“Good morning, Bohemians!” So, the jubilant cry would have been heard in Paris, circa 1853. It can still be heard today from down the street where I live in Seattle and all across the globe. I am a bohemian. I’ve always identified as such as a writer, artist, and cartoonist. But what does it really mean and how did this concept come to be? In the new comics anthology, “Bohemians: A Graphic History,” edited by Paul Buhle and David Berger, we get a full history. These short works are created by some of today’s most accomplished cartoonists, who also happen to be some of the best examples you will find of contemporary bohemians.
Tag Archives: Comix
“How I Made the World,” is an intriguing title, don’t you think? It happens to be the title for a series of comics about Liz, a college student and writer who expresses herself in true epic glory, like any young person should. Now, this is most assuredly a SERIES, not a ONE-SHOT. There may have been a bit of confusion regarding this since the Diamond Previews catalog, the monthly bible for all comics retailers and regular comics buyers, has given the “one-shot” label to this series. Okay, now that we have that cleared up, here is an interview with the creators. It was a pleasure to get to chat for a bit with Liz and Randy.
If you like your humor raw and uncooked, you may have found your match with this comic book, “Sock It To Me #1.” It’s about a sock. And this sock has an attitude. Von Gorman has an attitude. You should too if you really want to get into this.
Puck Magazine, an impressive collection of some of the leading comix artists and much more, launches its crowd funding campaign today. This is truly an international collection. If you are a fan of offbeat humor and you’d like a taste of it from around the world, then this is for you. Join the campaign here. It runs from November 26, 2013 thru January 4, 2014.
What follows is an informative essay on the Apocalypse, the history of alternative comics, and how that relates to Puck Magazine:
Welcome to the Apocalypse
Historically speaking, the Apocalypse is always now. By that I mean that at every period in human history, someone somewhere was certain that the world was about to end. Whether it was the author of the Biblical “Book of Revelation” (or “Revelation to John”) — surely one of the most mischievous tracts ever written — or some Vedic bard predicting the Kali Yuga, or urban street corner prophets ranting that “The End is Nigh,” the human imagination has repeatedly fixated on the end of the universe and the end of life as we know it.
It is not difficult to figure out why this is. At some undetermined point in time, for each of us, the universe will end. Death awaits us all, whether in a sudden accident or heart attack, or in a long lingering illness. That this is so seems like a monstrous joke, and so we repress the thought or, for many of us, we project it upon the world at large, finding solace in the thought that if we must die, so must everyone else, preferably all at the same time.
And yet, life goes on. Every prophecy of the End Times is, in some sense, a false prophecy. Predicted dates come and go, and true believers’ expectations fizzle out, only to be succeeded by new expectations which will eventually fizzle out as well.
Much of this apocalyptic fervor has been driven by religion, especially fundamentalist Christianity and Islam, which share similar scenarios of a Final Judgment. But there are no lack of secular apocalypses to choose from: catastrophic climate change, nuclear war, the end of Capitalism (a particularly elusive apocalypse), an impending police state, and the list goes on.
All of which brings us to the volume you hold in your hands, a smorgasboard of personal apocalypses conjured up by a stellar crew of cartoonists from around the world. For most comic artists, apocalypse looms as the rent comes due at the end of each month, so this theme was one that the assembled artists could really get their teeth into. As you will discover, some took the challenge lightly, producing humorous strips (including the inevitable Mother In Law joke), while others dove into full-fledged horror and paranoia.
The result is a well-balanced collection of unique visions that you will not find anywhere else. The locations change from strip to strip, usually manifesting the apocalypse in the artists’ own locales. If you’ve ever dreamed of making an Around the World Tour, but know you never will, this volume is a suitable substitute, albeit with rather more demons, cannibals, black holes, and Avenging Angels than you would likely encounter in hopping from country to country.
Sadly, I am told that this is likely the last PUCK volume for years to come, so it represents an apocalypse of sorts for the whole PUCK enterprise. PUCK’s staff has beat all odds in uniting cartoonists from numerous countries in its group projects that are done for the love of free and uncensored cartooning.
The Underground Comix movement was launched in the U.S. during the Sixties and spread its influence to England, the Netherlands, Spain, France, and Italy (among others), in the following decades. PUCK has been one of the most energetic recent manifestations of the underground impulse and Ivan and the rest of the PUCK gang deserve a round of applause for keeping the torch held high.
The Apocalypse is always now. Enjoy it while you can.
Jay Kinney was a participant in the Underground Comix movement of the 1960s and 1970s. He edited and co-edited Young Lust, Occult Laff-Parade, Cover-up Lowdown, and Anarchy Comics, and contributed to many others.
He has since been a magazine publisher, book author, and antiquarian bookseller. Recently published is: Anarchy Comics: the Complete Collection (PM Press), a retrospective anthology of the hard-to-find four originals issues, plus never before published strips and sketchbook pages.
Caption for Mavrides-Kinney Armageddon panels…
The “End Times” erupt in “Armageddon Outtahere” by Paul Mavrides and Jay Kinney in Anarchy Comics #4. This story and all others from the comic series can be found in Anarchy Comics: the Complete Collection (PM Press).
Press release follows:
It is fascinating what can develop during a 24-hour comic. I knew, going in, that I was doing a comic that was going to take me to some interesting places. It ended up being a journey in search of the heart and soul of Ballard, Washington, once a mellow destination with a history of saloons and bordellos and coasting along as a blue collar hangout, it became a prime target for developers. The rest is history: a slew of trendy boutiques and restaurants that have brought a whole new dynamic to the area.
Is this a question of whether it is good or bad? Are their lessons to be learned? Well, one person, Edith Macefield, who defied the developers and would not sell her home, has become a symbol for independence and the theme for my 24-hour comic.
24-Hour Comics Day is celebrated around the world on the first weekend of October. This is when all cartoonists join together in the pursuit of a full comics narrative during a 24-hour marathon. The timing was just right this year to take on such a substantial and compelling subject as Ballard, Washington. It is a place that perhaps never thought it would go through dramatic change and yet it can’t come as a complete surprise given its location and demographics.
But, in the past, locals didn’t really have intense concerns over location or demographics. It’s a very laid-back culture. It is something you’re not supposed to be able to manufacture. But, oddly enough, marketers and developers have done their level best to tap into the Ballard experience. Fascinating stuff.
Exploring the character of any place is such a fun thing to do. You don’t have to have any expectations. Or, if you do, see where that takes you too. As for Ballard, I know that area quite well. I can see it from various vantage points. No one is going to seriously argue against Edith Macefield, right? Another thing that is hard, or impossible, to argue against is comfort, good food, and fun items to buy now and then. It seems you can find just about anything in Ballard.
I will run the whole “Ballard” comic here at Comics Grinder in the coming days.
I embark upon my 24-hour comics odyssey with thoughts of Edith Macefield. She sounds like a wonderful person. Depending upon when you might have encountered her, she most likely came across as just someone who wanted to be left alone. And isn’t that what we all want more of? Just time to do what we want! And then the famous incident, the ultimate encounter with the ever-encroaching outside world. And what did Edith Macefield do when developers descended upon her and hoped to buy her off, and out of the way? She told them where they could go. No, not even for a millions dollars, would she sell her little home.
Yes, tell the money people they can take it somewhere else. That’s the spirit. It’s an appealing credo to live by, isn’t it? You too can have your little credo stamped onto a tile at the forthcoming Credo Square, a public space that will be created at the foot of Edith’s old house. It’s now owned by a developer, sad to say. He will conduct real estate training in that house. But, as a gesture of goodwill, there will be some sort of public space. And at this public space, you’ll be able to be purchase your credo tile for just $250! That is outrageous and hilarious. Maybe Edith would have found the dark humor in that.
What sounds like a truly good thing is the Macefield Music Festival. Learn more about it here.
One of the great things that comics can do is to take you out of the obvious and transport you somewhere fresh and new. The mini-comic, “Second Banana,” by Tessa Brunton, is an excellent example of the true power of comics to uplift and be awesome. This is a look at what it feels like to be a “second banana,” and a whole bunch of other neat stuff. You see, Tessa’s older brother is something of a genius. At least, I’m assuming this is an auto-bio comic. Whatever case, here is a girl named Tessa and she is doing her best to find her way in life. She is the baby sibling. Rich, the eldest, has left the nest. This leaves Tessa and her older bro, Finn, who dazzles Tessa with his general knowledge, including bogus info about light bulbs and fabulous info about ghosts, monsters, and various other related strangeness. Yes, this is what comics does best. It lets you dream. Brunton has got the knack for tapping into that wonderworld.
Let me tell you, I’m not twiddling my thumbs over here either. If you want to know what I’m all about, I champion work just like this. I believe you can find this sort of spirit in a variety of comics, whether alternative or mainstream. The bottom line is you really need to want it, the sort of comics that move the medium forward, not backward. For some creators, it may come more naturally to them but it’s still a process: rough drafts, laying out, editing. For readers, well, you know quality work when you see it. Now, when you see work that makes you nauseous, you know it too and you should protest whenever possible. No more nauseous comics!
But getting back to what Tessa Brunton has accomplished thus far, I think you’ll find that this mini-comic is very promising. We begin the story with an off-kilter reference to “Little House on the Prairie” which sets the tone. Moving right along, we continue with creative use of panels that establish the pecking order of the characters. With a restrained and crisp line, Brunton goes about expressing the ups and downs of having a bright but domineering older brother. I especially like her panel/word balloon combinations!
The narrative is so heart-felt in this immersive comic. You too will feel the same great disappointment as Tessa did when Finn does a complete 180 on his love and support of monsters and ghosts and dismisses them all as a bunch of folklore. As Tessa puts it, “The world seemed so much smaller without the supernatural.” In the end, this story is bigger than Finn. This is a story about the end of childhood.
One of the most endearing things you’ll see in the documentary, “Cartoon College,” a 2012 film by Josh Melrod and Tara Wray, is Lynda Barry’s declaration of love for anyone who is a cartoonist. Lynda Barry is an interesting case in point. Her style is “outsider” raw while, at the same time, highly sophisticated. It won’t be mistaken for Rembrandt but it’s not supposed to be. Lynda Barry’s comics are authentic, entertaining, and thought-provoking. But can you teach someone how to become another Lynda Barry?