Wake Up”, issue 15 back cover has Al’s depiction of “Walpurgisnacht” that will send every safe space crybaby running for their mama, God I loved the Un PC 1990’s! Issue 16 has Al’s two color dark fairy tale “Blood Clot Boy” a boy born of, what else, a blood clot who goes on twisted adventures, issue 20 Al steps up his art game in the two color nightmare featuring Sunshine and the Monkeyboy called “Amnesia” not to be mixed up with his grotesque animated movie poster collection from the 1930’s comic, “Amnesia”, in this one Al out does himself by using photo realistic backgrounds and with his characters layered on top of them, no wonder Al’s issues sold out real fast, he’d continue this new artistic direction in issue 26 which is considered the “last” issue with “Alfred the Great” a hinged mouth freak who can juggle anything with his tongue, of course this goes south really fast and then the wrap up issue 27 Al does the cover of a monkey in front of an unappetizing plate of meat and he does back cover featuring his other recurring character “Cheapie the Guinea Pig”, he said this will be a character he is gonna use in future comics but with Al its “I’ll believe it when I see it”. But Al’s work shouldn’t overshadow anybody else in this series, the whole damn series is interesting, I’d even go as far as to say almost better than the classic “Weirdo” and “RAW”.

Al Columbia’s “Amnesia” from issue 20.

On the back of every issue was the feature “The Signs of the Impending Apocalypse” which has comical and satirical depictions of apocalyptic scenes done by the likes of Daniel Clowes, Marky Ramone (yes that Ramone) among many many others. Kim said the back covers were to suggest a Jack Chick comic tract.

So “Zero Zero” isn’t a zero, every issue is regular comic book size but even with a majority of black and white pages this is one of my favorite comic anthologies, this is one I will pull out and read again and will sometimes pick up an issue and just thumb through it and revel in the weirdness of it all. You won’t be bored by it either, some stuff is tear jerker funny and some of it is messed up. If you want to find issues, good luck, try amazon, and remember there is a total of 27 issues and the Al Columbia ones especially come at a high price, I was lucky enough to find a whole set and I am too embarrassed to tell you how much I paid for it, I will never pay that much for anything again but I don’t regret one bank emptying penny of it either. “Zero Zero” is an embodiment of the alternative “comix” and zine culture that spread through the 1990’s, whacky, surreal, weird, slackeristic (I made that word up), cynical, maniacal etc. Set them gauges to “Zero Zero”.

Charles Burn’s cover for issue 8.

To at least read the first issue with the awesome Gary Panter cover go here:

Marc Arsenault talks about his experience working on “Zero Zero” as an art director, how it was like to work with editor Kim Thompson and owning his own comic and zine shop here:

To find copies go on amazon, ebay, abebooks etc. Get prepared to dig into your wallet and have your paypal account scream and cry like a little bitch. Good luck.


White Noise on Paper: Watching some “Highbone Theater” by Joe Daly

 I don’t make it a secret that I like comics that take different paths, all the overblown “stuperhero” stuff bores the hell out of me, its been done to death and every variation of some caped schmoo has been tried, granted I am sure there is people out there that will never get burned out on Batman, Iron Man and company, but for some reason I have this weird thing where if something is just overdone I lose complete interest in it. I like when people go in a different direction with the comics format which is the reason why I review mainly independent and underground “comix”. If somebody puts a new, fresh and different spin on the superhero comic than I will be interested, until then I will be reading stuff like “Highbone Theater” by Joe Daly.

Joe Daly mainly studied animation at Cape Town’s City Varsity college, and also put out the awesome “Dungeon Quest” lampooning RPG players and the equally good “Red Monkey Double Happiness Book”, with “Highbone Theater” Joe goes into stoner territory with his muscular, bearded main character, Palmer, who is a intellectual, plays the Chubush, reads books, smokes weed and has weird dreams about 9/11, his room mates are macho meatheads who hunt sharks, drink, party and screw anything and everything that moves. The art reminds me a lot of Robert Crumb’s stuff, the men are all barrel chested, with thick arms, and legs, big hands and feet, all the women are hour glass shaped with big asses. Through this all, Palmer has strange dreams that have him questioning reality itself and Palmer meets a strange man at the paper mill he works at named Billy Boy who thinks that there is people who live under the earth that manipulate events on the surface.

And the art goes from black and white when Palmer isn’t dreaming, to color when he is dreaming or high which makes me think that this is the artist’s way of saying the so called whacky dream world of Palmer is almost more real than the mundane day to day existence world.  Conspiracy theories, the occult and Gnosticism get twirled in this heady brew of a comic, the humor is absurd and sometimes I think gets lost in translation because of the different humor and culture of South Africa.

This book is thick and collects all of the “Highbone Theater” comics in one place at 572 pages in hardcover and put out by the awesome Fantagraphics, it seems that whatever Fantagraphics touch turns to fucking gold. If you want something different in your comics I highly recommend Joe Daly’s stoner opus, it will make your brain bleed, guaranteed.

So get out your joint, its always “4/20” here:


White Noise on Paper: “Norman Pettingill: Backwoods Humorist” because I got nothing…

They don’t make men like Norman Pettingill anymore, hell, you could argue they don’t make men today, period. Pettingill seems like he chews bark like gum and could stomp your modern, smart phone scrolling, skinny, whiny ass into the ground with his hiking boots. They also don’t make humor like this anymore.

I discovered Norman Pettingill from reading Robert Crumb’s “Weirdo” magazine (see my review of “Weirdo” magazine here: Robert Crumb republished some of Pettingill’s art work in his 1980’s underground comix/cartoon magazine, his art jumped out at me, it was ribald, crazy, chaotic, free spirited and had to see more. So I went to go find out if there was a book and sure enough the fine folks at Fantagraphics put one out, “Norman Pettingill: Backwoods Humorist” in 2010 and this being Fantagraphics who won’t do another fucking print run of anything, the book is out of print which is a damn shame because this artist needs more exposure in my opinion.

This a document of a bygone era, when rural America really had its own culture, food and humor, since the urbanization of most of the country and homogenization of culture country wide a lot of this stuff has just disappeared. In “Norman Pettingill: Backwoods Humorist” you’ll see some of that past preserved. Most of Pettingill’s work was collected and preserved by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, located in the Wisconsin area, keeping alive the independent, DYI folk art that would otherwise be lost. The Arts center helped with this book.

Norman’s grandfather, John A. Pettingill, a farmer and cattle dealer bought the land and started the town Norman was born in on 1896, Iron River, Wisconsin. Norman says he’d been drawing since he was six years old and dropped out of high school in his third year because he wanted to be outside fishing and hunting. John was drafted during World War One and only served in Mississippi for a short period and was discharged when the war ended. Norman lived off the land, his drawing and calligraphy skills. He did calling cards, signs and other jobs until 1946 when he started drawing postcards, printing and selling them from door to door, he’d make a living at it for pretty much the rest of his life. That pretty much sums up this book, you get most of his postcard work as well as his nature paintings. John claims he pretty much didn’t get lessons from anybody and was self taught, even when he wrote letters to people he would illustrate them. His bar, hospital, public beach etc. paintings are something else, a cross between Will Elder and Hieronymus Bosch, silly, stupid, profane, carnival like, ribald etc. When looking at a Norman Pettingill postcard you will always find something new or something you missed. That being said if you can find a copy of “Norman Pettingill: Backwoods Humorist” snap it up, there is copies available on ebay and amazon, it might give your wallet and/or paypal account a diet. Robert Crumb does the introduction, Leslie Umberger, the Senior Curator of Exhibitions and Collections at Kohler Arts Cent does the foreword and Gary Groth does the biography. The front cover and back cover are literally made of wood and the book horizontally is oversized to fully show the art. Highly recommended.

Start your diet here, it is 20 bucks digitally if you want to go that way:

And here:


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!