Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stranger Than....F I C T I O N COMICS No.#1 is out and dedicated to the memory of Gene Gallatin

     After a great deal of waiting, number 1 issue of Stranger Than...F I C T I O N  COMICS is finished. the hold up was caused by not having the final six pages and inside back cover clearly defined till sometime around Thanksgiving (2012). We were waiting for John Kinhart's Sorry Guy story  "Dear Mr. Spiegelman" and John's Doc Film ad "Pigheaded". Don't ask why we did not know what we were waiting for, but we just did not know how it was going to play out. Once it dawned on us, we knew, ok this is it, time to run it !!!! Which we did after also adding Snappy Sammy Smoot by Skip Williamson. These seemingly last minute decisions were obviously divine interventions, imo, to add that missing dimension, make us all laugh, cry, scream and/or scratch our heads at the same time. 
     We have sent out Artist Proofs for reviews, one to www.legendsofbill.com and www.ripoffpress.com. If you are wondering what the critics are thinking, you might want to give the reviewers some time to write their reviews and post 'em up on their respective websites. Just added Michael Hamersky's blog review, Michael is an original San Diego Comic Con dealer/marketeer, here is what he had to say  http://makeitsomarketing.tripod.com/popularcultureblog/index.blog/2318139/my-take-on-stranger-than-fiction-comics-1/ .Till then we just start working on issue number #2. 
     May 7th 2013, Robert Crumb was in Oregon. Patrick Rosenkranz posted a link in an Oregon newspaper which mentioned Monte Wolverton was there. I shared the post on my Facebook Timeline. I eluded to Crumb speaking with Monte about what he thought about the book and Gene Gallatin's story The Bastard Sons of Harvey Kurtzman. Patrick commented that Gene Gallatin had died last year. I was stunned, no one posted anything, I had no clue till two todays ago. Gene's story was the impetus for the book, the creative spark. I never got an email  back from Gene after the Artist Proof's were done. I had no idea Gene had passed away. 
    Gene Gallatin was a child of the Underground comics scene, he grew up reading them as a kid. He aspired to be an underground artist/cartoonist. His comic The Bastard Sons of Harvey Kurtzman was as blunt and as honest as any comic of the genre ever was. I knew it would be controversial, but it had to be in the first issue. Now somehow we have to dedicate the 1# Stranger Than....F I C T I O N  COMICS to Gene's memory. If you get a copy you have to read it before putting in your closet for safe keeping. I implore you to take a moment to reflect, the odds are against you getting a copy, but if you do, you have to take a moment to reflect on your life for Gene's memory. You owe it to yourself. Thank you, Gene, for the courage to reach for your dreams, to keep trying, to keep going for it, R.I.P. brother, you will be remembered in 1# Stranger Than...F I C T I O N COMICS.........
     

Monday, September 10, 2012

Stranger Than......F I C T I O N COMICS Coming Soon

    
    We have been working on a new Underground Comic Publishing Company called BootLeg COMIX. Our first title is Stranger Than .... F I C T I O N COMICS featuring Skip Williamson (Cover) R. Crumb, Jay Lynch, Robert W. Cox, Gene Gallatin, Monte Wolverton, Tiina Birgitta Raissen and Pat Moriarty.
     We will publish a small first edition of Artists'Proof and Distribution Company copies. These will go to the contributors and selected Distribution outlets for our type of market. Some will be available for sale, some we will sell through our shop locally. At this point we are almost sold out but the good news is we can adjust the number of copies since we have not yet gone to press at the writing of this blog entry.
     We will claim victory soon and then start working on the second issue. We hope to continue publishing the works of our good friends Jay Lynch, Skip Williamson and Robert Crumb as well as invite other Underground Cartoonists we know and love so well.
    We also will be taking in new artist's works for possible publication ,but dont anyone get your hopes up, as standards are high, stories need to fit in, and be interesting at the same time, plus you wont be getting large checks in the mail anytime soon. If we ain't getting the dough, you ain't either. If we get the dough then we will spread it around, but the Printers usually are the only winners in this game.But that aside for the moment, we look forward to sharing our place in the Sun with whoever gets a copy.

        

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bruce Cockburn and random notes

Comments from Thanksgiving 2009 on Facebook

This is an awesome song, I heard him do it live the first time 1978
in a small club in Chicago called The Quiet Knight.
We hung out with him backstage in this tiny room the whole time. The Lord Of The Starfields on YouTube, check it out.

If Bruce Cockburn was not such a personal friend having a huge impact on my career as an Artist, I would not be mentioning this, but the fact is he came along at a time when I had to make the final decision to step it up once and for all. And what did it for me was Bruce's dedication to his Art regardless of acclaim, fame or fortune. We both know he was kept out of the BIG Music Biz in America, but that is exactly what I needed to inspire me in my career as an Artist, to do it for the Art if that were all I got out of it....... Bruce's example of suffering through the business to get to the Music, and his personal way with people, made a lasting impression on me and my art. After spending two days with him in 1978, I was off to the Races as they say. I just put the head phones on and started drawing, inking, designing while listening to this amazingly gifted Artist/Musician from Canada.....Bruce Cockburn. Somehow, the pain disappeared, the doubts dissolved, the stumbling blocks were removed and I ran free to do the art for the sake of doing it.

But seven years later, Robert Crumb challenged me again to do it for the sake of the Art in a phone interview. Funny thing about that was the perception by some "well meaning friends" who were under the assumption back in the early 80's that Robert was making tons of money from his comics......?????

I never argued with those "well meaning friends" but found out from Mr. Crumb that that was not exactly the case at the time........He proved that to me and others in 1988 when he charged only $50 for a two page comic of his, we reprinted. Since those two witnesses, Bruce Cockburn and R. Crumb have so clearly laid out the path, I suggest if you are aspiring to be an Artist do it for the Art or dont do it.

If by chance and a lot of Luck, you can earn a living from your work, then more Power to you. But that may never happen, so I suggest you find someone to mentor you along, someone who is able to point you in the right direction. Happy Holidays

Thursday, November 12, 2009

R.Crumb's Prophesy and the Book of Genesis


I just want to say this one thing about the Serpent from R. Crumb's Book of Genesis, Crumb did him right, with legs and arms. It was after the garden thing that the Lord God said He would crush the serpent's head and make the serpent slither on the ground. What would you do if you met a Lizard Man creature covered in precious stones? You would probably take his advice too............ eat from a tree to become as god or goddess, just like Adam and Eve did.

A friend Josephine posted on my Facebook concerning this, she writes, "I am going to get Crumb's book" My response was....."yes, (but) remember it is the Bible and even if Crumb (himself) does not believe it is the literal Word of God, he did illustrate it literally and with great respect to the Torah, Israel and Ishmael's descendants too. It is quite obvious to even the casual observer Crumb's own talents are uniquely God given, so you will be reading the Bible just by looking at the pictures if you get this Book of Genesis by R.Crumb. By all means buy it and read it, and if you can get it at a book signing, all the better.

And even if you just want read it in a King James text, because maybe you never read such stories in the Old Testament, you will find the same stories. Only difference is no one ever illustrated it like it is literally written before now. Particularly, Noah having sex with his daughters, after they got him drunk. I am going out so far as to say this will change the way we view the Torah and the Holy Scriptures in years to come, regardless of what Robert or any one of us says about it.

R. Crumb told me over the phone, while I was doing an interview with him in 1985 for Cornerstone magazine, that I would soon be doing other things. He literally prophesied I was going to fall out of favor and lose my job at Cornerstone, as the staff cartoonist. I was stunned, I had nothing to come back with. I remember specifically to this day what R.Crumb said to me. He said, "the die was cast and I would be soon doing other things for Jesus". It was prophetic and almost instantaneous, for shortly after that phone conversation, I was out looking for free lance work. Don't believe it? Ask Skip Williamson, he hired me.

At a time, when I was in no way shape or form ready for going out to fend for my family as a freelancer. There I was out of favor and out of my position as the Comic artist, at the top of my comic career or so I thought. R.Crumb is like Bob Dylan, a prophet to our generation, ask around if you don't believe it. I only know I spent two hours on the phone with him and it changed everything back in 1985. And just because he took great care and time to do a perfect satire on my comic entitled "A Rock and Roll Classic" in Zap no.#10. And after touching on every issue we could think of..... finally he just said, "Mr Cox, Jesus has other things for you, my friend, the die is cast , your days are numbered at Cornerstone...." He was right...

So I am warning folks, not to trifle, this is the Bible and it carries it's warning with in it's pages that God is not mocked, nor is He a Man that He should repent. Only a Fool says in his heart there is No God......and it says it is a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the Living God, I can testify to that. I am very happy for R. Crumb and his heirs, as this will continue to sell long after he is gone, providing for his family and their descendants for generations. From my perspective it is clearly the Hand of God, a Gift to me and many others, proof that God loves them and has never abandon us even in the hardest times since those cold days in Chicago 1985. Can you still remember how hard it was?

The Book of Genesis, illustrated by a wonderful friend, it is all I want or need for Christmas 2009. Last year I got my one and only Christmas present, to see a parallel movie version of my Dietrich Bonhoeffer Graphic Novel: RESISTANCE, to a tee in certain parts, on the big screen with Tom Cruise in Valkryie on Christmas day. This Christmas, it will be reading R. Crumb's Master Piece, the Illustrated Book of Genesis. I can also testify, there is a Father Christmas, another one of my four kinds of high.......

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

HARVEY KURTZMAN & MY MILLION DOLLAR CAREER


Well, I thought I was going to just drop in and write this down then take it "Over Yonder Wall".....but a funny thing happened on the way to the Open Salon forum today. I stopped in to read Skip Williamson's post and what he had hoped for over there, in terms of being a place of wide open celebration of mind and body, soul and spirit instead of being an editor's recluse, which it actually is for the most part. Having said that and after posting a comment basically agreeing that Open Salon is dead, I lost my whole train of Comic thought. Oh well, I guess I will just have to wing it and offend as many as possible over here on The Comic Book College Weeklies without trying too hard, I suppose?

But let's go back to the beginning, more specifically the title of this little diddy? What? Me Worry? and start from the beginning. As I was saying earlier (last week's FaceBook) I am inveribly, a direct descendant of the Comic Genius of Harvey Kurtzman. Granted, Harvey is probably turning over in his grave right now for making that assumption, not to mention I did NOT get written permission, but I think there are many witnesses still living who, would in fact, agree that Harv himself would approve of the entire premise of this article, giving him complete credit for inspiring and guiding some of the Universe's funniest moments of All Time....... God was that over the top? I know You thought some of it was pretty funny, but, of course, they would not believe me for saying it, but You if You said it.....well I guess that's another chapter for another time..........maybe folks will believe R.Crumb's Book of Genesis?

What else can you call it? Divine Intervention? Divine Appointment? Fate? A Gift from the gods? In truth, laughter is the best medicine in the whole World. The Word says somewhere though I never actually read it, that God loves a cheerful giver. I have laughed on so many occasioned to the Bank that it is not funny. So, what else can we assume that it is when your life has come into contact with some many of the right creative people because of the influence of this one man? Fact, Skip Williamson, Jay Lynch, Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton, all were directly influenced in their careers by Harvey Kurtzman. Fact, having embarked on an educational journey through an institution known as Culver-Stockton College on the banks of the mighty Missisippi in a little Midwest college town known as Canton, Mo, I met Skip Williamson. Fact Skip Williamson, for some strange and unknown reason took a liking to a rather obnoxious kid (me) from the suburbs of Chicago and introduced him (Me) to his friends Jay Lynch and Robert Crumb whom also took a strange liking or disliking to this kid from the Burbs (Me)?. Fact, this kid, (Me) became a Millionaire (Spent it all) later in life because of these encounters, as well a became a pretty good cartoonist/artist though I have to wait till I die before I can actually say that with some Authority. WTF?

All because of the these guys, and Dr.Williamson, Skip's father, my Humanities Professor, intersecting my life at several different but distinct times and places changing the way I thought of myself and those around me. Not to mention, when it was my turn to produce an artistic comic work, I had their invisible guiding influences helping me along. And even when there was no work , there was work to be done. Why? because I had become an comic book artist, and an artist can always find work, or some project he or she or Me can call "work" while we are waiting for the money to prove we are who we say we are, an Artist. (Mostly that is all designed for THE support group, who need some reason to put up with that terribly gifted individual in their life, the Artiste).

Originally, I did not understand, or even know there was a direct line of descendants. I thought it was all just the Invisible Hand of God Almighty that arranged all of this. (Maybe that is how it really did happen?)But for a long time, that was the only way I could envision how things evolved in my life, in those terms. But as I get older I began to see how the Invisible God works through people, in strange and marvelous ways, His wonders to perform????????????? As they say, and seeing the influence that these individuals have had on their generation and the one following and the one following them, you have to acknowledge that there is more going on here than meets the naked eye. Unless you don't want to "see" what is really happening, then none of this will make any sense to you anyway. As for the 1st Million dollars, really that was kind of easy once I decided to go for the throat. People just basically threw the $$ dough at me..."Here, they said...I want that"!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Origins of My Comic Career & Smokin' Tokin' Orangutangs


Well, I can't exactly pin it down to any one date, but there were specific moments in my life that defined my Comic career, which is still evolving, changing, and moving to this day. I am inspired to write some of those moments here because of the writings of my long time, good friend, Skip Williamson. Skip has had a major impact on my life since I first saw him on the campus Culver-Stockton College in 1965. He was the only cool Beatnik on campus, that I can remember with a beard. Wow what a shock !!!! I thought everyone at college would have beards and or goat tees, wearing leather sandals!!!!!!!!!!! Wrong...........but let me, skip college and fast forward to the Spring of 1968, Chicago.

I had just been discharged by the US Navy for confessing to smoking Marijuana and was on my way home to Sweet Home Chicago Suburb in Brookfield. But first I spent about three months in San Francisco waiting for the official discharge, General: Under Honorable Conditions. They put all of the druggies in "D" barracks. Typical Government operation, D for Drug addicts, easy to remember, simple to deploy, nothing to difficult for Chief Petty Officers to understand. Well, we were all getting out and had nothing better to do, than, well, drugs.

What? The Navy had no protocol for drug taking in their entire history going back to John Paul Jones. It was an epidemic by 1968 and they just said..."here, you guys stay in this area till we release you". So we had the stereo set up in the rec room and just listened to Traffic, Steppenwolf, Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, the Stones, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix Experience, the 13th Floor Elevators and got high. The Navy forced us to leave the lights on all night, which did not bother too many of us because Meth was everywhere in the barracks, anyway, no one slept that I could remember, we would just crash and get up later and start over................all day or night, it was always on in "D" barracks that Spring in San Francisco. I mean we could go ashore, but there were more drugs on Treasure Island Naval Base than Haight/Ashbury, or so it seemed. Plus the Summer of Love was over by the Spring of 1968. The atomsphere on Haight St. was extreme violence. Hell's Angels, San francisco Police, and tons of mace. I was there when the Police maced everyone inside the infamous Straight Theater . It was not too comical.

Finally, my orders came for my final physical and a ticket home. So, I went down to the infirmary, got my blood test and as I was standing in line, I blacked out, fell flat on my chin, broke my jaw. I had to have my mouth wired shut for 6 weeks. Get my wires off in April, I finally got my walking papers to fly back to Chicago with two pounds of some good grass I purchased outside of Francisco. As the Beatles song went...JoJo left his home in Tucson Arizona for some California Grass......... I left for Sweet Home Chicago with some California Grass....In those days, there was no dogs sniffing your bags, no security whatsoever. Transporting large quantities of dope was pretty easy , provided you did not look like a R. Crumb comic character. That came later at Skip's Apartment, that wonderful summer in Chicago, 1968. A lot of Cheap Thrills to come.

I got a job at the Brookfield Zoo that fateful summer, driving the tour guide train around the Zoo. We had three trains with two tour guides for each train. Since my friend, Gary Grunnet, got me the job, I knew everyone would be getting high, everyday, at the Zoo and I would fit right in. It was a perfect cartoon setting to start my Comic career. On weekends, me, and maybe another friend from the burbs would drive down to Chicago to hang out with Skip and his wife Cecil at their totally cool pad just off Clark street. We brought the reefer, and Skip had the great tunes. Cecil had munchies for everyone. That is probably when I officially became a Comic, right there at Skip's place when Robert Crumb and Jay Lynch came over and we all went to Lincoln Park in my 1963 Rambler but more about that later (as I am currently working on the Graphic Novel version of that entire incident.)

Don't get me wrong, I was a pretty funny guy at the Brookfield Zoo gig, too. We would take our breaks and go up behind the animal outdoor exhibitions and smoked hash or reefer in the brushes then come back to the train station , loaded and we would start the train up and drive around listening to Born To Be Wild going about 8 MPH. One of us was on the microphone at the back giving the "Rap" while the other was just stoned out driving this 8 car, 75 passenger train with car tire wheels around the Zoo, second largest in the World next to San Diego at that time. So, as a tour guide "Rapper", we each had a different style of craziness but mostly we copied each other's phrases and descriptions of the different Exhibits and funny antedotes.

Like at the Elephant House we would say something like..." And over on your right, ladies and gentleman , you will notice the Pachyderm House.........Superman is buried beneath this exhibit as well as we have the largest Pachyderm in the world here.... She is famous for attacking her trainers at the Ringling Bros Barnum & bailey Circus several years ago, killing two people......." The passengers would gasp and Moms and Dads would say.... 'look there kids..... a rogue killer Elephant, how cute".............

We used to feed the Orangutangs cigarettes on our breaks, too. They all loved to smoke. We would walk up to their cage and take out a cigarette, light it, smoke a few puffs and then flipped it to them through the bars. They would see us coming and line up with their hands out to be the first to catch a Smoke. The people standing around were amazed. The Orangutangs were from Borneo and when we drove by them with the tour train we used to say they liked to smoke Marlboros the best in Borneo, no believed us till they saw us flip them cigarettes. It was a great show, to watch them scramble for the smoke by all the Orangutangs, the lucky one who caught it first would put it to their huge lips and take a drag then smile and blow smoke out their nostrils and mouth then smile again and take another puff. They would generally hold the cigarette underhanded between their thumb and their first two fingers, the way a pansy would smoke. Or some Hollywood starlet. Once an Orangutang had the cigarette in his or her hand, the others would chase that one all around the cage trying to get the cigarette for themselves, except for Fatty.........

Fatty was the King of the Orangutangs. He weighted in at around 450 lbs and just sat there. He would just backhand anything or anyone that got close to him. When King Fatty wanted the cigarette , he would basically kick the crap out of whoever had it, force them to drop and run. Then he would smoke it, and dare anyone to mess with him.....to say the least no one did........he was the King.

One time we decided to flip them joints just to see what would happen, one for each of the seven Orangutangs with a giant dobie for King Fatty. It was a risky move. We decided we better do it before people got into the park or else we would be in deep sh^t, possibly. So a couple of the guys decided to do it before the park opened up one sunday morning. The Orangutangs loved it, they all had a joint of their own and thought it was great fun, so did we. On our breaks, we would go check in on their condition, like the song "just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in........ The Orangutangs were all great performers for the Public. But that morning after smoking a few joints, they got way out of hand. Once in a while they would have sex during the day in front of people. But that day, they all got into it, it was, well, an Orangutang orgy, that was the only way to describe it. King Fatty was swinging from the ceiling and then would tackle a female to the ground mount her for a while then move on to the next Honey Orangutang, the place was up for grabs!!!!!!!! People were running to see it from all directions. Finally the Zoo Keepers got out the tarps and covered the entire cage but you could still hear the grunting, moaning......and cheetah type laughter. Every heard???????????? never mind....................we had to play it cool, like we were as shocked as everyone else.........it was hard to get a straight face.

The Zoo Keepers suspected something was up, but no one got busted that day. When the Democratic Convention finally arrived in August, the Train drivers were all polarized against Mayor Daly and the Chicago Police. As the police rioted that week, we broadcasted from the Tour Guide PA system our political convictions as we travelled around the Zoo, pretty stoned out. I went down one afternoon on Tuesday to Grant park to hear Phil Ochs in the bandshell and watched the cops bust Tom Hayden. By this time I was learning how to actually keep on truckin' like a Robert Crumb comic character from Zap Comics and beginning my Street Guerilla Theater Comic career. Skip was there, he could tell ya.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

MindShaft's Next Issue Coming out in August


Giola has posted the new cover of the August Issue of Mindshaft on our Facebook. It looks like a must have issue. Cover art is stunning. Some of our favs are in this issue, good friends R. Crumb and Skip Williamson to name a few. We recommend you reserve a copy today, but we dont really know how you do that. Maybe if you Google it, you can email Giola with your order. Keep in mind Mindshaft does not come out every month and they use old school printing process I am told to great effect. Tell 'em we sent 'cha, okey dokey