More Data, More Data

Today on the site:

Chris Mautner talks to Mimi Pond.

Can you walk me through the gestation period? Why did it take so long for it to come out?

After I left the restaurant I moved to New York and became a cartoonist and was making a good living doing that. At that point no one was talking about graphic novels. I always thought it should be a movie. I thought about doing it as a screenplay.

We moved to L.A. and I lived there long enough that I realized just how horrible Hollywood is and even if I did write it as a screenplay it could be taken away from me at any time and ruined. And I wanted to make sure that it got told the right way. So then I thought, “Graphic novel? That’s way too much work. I could never do that. That’s ridiculous.” I thought, “I’ll just do it as a regular fictionalized memoir.”

I fictionalized it because there was just too much stuff in real life; there were too many people who passed through there, too many personalities. It had to be winnowed down into a dramatic story. I wanted to catch the essence of what that time and place was and who those people were, but I didn’t want to have to stick to the facts.

It wasn’t until my son was born in 1992 and suddenly being a mother for the first time that a light bulb went off in my head that Lazlo, the real-life version of him, was everyone’s groovy beatnik dad. He had his own family. And yet he was hanging out with a bunch of twenty-something kids instead of spending time with his family. And I was like, “That’s not right.” (laughter) In his own way he was as good a father as he could be but l feel like he failed to protect his family. He put them through things … I don’t want to get into it in the [book] because I didn’t want to get that personal, his wife and kids are still around, and I didn’t want to make it about that as much as I wanted to focus on the restaurant.

When you’re in your twenties, it doesn’t occur to you to think about things like someone’s responsibilities and parenthood. You’re not thinking that way. I realized this character is much more complex than I had even thought. In some ways he was a wonderful person and an extremely important person for me because he was telling me and anyone else who was there that while this is what we’re doing right now, we’re just playing a part, and we’re going to do other things and we have to keep notes, because this is a story and it has to be told. Working in a restaurant is just a role we’re cast in the moment, but we’re going to go on and do bigger things.

And Robert Kirby reviews the long-awaited collection of Mark Connery's Rudy, one of my all-time favorite comics.

Enter Mark Connery. His minicomic Rudythrows all that comics pedantry out the window in a cheerfully anarchic spirit. Intuitive and spontaneous rather than practiced and formalistic, his hilarious, doodled-in-a-notebook-style comics emerge triumphantly from the id. It’s no wonder the tagline “Comics and Fun” accompanied many of the original minicomics collected here. Among the other taglines are “Zooty Comics for Grog Dogs” and “Bourgeois Entertainment for Stalinist Motherfuckers.” Welcome to the world of Rudy.


Here's a lengthy interview with the late Dick Ayers conducted by Roy Thomas.

Tom Spurgeon has publishing news about Study Group.

And here's Ed Piskor on video for Time.


11 Responses to More Data, More Data

  1. Ramon De Los Flores says:

    Piskor’s a good cartoonist, but this business of so many cartoonists “dressing the part” is really tiresome and embarrassing.

  2. Rob Clough says:

    Umm, that’s how Ed dressed **before* he started drawing HHFT. He’s not “dressing the part”, he’s drawing comics about his obsession.

  3. Ramon De Los Flores says:

    I didn’t say I cared WHEN he started the gimmick and that wasn’t my point. It’s a circus act. Good for him.

  4. James says:

    FYI, “Jack Kirby attended one of the earliest meetings of CAPS, the Comic Art Professional Society in the mid-’70s, and as the group mixed in conversation, Jack was overheard introducing himself as “Ramon De Los Flores,” supposedly a specialist in drawing pornographic comics!”

  5. Chimpendale says:

    I have never read anything by Ed Piskor but this video sold me on him

  6. Chimpendale says:

    sold him on me? sold him to me? stuck him onto me?

  7. Ramon De Los Flores says:

    How dare you besmirch my good name.

  8. Chris Duffy says:

    It’s a great book!

  9. Frank Santoro says:

    Ed’s a super hero and super heroes can dress however they like

  10. michael L says:

    ed is NOT a superhero, he’s a white dude who should be sensitive to the cultural connotations involved in any aesthetic that he chooses to “pay homage” to, and likewise mindful of the history of white ppl appropriating black music/fashion/style 9_9;

    i dont know if he is or isnt mindful of these things, i havent read the book. im sure hes a nice fellow etc

  11. Mike Hunter says:

    Extending Michael L.’s argument to its logical conclusion, then Piskor (despite his obvious knowledge and appreciation of the subject: shouldn’t have even created “Hip Hop Family Tree.”

    Because he should “be sensitive to the cultural connotations involved in any aesthetic that he chooses to ‘pay homage’ to, and likewise mindful of the history of white ppl appropriating black music/fashion/style…”

    So, white people: dress white, and only deal critically/artistically with pure unadulterated products of Caucasian culture. Otherwise, you at the very least risk being “insensitive.”

    For that matter, aren’t white folks buying “non-Caucasian” aesthetic creations thereby (with the massive commercial pull of their “honky-bucks”) affecting the products themselves, encouraging some aspects, discouraging others?

    Both extremes on the racial divide can agree on something: “stick to your own kind.”

    On the other hand…

    “What the white boy means when he says ‘Yo’ “: The groundbreaking ’98 essay on how rap became an unauthorized bible for white kids everywhere:

    (One chap responds: “Shame on you rappers for appropriating words from Pirate culture…”)

    From that 1998 essay:

    Hip-hop has now loomed over the youth-culture landscape for almost two generations, and though it’s still politicized, the music is no longer framed by racial confrontation. Despite being consistently dismissed as a dysfunctional teen phase — especially for white kids — it is commercially stronger than ever…

    Why shouldn’t [white kids] be exploring us? That’s the way it’s supposed to be, you know,” says Busta Rhymes… “If we’d grown up with a different mind-set then all this shit wouldn’t seem so strange. It would be normal and natural for white kids to be idolizing and imitating rap stars. But the powers that be have created all these barriers and segregated us and brought us up not to appreciate each other’s cultural significance, so everybody looks at these white kids like they’re out of their motherfucking minds.”

    …Sometime after the death of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain, the hip-hop kid — oversize clothes, syrupy slang, skateboard double-parked outside — emerged as the ’90s embodiment of youthful, white alienation. And, as a result, he’s become a flashpoint for politicians and media cynics who insist on pushing the same tired teen “analysis”: numbed and perverted by a Godless barrage of abusive imagery via music, television, film, Sega, and the Internet, otherwise well-adjusted Billys and Beckys have sunk to new depths of anti-socialism. They emulate gang members and shoot up school cafeterias. They wear baggy pants and have unprotected sex. As mindless dupes of the corporate infotainment matrix, our innocent spawn are being debased by dark, unchecked forces, and something must be done!

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