We’ll Wear White as Long as We Want

Kim Deitch is back with another installment of his memoir via music. It is now the late '60s, the underground era is in full swing, and after working at the East Village Other for a while, Kim decides to head west. A disclaimer:

Before resuming I should say this: Drug taking, by myself and others, really peaks in this chapter. It isn’t something I’m proud of or a thing I endorse. But it is the way it all happened.

Also, Rob Clough reviews MK Reed and Jonathan Hill's Americus.

Elsewhere, and catching up after a lousy week at doing this job, more links than you can read:

1. A fun Jay Lynch (and Ed Piskor) comic about the day Lynch and R. Crumb went to visit Chester Gould in Chicago. [I forgot that Dan already linked to this! Sorry, folks.]

2. For some reason, it never really occurred to me how young Lynda Barry must have been when she was creating the strips found in Girls + Boys, etc. This picture of her at a signing for the book makes clear immediately what my inability to draw obvious conclusions from things like years and dates did not. Those are some really funny comics.

3. Jack Kirby interviewed on the radio for his 70th birthday. Don't miss the end of this, when Stan Lee calls in and they argue over who did what. [Hat tip to S. Howe.]

4. There are two comics pieces by Noel Murray over at the AV Club right now, one a "primer" on newspaper comics that is fairly solid in a conventional kind of way, and the other a remembrance of the long-running erotic anthropomorphic-animal soap opera comic "Omaha" the Cat Dancer. (I have never read a single issue of Omaha, or the comic that is always somehow linked to it in my mind, Cherry Poptart. And have never really felt like I was missing anything. Is this genre-blindness or good sense?)

5. Tom Spurgeon turns in a rambling but insightful piece on DC's recent "relaunch." It is obviously far too early to say with any definitiveness whether or not DC's strategy will "work," or even what "working" actually means (the bigger problem), but two things I can say with certainty: the publicity was everywhere (even NPR), and there were big noticeable crowds in and outside stores in New York. Does it go without saying that the comic itself (Justice League #1) was just serviceable (if stupid and unmemorable)? Does it matter? Probably, after a few weeks, when the publicity boost dies down. Maybe some of the other new titles will be more interesting? If not, I can't see how this is really much of a change over the old way of doing things.

6. A short but fun interview with Jim Woodring.

7. A very nice review of the new issue of The Comics Journal.

8. Dan Clowes won one of this year's PEN Center Literary Awards.

9. The cartoonist Michel Fiffe writes a long and much-linked-to essay over at the Factual Opinion regarding the intersection between independent and alternative comics and more genre-oriented superhero and sci-fi material. (One factual caveat from the D&Q Twitter feed.)

15 Responses to We’ll Wear White as Long as We Want

  1. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    > (I have never read a single issue of Omaha, or the comic that

    > is always somehow linked to it in my mind, Cherry Poptart. And

    > have never really felt like I was missing anything. Is this

    > genre-blindness or good sense?)

    Or is it prejudice? I’m not a massive Omaha fan, but I’ve read bits and pieces of it and I can assure you that it’s nothing at all like Cherry Poptart.

  2. Tim Hodler says:

    Genre-blindness is just a form of prejudice, and you may be right. And I assume you are saying that Omaha is the better comic?

  3. Rob Clough says:

    I’ve read a couple of issues of Cherry Poptart. It is a well-drawn Dan DeCarlo Archie pastiche, only with sex and drugs. It’s OK for that sort of thing; it mostly reminds me of a more ribald Gilbert Shelton comic (a cartoonist whose work doesn’t interest me all that much).

    Omaha has a much better reputation than Cherry Poptart, but I have also not read an issue of it.

  4. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    Yes, it really is.

  5. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    I’ve got to say, that’s not a comparison I would have made, but then I like Gilbert Shelton’s stuff a lot.

  6. Ali Almezal says:

    The Michel Fiffe essay links to the Pen Awards.

  7. Alec Trench says:

    Hello. The Michel Fiffe link has the wrong url address thingy.

    Gilbert Shelton is totally great, his classic trio of fools are often reductively dismissed as “paraphernalia” but there’s some great cartooning going on there.

    Prejudice is a bummer, maaan.

    here’s some:

    I’ve not read Omaha cos it looks like “Furry” bizniss and I don’t want in.

    Animals are dirty, filthy creatures and definitely not glamourous.

    Humans are better, and much funnier to mock.

  8. Tim Hodler says:

    Fixed. Thanks.

  9. BVS says:

    did you actually ever read cherry poptart either? your from MN right? occasionally as a pre teen quarter bin scrounger I’d find both those comics in the quarter bin at Shinder’s, those and issues of yummy fur or dirty plotte were uncovered. to the 7th grade me, it just seemed like all black and white comics books must be fucking weird. thus shop lifting was necessary for further investigation.

  10. Rob Clough says:

    I finally read Murray’s piece about newspaper comics. I agree with Tim that it focuses way too much on the last 30 years or so. In particular, I thought the omission of Opper (Happy Hooligan) and Milt Gross was egregious. Opper created a comedic style that clearly influenced Gross, who mutated it and in turn influenced many others, but especially Kurtzman & Elder.

    Regarding Gilbert Shelton, he’s a skilled cartoonist but his humor just doesn’t do it for me. I always thought that in terms of the underground artists, Jay Lynch was much funnier.

  11. Kim Thompson says:

    I think Gilbert Shelton is the most unjustly undervalued of the underground cartoonists, possibly because he was the one who worked within a “traditional” context of continuing characters, possibly because he used collaborators, possibly because he’s the most smoothly funny of them, possibly because his jocular presentation of the hippie lifestyle might have been considered pandering. (A bit like Pete Bagge.) NOT QUITE DEAD may not have quite the verve of his earlier work (and after SPINAL TAP what is there left to say about struggling bands?) but I thought that last full-length story we published in MOME was a major return to form.

  12. Paul Slade says:

    Hear, hear. Shelton was just honest-to-God funny, and shaped his jokes into genuine stories, which is more than you can say for many people in his generation of underground cartoonists. Those are big virtues in my book.

    What was the MOME story you mention? I assume it’s also been published as a stand-alone Freak Bros or NQD comic?

  13. Daniel C. Parmenter says:

    The Peter Bagge comparison is definitely right on the mark. Pandering or not, both HATE and FFFB ring true for a certain segment of the audience. I grew up reading the Freaks and was surrounded by their real-life counterparts, so that definitely helped.

    I did enjoy the chapter or two of the NQD that I read from MOME. Not quite the lofty heights of the Freaks, but good, funny stuff.

  14. Kim Thompson says:

    England’s estimable Knockabout put out a full-color mini-graphic novel collection of the story, NOT QUITE DEAD #6: LAST GIG IN SHNAGRLIG, which is available from Last Gasp.

  15. Paul Slade says:

    …and which I’ve got. That’s what I wanted to check, so thanks.

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