April was the official month of comics in Portland. Yes, Portland has an official comics month. Why didn't I move here decades ago? I just read about it myself last week. This sort of thing is casually mentioned in the press here, three weeks into the official month. There was the Stumptown Comics Convention, which I missed, and many other comics-related events.
I used to get my comics published in "Snipehunt" out of Portland. I loved "Snipehunt." It was big newsprint fanzine, completely about music and comics. The editors were very nice but due to my callowness, I never bothered to actually talk to any of them in person. I would just send bundles of my work like "Attack of the 50-Foot Kinder-Whore" where Courtney Love climbs the Space Needle with Trent Reznor clutched in her giant paw, threatening to trample all of the Northwest, and they would publish them--no questions asked. If anyone from "Snipehunt" sees this: you ruled. And also: what are you doing now?
I quietly honored the month by re-reading my Ed The Happy Clown book the other day. Ed was the first serialized strip of Chester Brown's "Yummy Fur" series and it's a humdinger. You know that Bosch triptych, "The Garden of Earthly Delights"? Ed is a lot like that, but instead of focusing on extreme hallucinations of heaven and hell, it features a gentle, victimized clown, a homicidal born-again sexually repressed janitor (who looks a lot like Chester Brown), a very cool vampire named Josie, sewer-pipe dwelling pygmies, brutally sadistic doctors and bureaucrats, endless shit emitting from another dimension, and the head of Ronald Reagan grafted onto a penis--Ed's penis. Probably the most darkly humorous grotesque work of art of 1989, if not the 20th century.
Brown went on to do graphic renditions of Bible stories, autobiographical comics of his adolescence and a historical biography of Louis Riel, mystic, rebel, and Métis leader of the Canadian prairies. But Ed still has the ability to astound me with its violent, hilarious, other-wordly weirdness.
The Yummy Fur (a 90s-era band from Glasgow, featuring a bunch of "Yummy Fur" [and a few other Drawn & Quarterly] comic book covers) - Colonel Blimp
More Comix Newz:
Ed The Happy Clown is supposedly being made into a live-action/animated/CGI film (entitled "Yummy Fur") this summer. Did I mention that Ronald Reagan's head is grafted onto Ed's penis? Chester Brown's profile and bibliography in RAW.
The fantabulous Lynda Barry has a new book out this month, What It Is. And it looks beautiful. Lynda Barry is a national treasure.
This week The New Yorker has a brief but amazing story about Ernie Colón and Sid Jacobson, former collaborators on "Richie Rich," "Casper the Friendly Ghost," and "Little Dot" (which I used to read). Both in their 70s, the writer/artist team decided to write a graphic novel of The 9/11 Reportthinking that people who would never read the report, would read a graphic adaptation of it. They were right. The children's comic book industry not being what it used to be, Colón was working as a security guard when he came up with the idea. Their sequel, After 9/11: America's War on Terror (2001- ) will come out in August. According to the New Yorker, the sequel will provide a timeline of events and policies that led to the Iraq War, covering tribal and religious factions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not just the Sunnis and Shiites, but the Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras as well. Sure to be as dark in the telling as any fictional graphic world.