We recently got a link sent to us on Facebook for Skip Williamson's Open Salon blog post about Independent Film Maker John Kinhart, creator of Sorry Guy comics. John is working on an independent doc film project about the life and art of Skip Williamson. But it seems that John originally approached Art Spiegelman and was turned down. So in the tradition of great, self effacing, truthful, autobiographical, Comic stories, John did a great strip about meeting Mr. Speigelman at some Lecture Hall. You just need to click on Sorry Guy's link http://sorrycomics.blogspot.com/ and read it yourself, it is dated May 16th 2009. We have asked John if we could reprint it here along with some kind of news update on the Doc. In the meantime, you can read Skip Williamson's article @
Sorry Comics - Skip Williamson - Open Salon
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
In fall of 1967, I was shipped out to Pearl Harbour on the island of Oahu, Hawaii to languish as a yeoman at ComPact Serv, a "wonderful" desk job that consisted mainly of getting the mail for the officers in my work station and an occasional 10 cent coke for the LT. Hawaii was great for the first two weeks, hanging out at Waikiki, going to the North Shore, watching them surf the big waves. But after 2 weeks, it all turned terribly boring and treadfully horrifying, to say the least. My friends back home were all envious as they were surfers that thought this was the dream job, being in Hawaii, no Viet Nam, surf every day etc.
Wrong, it was anything but that. As a matter of fact, it was Hell on earth as a young white dude from the mainland. They called us Howllies, I am sure it is spelled different than that, but that is how it sounded. It meant unwanted, white person, kind of like the word "nigger" is used as a racial slur, to be exact. It was the first time, I really felt racial prejudice as a white guy. Even though growing up in Brookfield/ La grange Il, one of the few western suburbs of Chicago that had integrated schools in the 50's, but nothing in life had prepared me for Hawaii 1967/68. The vibes were so intense everywhere you went, if you were white, that we, white sailors had few places to go. The black sailors fit in just about everywhere it seemed but not the white boys. So you had to pick and choose your spots as they say.
One friday night, I decided to go to the Airport Lounge near base with some "white guys" to have a few beers and listen to the jams of a top 40 California band. The Hondells, I believe they were called. So one of the sailors who was about my age, similar background and his friend, a "lifer" second class petty officer about 40,twice our age, pile into a cab. We were just 20 years old at the time but that was legal drinking age in Hawaii. I wondered why my friend Bill had asked the "Chief" to come along, but I never bothered to ask. We got to the bar, ordered drinks and sat back to listen to the band. "Chief" started to hustle this native chick right away. It was pretty uncomfortable at first, as there was not that many people in the bar. but then the band got up on stage, they were a "Beach Boy type band" a one hit wonder band, remember "Go little Honda? that was theirs, (of you dont remember it, that would be admitting your friggin' age). They ended up in Hawaii, playing this joint called the "Airport Lounge", next to, you guessed it The Airport. The keyboardist was a guy named Chuck Girard, who became better known as the singer/song writer of an early Christian Rock Group called "Love Song" about 5 years later.
So they are doing their set when Chuck says,"ladies and gentlemen", he was quick to point out that the crowd was mostly sailors and then there was the one Hawaiian lady at our table. He says, "We got a special treat for you all tonight, we want to welcome and bringon stage, the one and only,..... Screamin' Jay Hawkins" lets have a big round of applause for Screamin'Jay "I PUT A SPELL ON YOU" Hawkins.............." I was stunned, I went slightly crazy, clapping real loud.....well, then I stopped as everyone in the bar turned around to see who was screaming for Screamin' Jay Hawkins. I thought holy sh*t Batman, no one knows who this is?????????? So they break into a raunchy version of "I Put a Spell on You" with Screamin' Jay at the Helm and I am transported, as in gone, I cant believe it. I am thinking to myself, no one is going to believe this back home, Chicago.
So after the number was finished, Mr Hawkins is walking by our table and I jumped up and said "Screamin Jay. can I buy you a drink Sir"? He said, "dont mind if I do son". I sat him down next to me at the end of the booth (away from the others) and ordered him some kind of cocktail with a strange name. Well, the lounge was really dark and Screamin' Jay was really dark and I can only remember the whites of his eyes and his big grinnin' white teeth. I was a little drunk and started a rather nervous conversation about Chicago Blues men which I had little real knowledge of at that time, outside of Rock and Rollers, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry and Little Richard. My real understanding of Blues music, came not from Chicago Blues men themselves but from their White British counterparts, the rock groups like The Stones, The Animals, The Yardbirds,who had all done covers of famous blues songs/artists. I used to read the labels of their records to see who wrote these killer tunes. So I was familiar with names like John Lee Hooker, Ellis Mc Daniels (Bo Diddley), Wille Dixon and Screamin Jay Hawkins but not their original versions.
Ok, so right about now the "Chief",this redneck salty old racist sailor, is really getting uptight with me because I brought this greasy Black guy to his table for a drink! I found later that The Chief was going to bash both of us right there. Well, I paid the Chief no mind as I knew this was huge, once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the one and only Screamin" Jay Hawkins. I bought the drinks and by God, I was going to get my money's worth. Finally, I think, Jay realized the situation was getting tenser by the moment and he excused himself, slipping away in to the night. I just sat there pondering how I would tell everyone back home, I just met and had a drink with the one and only Screamin Jay Hawkins, that they did not even know yet? I don't think my surfer friends, at that time, save Artist, Skip Williamson, even knew who Screamin' Jay Hawkins was. No one did believe it at JPUSA, till ten years later........
I was working for the infamous Cornerstone magazine (Jpusa newspaper) in Chicago, doing art and advertising and interviews for their music section when I met Chuck Girard of LoveSong at his hotel room before a gig in the suburbs. He was telling us his testimony how he played in a one hit wonder "Beach Boy" type band. I said wait a minute, did you say you had a hit record on top 40 then ended up in a bar near the Airport in Hawaii in the Fall of 1967? He said yeah..... I said dude, did you ever bring Screamin Jay Hawkins up on stage to do "I Put a Spell On You"? He said yeah I remember doing that, I said I was there that night, I bought Screamin Jay a drink and almost got my lights punched out for it!!!!! I said, "You were playing the Keyboards, right?" He said yeah. Jon Trot just rolled his eyes.
As Chuck Girard ( leader singer for Christian Rock Band, Love Song) can testify, both stories did happen. When Drew Friedman's "Screamin Jay Hawkins" Art print showed up on my Facebook Highlights the other day, I thought it was time to tell the tale. Drew gave me permission to post it here and below is a link to his website where you can see and purchase more of his fab work, and if you get stationed in Hawaii sometime, just be patient, you will get out alive, if you be cool.......
Fine Art Prints Available at http://drewfriedman.net/
Posted by Comic Book College Weeklies at 4:11 PM 0 comments
Labels: From the President's Desk
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Fine Art Prints Available at http://drewfriedman.net/
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
From the President's Desk
Here is preview of the cover art
Here at the Comic Book College Weeklies, we recently got word from long time friend, Jay Lynch, that Robert Crumb was working on illustrating the Bible..."Holy Scriptural Interpretations, Batman, that would be colossal if true"?
"Yes, Robin, I can see the All Time Best Seller actually make the NY Times best seller list for the first time..... if it is true, Robin"? Well, folks it is true. We asked Denis Kitchen if he was handling it for Crumb and here is what Denis wrote back......
I agented the book. But it’s not the entire Bible. It’s called The Book of Genesis According to R. Crumb. Done straight (that is literally,......) Coming from W. W. Norton probably late 2009. ---Denis
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Just for Fun - Totally Pointless
Wacky Packages are a series of trading cards featuring parodies of American consumer products. The cards were produced by the Topps Company beginning in 1967, usually in a sticker format. The original series sold for two years, and the concept proved popular enough that it has been revived every few years since. Per trader legend, at one time the product outsold Topps baseball cards.
Relying on the talents of such comics artists as Kim Deitch, George Evans, Drew Friedman, Bill Griffith, Jay Lynch, Norman Saunders, Art Spiegelman, Bob Stewart and Tom Sutton, the cards spoofed well-known brands and packaging, such as "Crust" (instead of Crest) toothpaste, "Blisterine" (instead of Listerine), and "Neveready" batteries (for Eveready Industries batteries). The initial series was followed by a somewhat different Wacky Ads line in 1969, featuring gags and roughs by Lynch and Deitch with finished paintings by Sutton. These cards were designed more like miniature billboards with a die-cut around the parodied product, so it could pop out of the horizontal billboard scene.
Wacky Packages returned in 1973 for a highly successful run. According to trader legend, these cards were then the only Topps product to achieve higher sales than its flagship line of baseball cards. They continued until 1977 through a total of 16 series. Some cards were sold in reprinted editions beginning in 1979 to 1980. (4 series with puzzle/checklist backs)
Newly designed series were produced in 1985 and 1991, but these strayed from the original concept and were not as successful. A new series of stickers was released in 2004, and continued into a sixth set in 2007. These series have been very successful with the return of cartoonist Jay Lynch, plus newcomers David Gross, Strephon Taylor, George Wright, Adam Harris and Neil Camera. This series also marks a return to the use of underground comix artists including M. Wartella. In 2007, Topps released its series 5 and 6 in the Wacky Package Series.
In February 2008, Topps released a series of Wacky Packages called Flashbacks. This series contained artwork from previously released cards as well as unreleased artwork to make a set of 72 base cards. Moving towards the trend with other types of trading cards, this set also featured a number of rare chase cards. Article reprinted from Facebook's Wacky Packages Group copyright 2009. Join this Group at Facebook and join the FUN
Monday, May 18, 2009
Robert did a series of trading cards several years ago. They were masterfully done in bright colors. Kitchen Sink Press has them for sale on their website www.deniskitchen.com. Go there then click into the gift shoppe area, you should find them easily enough. If you order a set please tell em I sent ya, enjoy this little video and preview the cards Crumb did for free.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Everytime Commander Cody came to Town (Chicago) our good friend Skip Williamson would be on the VIP guest list. I was aware that Skip was tight with Cody and the band, the Lost Planet Airmen but we never discussed the Backstage antics. It was none of my business, I knew Skip well enough to know if he wanted to tell me a story or two, he would, and he did and we created a few together even. I recently asked Skip if he would consider writing an episode or two about The Commander and those crazy days back in Chicago. Skip Williamson is truly a remarkable writer besides being a great artist, and has many asking for hard cover editions of his writing talent. If that happens, we will surely post up the news at Comic Book College Weeklies, in the meantime, stay tuned...and be sure you scroll down to watch the video
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Well we are off the Subject a little but you never know who may be tuning in for the first time. So keep in mind that the leader singer of the, MC5 Rob Tyner was an Underground Cartoonist. He was pretty good too, as I recall. But where he really got off was in the MC5, short for the Motor City 5. Total Toon Band before they ever heard that expression. Actually maybe that expession has never been used in this context before. But from a Tune Head's Toon perspective you can make the connection. At least I thought you could. Maybe you can t even get this at all, I dunno. I just thought you might like it, like it yes I do, like it like it yes, I know its only Rock and Roll But we Like it.........Yes we do Yeah
Friday, May 8, 2009
Ok so what does this Title mean? Actually, nothing. But maybe we can make it mean something for our current purposes. It seems that back in the day there was a real American Anime Scene. By that I mean there were enough artists around to actually create a Revolution in Pop Culture Media that could have actually spawned something like what there is in Japan. But it did not happen. Even though many would have welcomed the change from Elmer Fudd to Hentai in a heart beat. Dont know what Hentai is? Do your little Wikipedia search now then come back to read more fully informed, kind of.
Anyway, what does www.fineartofbaseball.com have to do with all of this? Not much except we are conducting a little experiment to see who and who is not viewing and or reading our little Blog Spot Here. Not that we can actually figure that out but we want to see what could happen by mixing and matching the above subjects. Basically the American Cartoonist got screwed. While the Japanese dove into American Culture head long, we were not allowed to dive into their Culture. Why was this? They love Elvis, we love Elvis, they like the Marlboro Man, we like the Marlboro Man. They love motorcycles and slick back greasy Hair dos, we liked slick back greaser Hair too. They like Star Wars. We still like Star Wars, go figure? So what's the Point? SEX and VIOLENCE IS DESTROYING THE CHILDREN, we don't condone voyeurism though we are all voyeuristic to some extent, some more than others. But in Japan they don't make it against the Law to be Voyeuristic.
Ok, only in America do we have a Legal Defense Fund for Cartoonists, what is up with that? In Japan they don't even understand the reasoning behind such an Org. Here, it is like, EXTREMELY necessary to have a Legal Defense Team for Comic Artists. In Japan, anything goes, Free Market Economy, you like Violence and real Blood spray in your comics, great, you like Hentai? Great, whatever and everyone reads the Comics, 8 to 80 and beyond. They probably thought everyone in America does too. Wrong, no one reads the comics IN AMERICA they put them in baggies in a box in a closet or vault or on Ebay but no one actually reads them, GOD FORBID YOU ACTUALLY READ THE DAMN THINGS!!!!!, what kind of a Moron are you that you actually read the stupid stuff? ( Well some of us do actually still read them, but you get the drift)
In America as long as it is worth money then you are smart for buying it. In Japan they buy it to actually read it and they buy it in droves. Legal Defense Fund for Comics is like the Obama administration trying to design a CAR, it does n't have to be this way, but oh yeah it is, and oh yeah Uneeda good Lawyer son and Uneeda good battery operated car that can go all of 100 miles before having to pull over and recharge the batteries for 8 to 12 hours. Kind of makes going to the Beach suck just to think about it.
But back to the original idea or experiment for this post, www.fineartofbaseball.com has your duty free Japanese Anime Comics and related stuff. Check it out when you get an hour of free time? So let's hoist this little jewel up there and see what happens? Oh yeah, about reading comics online? It actually is rather difficult to see the words, comics not on paper maybe something all together different. But how do we get money for it, is the question. I will say that I read Sorry Guy's Blue Toon the other day and had no problems reading it and it was really good too, but some others are hard to read, maybe you guys could blow this up a little, as in nuking this blog with comments, LOL. On second thought nevermind.