Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu volume 2

By Junko Mizuno (jaPress/Last Gasp)
ISBN: 978-0-86719-743-3

If you’re over a certain age or have eclectic tastes in art and music you might feel a pang of nostalgia at the work in this second intriguing, coyly adult collection, featuring Manga sensation Junko Mizuno’s most subversively compelling creation.

Since her emergence in 1995, the author has become renowned – perhaps infamous – for mixing childlike innocence with grim, gory action and unwholesome or stridently clashing, wildly inappropriate content in a sub-genre now dubbed Gothic or Noir kawaii (where kawaii describes cutely drawn protagonists and subjects).

Moreover the skewed sensibilities of her work in such Manga as Cinderalla, Hansel & Gretel, Princess Mermaid, Pure Trance and Momongo no Isshō (the Life of Momongo) has exploded out of the comics ghetto to be embraced by a larger audience with art exhibitions (Heart Throbs and Tender Succubus), art-books (Hell Babies, Collector File and Flare) and high-end designer toys for adults which include plush animals, vinyl figures, stationery, postcards, stickers, original art T-shirts and even a line of condoms and erotic paraphernalia.

Her shojo (“stories for girls”) derived style also borrows heavily from the iconic imagery of the 1960s and early 1970s, particularly the Graphic Psychedelia which grew out of Pop Art, with huge eyed, large-headed poppet girls, drawn to look young or, more accurately, actively, innocently, illicitly under-aged: living in simplified environments where detail is reduced to bare minima.

Her stories are always sharply at odds with her drawing style, like cartoons for toddlers involving unpleasant visits to the gynaecologist or being consumed by cannibals, and much of her material incorporates splashy full colour despite the overwhelming preponderance of black and white material in Japan.

Once Upon a Time on a cute pink planet invisible to human eyes lived a race of beautiful naked young women and one very lovely, placidly carnivorous purple Space Hippo.

Of course, there was also Pelu: a fluffy excitable ball of fuzz who incessantly questioned the idyllic existence. From the Hippo Pelu learned of Earth where there are two sexes, and of his own origins, and immediately the little puffball determined to visit the planet of humans and father a baby so he won’t be alone any more…

The journey led to a number of salutary adventures for the naive ET, whose venerable progression from wide-eyed Innocent to sexual enlightenment did not provide contentment or that longed-for child.

On Earth the fluffy naif closely observed a host of human interactions whilst always politely asking if anyone would like to be made pregnant – but love, hate, jealousy, pride, ambition, self-loathing and even murder were all hard to grasp until Pelu befriended hobo alcoholic Su-San who became a valued comrade and teacher…

This second monochrome tome continues the elucidatory explorations and peripatetic pursuits of the lonely heart “lad”, beginning with ‘Bubble Princess Transformation’ wherein the amorphous alien becomes enamoured of a beautiful sex-worker in the final stages of gender reassignment and presides over a rare happy-ever-after rather than the regulation “happy ending” after which the 2-part ‘I Married a Puppet Master’ delves into even stranger territory.

Good wife Murako spends her idle moments knitting glove puppet friends, but is increasingly worried that husband Mamoru’s job is affecting his health. She is utterly unaware one of her creations has befriended the oddly similar new neighbour Pelu…

However, when Mamoru is callously transformed into a living doll by his bosses at Big Pharmaceutical, Murako is shocked into stunned inactivity… but not knitwear nightmare Koro who recruits Pelu to help obtain a brutal revenge…

Back on the streets again Su-San and Pelu are then approached by a sexy hostess for one of those unique television competition game-shows in ‘Surprise! Japan’s New Record’ but, after the little visitor’s stunning victory leaves them flush for a change, things get very odd…

Another 2-parter, ‘The Secret of the Flower Garden’ finds the spherical sex-pot approached by lovely Tsubomi with a rather unlikely proposition. Soon Pelu is regularly servicing her, her mother and grandmother, in a secret villa beneath a soda factory, just helping a family of hereditary nymphomaniacs, blithely unaware that understanding man of the house Kiyoshi is a bit of an amateur film-maker…

Eventually, still without progeny, Pelu is discarded for a fresher, less exhausted replacement and returns to best buddy Su-San, just in time to fall in love again…

‘Sigh of the Kappa Girl’ is a bittersweet tale of unrequited love as poor Kappa-ko is ditched by boyfriend and prospective husband Makoto. His family want their boy to marry someone else – anyone else actually – as they have an old-fashioned prejudice against Kappas.

You can see their point of view: although she is sweet and sad and gentle, most of the magical water demons are mischievous, cunning flesh-eaters, living in the city’s tainted rivers and watercourses. Seeking solace with Pelu, the betrayed girl steals his heart away but soon leaves him for another…

The saga takes another strange turn in ‘The Niece from Outer Space’ when a young princess from the pink planet comes to visit her far-voyaging uncle. Melu is even more innocent than Pelu but too soon adapts to Earth’s ways – especially after gorging on human food makes her body grow up faster than her mind. Soon she’s hanging out with the wrong crowd (homicidal quintuplets and their abusive, exploitative father) and Pelu is too late to prevent a miraculous tragedy…

This extraordinary collection concludes in poignant heartbreak as Pelu and Su-San become ill on the streets and the little stranger loses his best friend forever to the ‘Homeless Paradise’. The only glimmer of light in the sobering tale for Pelu is meeting Su-San’s estranged daughter Noriko Saotome and learning something of his forever-gone companion’s sorry past…

Little Fluffy Gigolo Pelu continues the potentially shocking saga of an incorrigible innocent abroad, with seductive fantasy underpinned by a subtle sinister subtext and an overt narrative informed by the naivety of “Swinging Sixties” sexuality.

Everything, especially the legion of pretty  girls, is drawn in the style of early Playboy icons, in the brand of  cartoon stylisations that featured in movie title sequences like What’s New, Pussycat? or Yellow Submarine. Anybody British who remembers the children’s animation Crystal Tipps and Alistair, or the hippo from Rainbow, will feel a frisson of nostalgia – which is of course the point. The art is an irresistible velvet trap designed to reduce readers to a receptive state in which the author can make telling points about contemporary culture.
By co-opting children’s entertainment Mizuno addresses fundamental aspects of human existence in a form designed to shock, subvert, upset and most importantly provoke. So, if some thought on the readers’ part extends beyond our visceral gut-reaction to nude innocent girls and the idealistic purity that used to be associated with such imagery, then she’s done her job…

This is a supremely edgy fantasy with a lot to say about society and relationships – similar to but utterly different from Robert Heinlein’s groundbreaking social satire Stranger in a Strange Land, and will one day I’m sure, have just as much impact.

© 2004, 2013 Junko Mizuno. All Rights Reserved.

See also

Helter Skelter Fashion Unfriendly

By Kyoko Okazaki (Vertical)
ISBN: 978-1-93565-483-4

Following her debut in 1983, producing erotic material for the men’s markets, Kyoko Okazaki established a reputation for challenging, controversial, contemporary manga tales before gradually shifting her focus to produce stories specifically for and about women (such as Pink, Happy House and River’s Edge), focusing with unflinching intensity on their social issues and the overwhelming pressures of popular culture in modern Japan. You can find out more about this pioneering creator here.

From 1994-1995, and following her immensely successful strip Tōkyō Girls Bravo in mainstream fashion magazine CUTIE, Okazaki created a biting expose of the industry – and its casualties – in Shodensha’s Feel Young anthology.

Heruta Sukeruta took the author’s concerns, inclinations and observations into realms tinged with dark speculation, but the episodes never seemed too far-fetched or distant from what we all believed models and managers and clients actually experienced…

Liliko is the undisputed top model in Japan. The Lily’s face and body are everywhere, selling products and lifestyle to men, women and especially young girls. She is an unchanging paragon of look and style and has been so for absolutely ages.

In fact, nobody seems to know quite how long – except ruthless model agency president Mama Tada – and only Liliko’s long-suffering gofer/manager Hada and make-up artist Kin Sawanabe have any inkling of the real person under the gloss and glitz and glamour…

Despite her star status Lily is incredibly unhappy: bored, paranoid, burned out and increasingly obsessed with her inevitable usurpation by some fresh young “Next Year’s Model”…

Knowing her days are numbered, the fragile yet hard-as-nails supermodel is frantically chasing singing and acting gigs, capitalising on her celebrity. Sadly, lacking any discernible talent, she’s only getting ahead by sleeping with all the money-men involved…

When not drugged up, stressed out or screaming, she finds some measure of contentment in the arms of Takao, handsome, spoiled heir to the Nanbu department store fortune (and the man she plans to marry) or in degrading and debauching the obsessively devoted Hada.

Liliko’s biggest problem is an incredible secret that could shake the nation. All her beauty and success come from a series of cosmetic procedures, carried out by a renegade plastic surgeon at an exclusive clinic that caters to the most powerful and influential people in the world.

Long ago a desperate girl with a sordid past met Mama and agreed to a complete, full-body series of operations. Now only her bones and some meat is her – all that glittering skin and surface is a fabrication, maintained by constant use of addictive drugs supplied by the dowdy doctor in charge to fight implacable tissue rejection.

Sadly, after years of use even these experimental remedies aren’t as efficient as before and Liliko’s look is breaking down and fragmenting…

She is by no means the only client of the clinic, and following a spate of suspicious deaths and the trail of illegal aborted foetal organ traffickers, police prosecutor Asada has begun to put the pieces together. However even he is not completely immune to the Lily’s allure…

In the face of increasing breakdown, Mama brings Kin up to date and makes him part of the conspiracy, whilst arranging with “The Doctor” to perform still more operations on her fragile star…

Liliko’s damaged psyche endures even greater shocks when her fat and dumpy little sister turns up. Having impossibly tracked down her sublime sibling, little Chikako is sent away with stars in her eyes, a dream in her heart and newfound determination to be beautiful too, whatever the cost…

Chemically deranged, paranoid and alternatively wildly uncontrollable and practically catatonic, Lily goes off the deep end when Takao admits that he’s marrying an heiress for dynastic reasons but will still, of course, have sex with her in secret…

Having already seduced Hada and her boyfriend in a moment of malicious boredom, Liliko induces them to take revenge for her bruised pride and events quickly spiral into an inescapable crescendo of catastrophe that extends far beyond the intangible world of image and illusion into the very bedrock of Japanese society…

Harsh, raw, brutal and relentlessly revelatory, the author’s forensic examination of the power of sex, temptations of fame and commoditisation of beauty is a multi-layered, shockingly effective – if occasionally surreal – tale that should alarm every parent who reads it. It is also a superb adult melodrama, tense political thriller and effective crime mystery to delight all broad-minded fans of comics entertainment looking to expand their horizons beyond capes, and ghost and ray-guns…

Vertical are dedicated to bringing the best of Japan’s adult comics to English-speaking audiences and Helter Skelter is part of a line books targeting women readers with challenging material that breaks out of the genre ghettos usually attributed to manga. Helter Skelter Fashion Unfriendly certainly qualifies. The cautionary tale was collected into a Japanese tankōbon edition in 2003, winning a number of awards including the 2004 Osamu Tezuka Culture Prize, and was subsequently adapted into a film shown in Cannes.

Grim, existential and explicit, this is not a book for kids or the squeamish, but it is a dark marvel of graphic narrative and one well deserving of your attention.

© 2003 Kyoko Okazaki. All rights reserved.
This book is printed in ‘read-from-back-to-front’ manga format.

The Complete Crumb Comics volume 5: Happy Hippy Comix – New Edition

By R. Crumb & various (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 978-0-930193-92-8

This book contains really clever and outrageously dirty pictures, rude words, non-condemnatory drug references and allusions, apparent racism, definite sexism, godless questioning of authority and brilliantly illustrated, highly moving personal accounts and opinions.

If you – or those legally responsible for you – have a problem with that, please skip this review and don’t buy the book.

Really. I’m not kidding…

Robert Crumb is a unique creative force in comics and cartooning, with as many detractors as devotees. His uncompromising, excoriating, neurotic introspections, his pictorial rants and invectives, unceasingly picked away at societal scabs and peeked behind forbidden curtains for his own benefit, but he has always happily shared his unwholesome discoveries with anybody who takes the time to look…

In 1987 Fantagraphics Books began the nigh-impossible task of collating, collecting and publishing the chronological totality of the artist’s vast output and those critically important volumes are now being reissued.

The son of a career soldier, Robert Dennis Crumb was born in Philadelphia in 1943 into a functionally broken family. He was one of five kids who all found different ways to escape their parents’ highly volatile problems, and comic strips were paramount among them.

As had his older brother Charles, Robert immersed himself in the comics and cartoons of the day; not just reading but creating his own. Harvey Kurtzman, Carl Barks and John Stanley were particularly influential, but also comic strip masters such as E.C. Segar, Gene Ahern, Rube Goldberg, Bud (Mutt and Jeff) Fisher, Billy (Barney Google), De Beck, George (Sad Sack) Baker and Sidney (The Gumps) Smith, as well as illustrators like C.E. Brock and the wildly imaginative and surreal 1930’s Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated shorts.

Defensive, introspective and always compulsively driven, young Robert pursued art and self-control through religion with equal desperation. His early spiritual repression and flagrant, hubristic celibacy warred with his body’s growing needs…

From this point onwards, the varied and exponentially impressive breadth of Crumb’s output becomes increasingly riddled with his often hard-to-embrace themes and declamatory, potentially offensive visual vocabulary as his strips grope towards the creator’s long-sought personal artistic apotheosis, and this third volume covers material created and published between 1960-1966 as the self-tormented artist began to find a popular following in a strangely changing world.

Escaping his stormy early life, he married young and began working in-house at the American Greeting Cards Company. He discovered like minds in the growing counterculture movement and discovered LSD. By 1967 Crumb had moved to California and became an early star of Underground Commix. As such he found plenty of willing hippie chicks to assuage his fevered mind and hormonal body whilst reinventing the very nature of cartooning with such creations as Mr. Natural, Fritz the Cat, Devil Girl and a host of others. It is from this period that the engrossing, amazing and still shocking strips in this book stem…

He worked on in what was essentially a creative utopia throughout the early 1970’s but the alternative lifestyle of the Underground was already dying. Soon it would disappear: dissipated, disillusioned, dropped back “in” or demised. A few truly dedicated publishers and artists stayed the course, publishing on a far more businesslike footing as Crumb carried on creating, splitting his time between personal material and commercial art projects whilst incessantly probing deeper into his turbulent inner world.

This particular collection covers the period when the insular, isolated Crumb first began to make a name for himself with a flood of gags, posters, commercial art jobs, short strips and longer material popping up seemingly everywhere. All are faithfully reproduced in this compilation – which makes for a rather dry listing here, I’m afraid – but (trust me) the pictorial output is both engrossing and legendary.

Actually, don’t trust me: buy the book and see for yourselves…

After a photo and cartoon-stuffed (from 1968 sketchbooks) Introduction from the old scallywag himself, praising the effects of mind-altering chemicals and recalling the first heady days of Counter-Culture celebrity, the wave of visual excess and literary freewheeling begins with ‘The Old Pooperoo Pauses to Ponder’: a baroque procession of his fun-loving characters rounded off with a micro strip at the bottom, revealing Eggs Ackley’s opinion that ‘This Kid’s a Scream!’, after which Mr. Natural, Angelfood McSpade and all the rest are reassured that ‘You’re Gonna Get There Anyway’ (all from East Village Other December 1-16, 1967).

Next ‘Mr. Natural, the Man from Affiganistan’ shares more timeless wisdom with resident curious “Straight” Flakey Foont (EVO December 15-30 1968), after which a rush of shorts from EVO January 12-17 begins.

‘Sky-Hi Comics’, ‘Then on the Other Hand…’ are followed by ‘Nuttin’ but Nuttin’, ’Here She Comes! It’s Hippy!’ and ‘Junior High & his Sidekick Judy Holiday’ from the January 19-25 edition whilst ‘Those Cute Little Bearzy Wearzies/George Gwaltny’ (EVO January 26-February 1 1968) precedes Natural’s inevitable return to act as guru to ‘Schuman the Human’ from EVO February 9-15th.

The Wise one continues in revelatory style when ‘Mr. Natural Meets God’ (supplemented by) ’Gail Snail and The Walkie Talkies’ from EVO February 16-22, whilst the next weekly issue described how ‘Mr. Natural Gets the Bum’s Rush’, and Schuman declared ‘Let’s Be Honest’ before Crumb confronted the period’s racism head on with customary shocking frankness in ‘Mr. Natural Repents’, ‘Hey, Mom!’ and attendant strip ‘Let’s Have Nigger Hearts For Lunch’ (EVO March 1-7 1968).

Zap #2 June 1968, then provided wry ‘Hamburger Hi-Jinx’ with Cheezis K. Reist and shockingly introduced iconic Bête Noir ‘Angelfood McSpade’ before closing with a warning to avoid cheap imitations from ‘Mr. Natural’.

Bijou #1, from Summer 1968, then supplies a wealth of intriguing, astonishing fare leading with ‘Neato Keano Time!’ before ‘The Big Little Boy’ and ‘Bo Bo Bolinski, He’s a Clown!’ went through their paces. Following that ‘Mr. Spiff’ makes a call and ‘Here They Are! Puppets of your favourite cartoon characters!’ provides paper-dolls of Angelfood and Mr. Natural. The harsh, ironic hilarity all ends with a laidback Bijou Funnies Ad

The inescapably controversial Ms. McSpade and friends then cropped up in ‘All Asshole Comics’ (Chicago Seed, July 1968), after which covers for ‘Nope #6’ and ‘Nope #7’ (both 1968) are followed here by ‘The Zap Show’ – a captivating art jam with Rick Griffin, Victor Moscoso & S. Clay Wilson.

A ‘Fritz the Cat title page’ then acts as prologue to an outrageous tale of student terrorism and teen licentiousness in ‘Fritz the No-Good’ (taken from Cavalier, September/October 1968), after which you’ll need to rotate the book to be shocked by the interiors of digest-sized Snatch #1 (October 1968): rude and raunchy spoofs such as ‘The Adventures of Andy Hard-on’, ‘Krude Cut-Ups’ and ‘The Fight’ plus assorted gags like ‘Jailbait of the Month’, ‘Hi, Swingers’ and much more…

A rather lovely ‘Janis Joplin: original cover for Cheap Thrills (1968) is followed by

‘The Phonus Balonus Blues’ and ’Where the Action Isn’t’ (EVO September 27 1968) as well as the cover of that issue – ‘Can the Mind Know it?’

From the October 11 issue of East Village Other comes a barrage of strips: ‘Sleezy Snot Comics’, ‘Mr. Natural’, ‘Booger Buddies’ and more plus an ‘Ad for Head Comix’ whilst the October 18th edition provided both ‘Angelfood McSpade’ and ‘Cum Comix’, and October 25th a ‘Mr. Natural, disguised as a vacuum cleaner salesman, talks to the Housewives of America’ cover.

‘Edgar and Maryjane Crump’ and ‘Crime in the Streets’ both originated in EVO November 1) after which an ‘alternate cover for Zap #3’ segues into the infamous ‘Dirty Dog’ strip from Zap #3 (December 1968).

That underground classic also premiered ‘Mr. Goodbar “Off his Rocker”’, an astounding

‘Atomic Comics Jam’ with S. Clay Wilson, Gilbert Shelton, Victor Moscoso & Rick Griffin, grotesque shorts ‘Let’s Eat’ and ‘Mr. Natural’, ‘Hairy’ and ‘Street Corner Daze.’

Another digest-sized landscape section next reproduces the XXX-rated contents of Snatch #2’ (January 1969) including ‘Look Out Girls!! The Grabbies are Coming’, ‘Down on the Farm’, ‘The Family that Lays Together Stays Together’ and far more before an ‘ad for San Francisco Comic Book Company’ from Bogeyman #2, 1969, leads seamlessly into ‘Don’t Gag On It… Goof On It!’ (Gothic Blimp Works, Ltd. #1, March 1969).

The April 1969 ‘cover for Creem #2’ precedes a stunning spoof of Romance comics with ‘The Bleeding Heart Syndrome’ (Tales from the Ozone #1, 1969) before ‘Shoo Shoo Baby’ and ‘The Pricksters’ (GBW #2, 1969) suspends the black and white barrage to briefly usher in a spectacular ‘Color Section’

The polychromatic madness begins with ‘Head Comix covers’ (front and back and 1968), keeping up the pressure with the Zap Comix #2 covers’ from December, as well as a ‘Fritz the Cat cover’, the ‘Cheap Thrills’ record cover for Big Brother and the Holding Company and the December 1968Snatch #1 covers’.

The ribald rainbows end with Snatch #2 covers’ (January 1969) before ‘Flower Children on Broadway’ from Bijou #2 (1969) return us to monochrome merriment, ‘Nutsboy’ (Bogeyman #2, 1969) presages today’s teen obsession with “Slasher-flicks” and ‘Mr. Know-It-All and his pal Diz in What the Fuck’ (with S. Clay Wilson from GBW #3, 1969) continues the dark and bloody mood.

This landmark compilation concludes with Crumb’s contributions to Motor City #1 (April 1969) starting with ultra-independent femme fatal ‘Lenore Goldberg and her Girl Commandos’, after which cool dude ‘The Inimitable Boingy Baxter’ turns Detroit on its head, and mini-mystic Savannah Foomo explores reality with ordinary folk and ‘The Desperate Character’ in ‘Deep Meaning Comics’ and ‘More Deep Meaning Gommigs’, leaving good old Eggs Ackley to wrap thing up in macabre style with ‘Eyeball Kicks’

If Crumb had been able to suppress his creative questing, he could easily have settled for a lucrative career in any one of a number of graphic disciplines from illustrator to animator to jobbing comic book hack, but as this pivotal collection readily proves, the artist was haunted by the dream of something else – he just didn’t yet know what that was…

Crumb’s subtle mastery of his art-form and obsessive need to reveal his most hidden depths and every perceived defect – in himself and the world around him – has always resulted in an unquenchable fire of challenging comedy and riotous rumination, and this chronicle begins to show his growing awareness of where to look.

This superb series charting the perplexing pen-and-ink pilgrim’s progress is the perfect vehicle to introduce any (over 18) newcomers to the world of grown up comics. And if you need a way in yourself, seek out this book and the other sixteen as soon as conceivably possible…
© 1967, 1968, 1969, 1989, 2004, 2013 Robert Crumb. All contributory art material and content © the respective creators/copyright holders. All rights reserved.

The Daniel Clowes Reader: A Critical Edition of Ghost World and Other Stories, with Essays, Interviews and Annotations

By Daniel Clowes, with Ken Parille & various (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 978-1-60699-589-1

One of the greatest assets of the comics medium is the ostensibly straightforward nature of its storytelling. With pictures wedded to text, what you see is so clearly what you get. So whenever a master creator regularly, consciously and deliberately subverts that implicit convention the result might be occasionally obscure or confusing, but always utterly engrossing.

At the forefront of comics storytelling for nearly three decades, Daniel Clowes is, for many, an acquired taste. However, once he’s in your brain there’s certainly no shaking the things he can do with pen and ink, motive, character and the special kind of targeted situational magic that inhabits the world of pictures and words in static harmony.

Born in Chicago in 1961, Clowes began his career as a cartoonist with humour magazine Cracked before creating uniquely skewed short comic tales for Fantagraphics. His first piece debuted in Love and Rockets # 13 (September 1985), an introductory prelude to his retro-chic detective magazine Lloyd Llewellyn which launched soon after, running in various incarnations for three years.

In 1989 he created personal anthology vehicle Eightball and began producing a variety of tales – short and serial-length – spanning a range of topics and styles investigating all aspects of cartoon narrative from autobiography to social satire, nostalgic absurdist media-fuelled yarns to surreal, penetrating human dramas, all viewed through the lens of iconic popular cultures and social motifs.

All that material has since been collected in assorted albums with two, Ghost World and Art School Confidential, successfully adapted into critically acclaimed feature films.

His experiences in Hollywood combined with deep-seated childhood influences of noir movies and comicbooks combined and resulted in David Boring – another powerful literary comics statement.

The author is rightly renowned as a founding force in Graphic Novel publishing (a term he actually despises); instrumental in breaking the ghetto walls which had constrained the medium in English-speaking countries since the inception of the comicbook industry by creating popular stories of interest to a general audience of adults and helping the art become a recognised art form.

Now The Daniel Clowes Reader cements that idea by presenting a large body of selected classic works augmented with a profusion of scholarly articles and features, both as salute to Clowes’ achievements and an inexpensive introduction to many of the creator’s most impressive tales.

Subtitled Ghost World, Nine Short Stories and Critical Materials – Comics About Art, Life, Adolescence and Real Life, the book is compiled and edited by Literature Professor and reviewer Ken Parille, with contributions from a host of industry journalists and scholars.

The volume, packed with heavily illustrated text features, opens with an Introduction section offering thoughts and quotes from a multitude of sources in ‘Daniel Clowes on…’, followed by ‘An Aesthetic Biography of Daniel Clowes’ and a formal, informative ‘Introduction to the Daniel Clowes Reader’.

Section I: Ghost World, Girls and Adolescence offers ‘Daniel Clowes’ Introduction from Ghost World Special Edition’ before the entire tale is reproduced cover-to-cover.

In an uncanny comics-style coincidence, I was actually  in the process of completing a much-postponed review of Ghost World when this new edition arrived so, in the interests of brevity and the certain assurance that it needs a fuller appreciation, I’m breaking my own rules by not properly covering the astonishing breakthrough novel here and now.

Come back in a couple of weeks for the full Monty, but for the present just be aware that the story concerns two young slackers Enid and Rebecca who shamble through and survive a climactic change in their lives and circumstances – after which hanging out, talking music, making fanzines and being generally post-ironic no longer grip their attentions quite so forcefully…

Following the two-tone tale is a host of thoughtful and impressive essays and features on it, opening with comprehensive ‘Annotations for Ghost World’ compiled by the author and Parille, after which a full Ghost World Index precedes ‘An Interview with Daniel Clowes’ by Joshua Glenn from 1990.

Adele Melander-Dayton reveals ‘How Ghost World Made Me Brave’, Pamela Thurschwell examines ‘The Ghost Worlds in Modern Adolescence’ through the lens of the tale and Parille conducts a panel-specific literary dissection in ‘Close Reading Clowes’ Dialogue: “You’ve grown into a very beautiful young woman.”’

Kaya Oakes looks at a peculiar 1990s fad in ‘Literature at the Xerox Machine: The Rise of the Zine’ and small-press mogul Gilmore Tamny recalls the story of ‘Wiglet: An Introduction and Excerpts’ in a nostalgia-filled fillip…

The iconic lead character is expanded and probed via ‘Enid’s Bookshelf: Ghost World and Its Precursors with Poems by Russell Edson and Cartoons by Ann Roy’ and ‘Enid’s Record Player: Patience and Prudence and The Ramones’ before ‘Where Are They Now?: An Afterlife for Enid and Rebecca…’ returns a decade later in a fourth-wall bending brace of obfuscatory full-colour strips created for the Ghost World Special Edition in 2008.

This opening sally then closes with a great big ‘Cartooning Glossary for Ghost World and Other Comics’.

Section II:  Short Stories, Boys and (Post) Adolescence marries a number of pivotal Clowes’ quasi-autobiographical tales with more searching literary inquisitions. “Blue Italian Shit” and “Like a Weed, Joe”: The Inner Life of Young Clowes sets up the illuminating monochrome strips – both starring official Clowes stand-in Rodger Young.

Over many years the artist has frequently adopted all manner of cartoon glove-puppets and dummies to act as spokesmodel and mouthpiece for satire, observation and reflection…

‘Blue Italian Shit’ (from Eightball #13, 1994) is narrated by Rodger the old social misfit, recalling his life as an 18-year old virgin in 1979, whilst ‘Like a Weed, Joe’ (Eightball #16, 1995) finds a younger Young in 1974, suffering from what might be first love and simultaneously hanging out with bad influence/white trash Bemis, a best friend he has no affection for but who is at least more fun than his dementia-challenged, daily diminishing grandparent and guardians…

Both episodes are fully annotated and followed by ‘Clowes on Rodger Young, Gender and Autobiography: Excerpts from Five Interviews’ and Scott Saul’s “Etc., Etc.”: the Post-Punk Ballad of Rodger Young (the name was appropriated from a song about a real WWII war-hero who was killed in 1943), before another article by Pirelle introduces the next two strips in this section.

‘“The Party” and “Buddy Bradley in Who Would You Rather Fuck: Ginger or Mary Ann?”: Daniel Clowes vs. The Ironic Hipster’ concentrate on more contemporary sallies.

Rendered in full colour, ‘The Party’ (Eightball #11, 1993) is again cruelly, destructively autobiographical: revealing a harshly self-castigating inner monologue during a celebration both unwanted and unwelcome, whilst in monochrome one-pager ‘Buddy Bradley in Who Would You Rather Fuck: Ginger or Mary Ann?’ (Eightball #13, 1994), Clowes borrows characters from colleague cartoonist Peter Bagge to lampoon commercialism in the “Slacker Generation” with devastating effect.

This is followed by a generalised discussion of Clowes’ unique viewpoint in Against Groovy by Joshua Glenn, further thoughts on commercialism in society in “Me Worry?”/“U Buy”: Clowes and Advertising in the 1990s, before ‘“Black Nylon”: Super-Beings and Psychic Battles’ discusses the artist’s most impenetrable yarn (reproduced in full from Eightball #18 (1995).

‘Black Nylon’ is a dreamy, scary, laconic, terse superhero/noir/psychodrama that should be read not debated, but is followed by a six-stage argument ‘Decoding “Black Nylon”’ and extensive scene-by-scene commentary by Parille.

Section III: Comics, Artists and Audiences develops ideas on the interdependent relationships that inform the creator’s efforts and rewards, and opens with ‘“Daniel G. Clowes®™ in Just Another Day”: Truth, Lies and Autobiography’ before the eponymous strip (from Eightball #5 (1991) mercilessly skewers the 1990s fad for introspective self-expression and, following more annotations, preloads the next strip with the brief discourse ‘“Introduction”: Superheroes, Satire and Sympathy’.

The cartoon tale ‘Introduction’ (from a revised collected edition of the graphic novel Pussey! in 2006) traces Clowes’ career trajectory through comics reader to art-school and beyond, in one of his most forthright and direct autobiographical strips, fully annotated by Parille.

The cartoonist’s unhappy relationship with vocational art training and his days at Pratt Institute is further dissected in ‘“Art School Confidential”: The Cartoonist as Undercover Cop’ before all the horrors and parasites are hilariously, graphically exposed in the full-colour Mad magazine inspired ‘Art School Confidential’ (Eightball #7, November 1991).

‘Changing Faces’ is a packed page tracking the evolution and constant revision of the artist’s past works after which ‘“Ugly Girls”: Looking at Ugly to Find Beauty’ discusses Clowes’ antipathy to manufactured, commercial, cosmeticised, socially-acceptable standards of beauty, before the stunning monochromatic – and annotated – cartoon diatribe ‘Ugly Girls’ (Eightball #8 1992) leads into a lengthy and far-reaching discussion by Anne Mallory and Parille regarding ‘Urban Romanticism, Mad Magazine and the Aesthetics of Ugly (1986-1998)’

‘Six Comic Strips about the “Artistic Triangle: Artist, Art and Audience’ precedes and deconstructs the following short pieces ‘King Ego’ (Eightball #12 1993), ‘Man-Child’, ‘Tom Pudd’, ‘Wallace Wood’ and ‘You’ (all from Twentieth Century Eightball 2002) whilst the extended ‘Justin M. Damiano’ (The Book of Other People, 2008) excoriates the isolating role of critic/reviewer…

‘Modern Cartoonist’ (originally an insert pamphlet from Eightball #18 1997), is Clowes’ manifesto – don’t call it a mission statement – a powerful pictorial/typographic polemic preceded here by the illuminating Modern Cartoonist: The Truth about Comics (again copiously annotated) and leads quite naturally into large tell-all feature Worlds on Paper: An Interview with Daniel Clowes on His Creative Process by Darcy Sullivan as well as A Daniel Clowes Chronology and a list For Further Reading

This is another of those too-rare productions that shouldn’t really be reviewed, just read, with themes of adolescence, maturity, the quest for self and the impending end of life delivered via a landscape of comics, film noir, mock-heroics – and the irreducible knowledge that families make individuals – resulting in a truly personal experience for every reader.

It’s also a solid acknowledgement that only kids’ comics are for kids these days, and confirmation that the medium of cartooning in the English language has at last reached the lofty pinnacle of music, literature and film: popular commercial fields and forms of expression which can encompass and generate, trash, mediocrity and pure capital A Art…

All images and materials © 2013, Daniel Clowes, except where otherwise expressly held by individual copyright holders and used here by permission. The Daniel Clowes Reader: A Critical Edition of Ghost World and Other Stories, with Essays, Interviews and Annotations is © 2013 Ken Parille. This edition © 2013 Fantagraphics Books, Inc. All rights reserved.

Zippy: the Dingburg Diaries – June 2010-January 2013 (Zippy Annual volume 11)

By Bill Griffiths (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 978-1-60699-641-6

Starting life as a subversive and broadly comedic underground cartoon in 1971, Bill Griffith’s absurdist commentary on American society has since grown into such a prodigious and pervasive counter-culture landmark that it’s almost a bastion of the civilisation it constantly scrutinises and castigates.

Almost: there’s still a lot of Americans who don’t like and certainly don’t get Zippy the Pinhead

Legendarily based on the microcephalic Schlitzie from Tod Browning’s controversial 1932 film “Freaks” and P.T. Barnum’s carnival attraction Zip the Pinhead, Griffith’s Muu-Muu clad genial simpleton first appeared in Real Pulp Comix #1 (March 1971) and other scurrilous home-made counter-culture pamphlet publications before winning a regular slot in the prominent youth culture newspaper The Berkley Barb in 1976.

Soon picking up syndication across America and the world, Zippy “dropped in” during the ultra-conservative Reagan years when, in 1985, King Features began syndicating the strip, launching it in the San Francisco Examiner.

Zippy’s ruminations and Dadaist anti-exploits have expanded over the years to include his own nuclear family and cat, and a peculiar cast of iconic regulars such as embodiment of rampant callous Capitalism Mr. The Toad, the star’s antithetical brother Lippy (conceptual and ideological opposite in the grand tradition of Happy Hooligan’s sibling Gloomy Gus, and thus the epitome of the average mainstream US citizen), tired, ink-fingered Griffy – analogue of the cartoonist and even God the creator him/her/them/itself…

The strip follows few conventions although it is staggeringly well-rendered in a bewildering variety of styles. Plot-lines and narratives, even day-to-day traditional gags are usually eschewed in favour of declamatory statements of bizarre, quasi-philosophical and often surreal concept-strings that resemble word (and occasionally picture) association or automatic writing, all highlighting the ongoing tsunami of globalisation as experienced by every acme of our modern culture.

Be it the latest fad in consumer electronics or celebrity fashion and “newsfotainment” the brightly caparisoned denizens of Dingburg USA – an entire town of quaint, genteel, broadly identical like-minded complacent pinheads and happily American consumers – simply lap it all up …

The strip is the home of the damning non-sequitur and has added to the global lexicon such phrases as “Yow!” and “Are we having fun yet?” as the Dingburgers go about their appointed courses, following fads, consuming junk food and drinking Valvoline (kids – do not try this at home or anywhere else!)

Being free of logical constraint and internal consistency, Zippy’s Daily and Sunday forays against The Norm can encompass everything from time travel, talking objects, shopping lists, radical philosophy, caricature, majorly dead minor celebrities, packaging ingredients, political, social and metaphysical ponderings, toy crazes, vintage TV show memories and even purely visual or calligraphic episodes. It is weird and wonderful and not everybody gets it – even those of us who been friends of Zippy’s for years…

This latest volume – featuring material published between June 2010 and January 2013 – is broken into chaptered segments beginning with Dingburg: a free-associating batch of stand-alone instalments acting as travelogue and extended tour of the odd old home town and reintroducing the everyday folk who live there through such appealing situations as ‘Dingamajig’, ‘Dancing with the Czars’, ‘Totally Zygomatic’ or ‘Kitty, Kitty Bang-Bang’

This is followed by a selection of skits and sketches dealing with the community’s Big Issues such as Beatniks, Bowling, Laundry & Food. Here ‘Like, The End’, ‘Bongos!!’, ‘Come Loaf with Me…’ and ‘Crossing the Fowl Line’ inevitably lead to ‘Percolating’, ‘Downers’ and ‘Cracking the Zip Code’ for ‘Persons of Pinterest’ after which follows a number of vignettes delineating the low character of that Bachtrian Bounder Mr. The Toad via such revelatory episodes as ‘Oversaxed’, ‘A Jab at Rehab’, ‘And He Really Memes It’, ‘Banana Oil Well’ and ‘Living the Toad Code’.

As you might suspect, Sunday Color highlights the bigger, bolder, un-monochromed escapades and focuses far more on Zippy and his immediate family. Nonetheless even you won’t be expecting such intriguing experiences as ‘Let a Smile be your Umbrella’, ‘Zippy Receives a Fraudulent Email’ or ‘Zippy’s Three States of Grace…’ Mister, Miss or Mrs. Smartypants…!

More astute readers might gain a smidgen of insight into our dullard star in Zippy Solowith more brief but illuminating strips such as ‘Hook, Line and Thinker’, ‘High Wired’, ‘Goretex Happens’, ‘Backpacking in Bushmillerland’ or ‘Up Stares, Down Stares’ and glean the making of the man from tales of the pinhead as a boy in the pastiche-frenzied Little Zippy with ‘Does Cute Commute?’, ‘Learn, Zippy, Learn’, ‘No Adult Supervision’, ‘Pre-Pubescent Pugilist’ and ‘Science Infliction’

Art, Music & Comics concentrates on the finer things of Dingburg life with glimpses into and instruction on ‘Schnozznostication’, ‘Paleosputnik’, ‘Artache’, ‘Zippy Tone’, ‘Cartoona Obscura’ and playing ‘Peace Accordion’ ‘With a Song in my Brain’ as well a revealing the results of the Annual Best Currently Unpublished Daily Comic Strip of the Past Award…

Zerbina & Other Relationships explores the private life of that very public woman who is Zippy’s good lady wife via ‘No Semolina’, ‘A Whiter Shade of Newsprint’, ‘Crossing the Borderline Personality’ and ‘Love in the Time of Flatulence’ amongst other kiss-and-tell moments.

Roadside devotes time and space to the eponymous protagonist’s peregrinations the length and breadth and especially width of America, fixating briefly upon ‘Square Root Beer’, ‘Breakfast with Mr. Johnson’ and ‘Love in the Outback’

God is always there and this section recounts some of His revelatory interactions with Dingburg regulars ‘Per Diem’. ‘His Favorite Band? Genesis’. He likes ‘Playing Canasta with the Universe’, debating ‘Religious Thimbleism’ and performing tricks like ‘Abracadingburg’.

This massive manic missive from the edge ends with some longer, continued Stories such as an octet of awesomeness entitled ‘The Eightest Stories Ever Told’ before tracing the history of Dingburg from 1840 (‘The Pedantic Era’) to 1958 (‘Before Youtube’), learning Zippy’s automotives tastes in ‘Car Toon’ 1 through 5 and closing with the gritty saga of the Dingburg Normalium “where misfits and difficult citizens are kept”…

Existential ripostes, spiritual revelations, social gaffes and cultural belly-flops are a daily occurrence in Zippy town where the collected musings of America’s most engaging Idiot-Savant are incontrovertibly the perfect cult-strip for jaded smart folks. This latest volume finds cretin and creator on absolute top form and if you like this sort of stuff you’ll adore another heaping helping of it.

Aren’t you having Fun Yet?
© 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Bill Griffith. All rights reserved.

A Cartoon History of the Monarchy

By Michael Wynn Jones (Macmillan)
ASIN: B001H0OAOO           ISBN: 0-333-19805-0

Just picked this up in a second-hand shop and thought of you – well, some of you anyway – on this anniversary day…

We’re far too reluctant in this country to celebrate the history and quality of our own cartooning tradition; preferring simply to remark on the attention-grabbers or impressive longevity of one or two classic and venerable veterans of the pen-&-ink game, when the actual truth is that for an incredibly long time the political art movement of the Empire and Commonwealth – and its enemies – was vast, varied and fantastically influential.

The British wing of the form has been magnificently serviced over the centuries by masters of form, line, wash and most importantly ideas, repeatedly tickling our funny bones or enraging our sleeping consciences and sensibilities, all whilst poking our communal pomposities and fascinations.

From its earliest inception, satiric draughtsmanship has been used to attack and sell: initially ideas, values, opinions and prejudices or but eventually actual products too. In newspapers, magazines and especially comicbooks, the sheer power of graphic narrative, with its ability to create emotional affinities, has led to the creation of unforgettable images and characters – and the destruction of real people or social systems.

When those creations can affect the daily lives of millions of readers, the force that they can apply in the commercial or political arena is almost irresistible…

In Britain the cartoonist has held a bizarrely precarious position of power for centuries: the deftly designed bombastic broadside or savagely surgical satirical slice instantly capable of ridiculing, exposing, uplifting or deflating the powerfully elevated, unapproachable and apparently untouchable with a simple shaped-charge of scandalous wit and crushingly clear, universally understandable visual metaphor.

For this method of concept transmission, lack of literacy or education is no barrier. As the Catholic Church proved millennia ago with the Stations of the Cross, stained glass windows and a pantheon of idealised saints, a picture is worth far more than a thousand words…

For as long as we’ve had printing in this country there have been scurrilous gadfly artists commentating on rulers, society and all iniquities: pictorially haranguing the powerful, pompous, privileged and just plain perfidious through swingeing satire and cunning caricature. Sometimes artists have been just plain mean…

Britain had no monopoly on talent and indignation, and this canny compendium also frequently features European – and latterly American – takes on our scandalous Royals and oddball citizenry…

Released in 1978 and desperately in need of updating and re-issue, A Cartoon History of the Monarchy offers a potted, far from hagiographic history and deliciously skewed view of our Ruling Elite in all their unsavoury glory; an unbroken line of jibes, asides and broadsides gathered from divers sources by jobbing journalist and aficionado of japes, lampoons and sketches Michael Wynn Jones, who here casts a discriminating eye from the reign of Elizabeth I up until just before the Silver Jubilee of the second Regina to bear the name…

Following a handy list of the Kings and Queens of England, the pomposity-puncturing procession commences with The Age of Intolerance, reproducing cartoons and adding commentary dealing with the doings of the ten monarchs from Elizabeth I – George II.

The accompanying essays describe the zeitgeist of those times – the religious question as England, Wales, Ireland and eventually Scotland came to numerous crises regarding succession.

That issue always revolved around whether the land should be Catholic or Protestant. ‘Popes, Plots and Puritans’ led to the final solution when ‘The Men from Hanover’ arrived to settle the matter and fully cement the nation under the Church of England.

The savage sampling of the nation and continent’s opinions are represented here by 26 visual bombards such as the allegorical assault ‘Diana and Callisto’ by Dutch artist Miricenys from 1585, the anonymous ‘England’s Miraculous Preservation’ from 1648 and ‘The Royal Oake of Brittayne’ (from 1649) amongst so many others.

Cartoon grotesques such as ‘Cromwell’s Car’ (1649) or ‘Babel and Bethel’ (1679) appear beside such scandalous foreign attacks as Dutch illustrator Dusart’s ‘Fr. James King’ and the anonymous French pictorial polemic ‘Notice of Burial’ (both from 1690). We British riposted with jeering celebrations of martial triumphs such as ‘The Arrival of William and Mary’ (1689), ‘The Great Eclipse of the Sun’ (simultaneously a topical spin on a solar event in 1706 and the defeat of “Sun King” Louis XIV by the British armies of Queen Anne), and ‘A Bridle for the French King’ from the same year.

Domestic contretemps are highlighted through such draughtsman’s delights as the anonymous 1743 shocker ‘The Hanover Bubble’, Ebersley’s ‘The Agreeable Contrast’ (from 1746 and attacking King George’s brother “Butcher” Cumberland’s treatment of Jacobites after the defeat of the Young Pretender), and the exposure of Popish influence in the Highlands described by ‘The Chevalier’s Market’ from 1745…

Whereas much of this material – both British and foreign – was generally national commentary and straight religio-political assault, by the time period covered in The Wickedest Age: George III – George IV (1760-1830) the cartoon had also evolved into a weapon designed to wound with wit and crush through cruel caricature.

After covering the major crises and scandals of the generally sensible – if parsimonious – third George in ‘The Royal Malady’, ‘“The Dregs of Their Dull Race”’ and ‘Twilight Years’, a veritable Golden Age of popular disapproval and artistic mugging of the Prince Regent and much-delayed, frustrated monarch (and his many mistresses) is covered in ‘The Prince of Whales’, ‘The Secret Marriage’, ‘“Pray Get Me a Glass of Brandy”’ and ‘Delicate Investigations’.

The public disdain of the times generated a fusillade of cartoon prints, represented here by 35 graphic bombards and savage cartoon sallies by names which have become as famous as any ruler. However master character assassins Townsend (‘The Scotch hurdy-gurdy’), George Cruikshank (‘Royal Condescension’), Gillray (‘A New Way to Pay the National Debt’, ‘A Voluptuary under the Horrors of Digestion’), Rowlandson (‘The Prospect Before Us’) and Heath (‘A Triumph of innocence over perjury’) are ably bolstered by lesser lights West (‘The Save-all and the Extinguisher!’), Williams (‘Low Life above stairs’), Vowles (‘The shelter for the destitute’) and Marshall (‘The kettle calling the pot ugly names’) and a few anonymous pen-pricks who nevertheless hit hard with ‘Tempora Mutantor’, ‘The captive Prince’ and ‘Reading of the Imperial decree’ and more.

As periodical publication overtook print-shops as the greatest disseminators of carton imagery, the open savagery and targeted vulgarity of caricaturists was gradually replaced with mannered, if barbed, genteel observation.

Thus The Age of Discretion: William IV, Victoria (spanning 1830-1901) offers a different style of Royal Commentary: no less challenging, but certainly much more overtly respectful when critical. Sometimes, though, this new family-oriented cartooning, even in magazines such as Punch and The Times, simply sunk to fawning veneration as the institution of monarchy became more and more removed from the lives of the citizenry.

William’s times are summed up in text via ‘The Sailor King’ and ‘Reform Billy’ whilst Victoria’s epochal reign and the Parliamentarians who increasingly wielded the decisive power is described through ‘The Queen of the Whigs’, ‘Revolutions are bad for the Country’, ‘The Black and the Brown’ and ‘Years of Widowhood’.

The 36 collected images capture those days of Empire, with Heath, Seymour and Doyle predominant in illustrating bluff sea-dog William’s socially contentious days of Reform.

Victoria’s years, from engaging popular ingénue Queen, through happy bride to politically intrusive grand dame of European Court intrigue, highlights the craft of Doyle (‘The Queen in Danger’, 1837), Leech, (‘There’s Always Something’, 1852), Tenniel (‘Queen Hermione’, 1865, ‘New Crowns for Old Ones!’, 1876), Morgan (‘Where is Britannia?’ and ‘A Brown Study’ – both 1867) and Sambourne (‘Kaiser-i-Hind’, 1876) amongst so many others.

Her latter years also saw a rise in social conscience cartooning as displayed by the crusading Merry with ‘The Scapegrace of the Family’ (1880), ‘The fall of the rebels’ in 1886 and more, or the telling modernist take of Max Beerbohm whose ‘The rare, the rather awful visits of Albert Edward to Windsor Castle’, cuttingly illustrated the rift between the Empress and her playboy heir…

Despite her well-known disapproval, the good-time Prince became an effective king as was his son, both covered in The Edwardian Age: Edward VII – George V, spanning 1901-1936. Their dutiful achievements are recounted in ‘The Coming King’ and ‘The First Gentleman of Europe’ before war with Germany necessitated a family name change for George – ‘The First Windsor’

With kings increasingly used as good-will ambassadors and being cited in scandals that frequently ended in court, the 30 cartoons included in this section include many German pieces from not only the war years but also the tense decade that preceded them, as Imperial Superpowers jostled for position and tentatively used propaganda to appeal to the world’s “unwashed masses” for justification for their aims and ambitions.

Beside veteran caricaturists such as Leech, Morgan, May, Partridge, Staniforth and David Low are merciless lampoons from German cartoonists Brandt, Blir, Heine, Gulbransson and Johnson as well as French illustrator Veber and lone American Kirby.

Our pictorial history lesson concludes with The Age of Respectability: Edward VIII, George VI, Elizabeth II generally skipping World War II, concentrating instead on the openly secret scandal of Edward and Mrs Simpson in ‘Abdication’ before the advent of ‘New Elizabethans’ brought a modern age of rulers as sideshow attractions…

Although Fleet Street chose to whitewash and suppress the affair between a King-in-waiting and the American divorcee, the rest of the world made great play of the situation: as seen here with 11 telling cartoon shots from Americans McCutcheon and Orro, whilst French scribbler Effel posited typically insouciant Gallic ‘Une Solution’ and German-based Gulbransson played up the true romance angle…

In the meantime British cartoonist Low had to be at his most obliquely hilarious, delineating the crisis by not mentioning it, and Punch stars like Partridge steadfastly pursued a line of deferential, tragic sacrifice…

Although there is very little material featuring wartime monarch George VI – a propaganda casualty of the conflict – the last 20 images herein celebrate the changing image of a very public Royal Family as pictured by names very familiar to contemporary cartoon lovers.

The imagery is also contextually far more familiar – and presumably comfortable – to modern tastes as print media generally learned to save their vitriol for politicians and celebrities and reserved only minor chidings and silly teasing for “the Royals”, as seen in ‘Birthday Greetings’ and ‘Under the Splendid Empire Tree’ by Shepard from 1947 or Illingworth’s 1951 panels ‘Family Ties’ and ‘Happy Returns’.

Papers were, however, happy to utilise the monarchy to score points against governments, as seen in an attack on Enoch Powell (Cummings’ ‘Ministry of Repatriation’) and the battle between Rhodesia’s Ian Smith and Harold Wilson lampooned in ‘Your Move!’ by Jak (both from 1968) or the legendary Giles’ ‘New Rent Assistance Bill’ (1971).

Also offering acerbic jollity of a far more blueblood-specific variety are cartoon giants Trog and Waite who join the abovementioned in exploiting the Royal Family’s gift for headline-stealing gaffes in such daring gags as ‘I Suppose we did send them to the Right Schools?’, ‘I Suppose she’ll think these are of the Queen Mother’, ‘More Pay’ and ‘Andrew’s Exchange Student’: coming full circle with the best of Hanoverian excesses scrutinised by a cost-conscious government and public – but this time for rather more gentle laughs…

Appended with a scholarly section of Acknowledgements, Illustration sources and Index of artists, this is an extremely welcoming and effective introduction to the lasting relationship between Royalty, Church and Fourth Estate that offers a fantastic overview of Regal adaptability and cultural life through a wealth of cunningly contrived images and pictorial iconography that reshaped society and the world.

These are timeless examples of the political pictorialist’s uncanny power and, as signs of the times, form a surprising effecting gestalt of the never-happy nation’s feeling and character…

None of that actually matters now, since these cartoons have performed the task they were intended for: shaping the thoughts and attitudes of generations of voters. That they have also stood the test of time and remain as beloved relics of a lethal art form is true testament to their power and passion.

Stuffed with astounding images, fascinating lost ephemera and mouth-watering tastes of comic art no aficionado could resist, this colossal collection is a beautiful piece of cartoon history that will delight and tantalise all who read it and truly deserves to be back on bookshelves…
© Michael Wynn Jones 1978. All rights reserved.

The Best of Neat Stuff

By Peter Bagge (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 0-930193-53-9

Having had such a great time reading Other Stuff the other day I’ve decided to finally spotlight an old and cruelly out of print tome from 1987 that I’ve been meaning to rave about for simply ages: one packed with the superb but far too seldom seen formative appearances of such landmarks of pop culture as Buddy Bradley, Junior and Studs Kirby

Peter Bagge is prominent these days as a fiery, laser-mouthed, superbly acerbic and well-established, award-winning cartoonist, animator and musician, responsible for incredibly addictive, sharply satirical strips examining contemporary American life, but once upon a time he was just another strident, gifted jobbing cartoonist trying to make a living.

Born in Peekskill, Westchester County, New York on 11th December 1957, he was one of four kids in a ferociously Catholic military family. Like esteemed colleague Robert Crumb a generation earlier, Bagge escaped that emotionally toxic, fight-filled environment as soon as possible, moving to New York City in the mid-1970s to study at the celebrated School of Visual Arts.

He soon dropped out, however, and began working in the vibrant alternative publishing field, producing strips and panels for Punk Magazine, Screw, High Times, East Village Eye (where the first Junior strip debuted), World War Three and others.

Meeting like-minded artists he began self and co-publishing comics and when Crumb saw copies of Comical Funnies – produced with new friend John Holstrom – Bagge was offered space in and eventually the Editorship of the seminal magazine Weirdo in 1983.

He augmented his 3-year tenure there with various paying gigs at Screw, Swank, Video X, Video Games Magazine, The Rocket, Bad News and elsewhere.

In 1984 Bagge relocated to Seattle, Washington State and began his association with alternative/Independent publisher Fantagraphics. The following year his spectacularly idiosyncratic cartoon magazine Neat Stuff launched as a thrice-yearly vehicle of outrageous personal expression and societal observation. His stark, manic, topically surreal strips starring old creations like Studs Kirby, Junior, Buddy Bradleys and Girly Girl soon made him a darling of the emerging West Coast Grunge scene.

Neat Stuff – and its eventual successor Hate - quickly made Bagge a household name… at least in more progressive households…

Neat Stuff ran from 1985-1989 and was a perfect pioneering vehicle for the burgeoning graphic novel market. This early compilation came half-way through the run, dazzled for a little while and then disappeared. Even though much of the anthologised material has since been reprinted in solo editions dedicated to specific members of the eclectic cast, I for one would dearly love to see the series revived, revised and released in some sort of definitive edition…

This glorious monochrome, album-sized compendium of seldom-seen strips is stuffed with deliciously fluid drawings and razor-edged, broadly baroque comedically absurdist observations with incisive, deeply intimate questioning quandaries and observations on living. Don’t panic though: it’s much more fun than it sounds, and the constant confrontations with a changing world everybody was – and still is – increasingly out of step with make for terrifically mature reading fun…

Following Robert Crumb’s informative Introduction ‘Peter Bagge – The R. Crumb of the Eighties’, the crazed cartography begins with a selection of Studs Kirby strips starting with ‘A Few Words from Studs Kirby’, after which philosophical diatribe the quintessential Reagan-Era Oaf establishes his credentials in ‘Studs Kirby Gets Drunk by Himself’ before being sucked whole into a changing consumer society when ‘Studs Kirby Gets Cable TV’

Girly Girl may be the little lass next door, but that’s simply one more reason to move house. The hyper-active, impulse-control challenged tyke debuted in appalling style with pals Chuckie Boy and the Goon on the Moon in ‘Uh Oh, Here Comes Girly Girl’, before springing back undaunted to take on the rise in civilian journalism (or is it just spying on people) in ‘Candid-Camera-Star-Search-Solid-Gold-This-Is-Your-Life-Lip-Sync-Contest-In-Reverse’ and then proved once and for all just why she will never be ‘Little Miss Popularity’

Bagge’s greatest hit was always the horrifically dysfunctional traditional values family The Bradleys and these painfully hilarious early forays prove why as ‘Ye Gads, It’s The Bradleys!’ introduces drunken ogre Dad, shrewish Mom and their ghastly progeny Buddy, Babs and Butch who quickly show their true worth as ‘Mother’s Little Helpers’

Buddy and his shiftless pal Tom take centre stage in ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Refuge’ when the worthless firstborn goes looking for old LPs at a second-hand record shop, before little Butch passes on the cruel life-coping skills he leaned from his big brother in ‘The Trickle Down Theory’

There then follows a joyously eccentric interlude as we happily focus on sheer exuberant graphic madness with a page of nine ‘Neat Stuff Trading Cards’.

Sheltered Momma’s boy Junior finally leaves the happy maternal nest – although hardly from choice – to find shelter in a far-from-innocuous boarding house in ‘The Cabbage’, where he swiftly packs in a lot of insalubrious second-hand living whilst under the scurvy wing of landlord Mr. Frank.

However ‘The Road to Manhood’ is perilous and soon Junior is going backwards not forward…

Chet and Bunny Leeway debuted in Bad News and eventually became the family stars of Adobe’s Website (see Other Stuff for details), but in the first two untitled strips here those ordinary suburbanites merely discuss domestic matters in their usual manner (kids; never, never, never try this at home – yours or anybody else’s) and assess each other’s musical gifts before Chet discovers the allure of Malls in ‘Life’s A Bitch And Then You Die’.

There’s also a selection of Miscellaneous strips included here beginning with the darkly obsessive ‘Sometimes I Feel Like I’m Going Crazy’, after which ‘Bang the Head that Does Not Bang’ discloses the truth about dads and the teens they ferry to rock concerts, and ‘Minimum Wage Love’ offers insights into mating rituals and first jobs.

It isn’t pretty and the Bitter to Sweet ratio is heavily disproportionate…

There’s more magnificently liberating graphic license on show in ‘Wheeeeee! Whoaa! Woops!!’ whilst dark meta-real revelations abound in the too-true-to-be-factual story of school pressure in ‘The Reject’ – a strip first seen in Weirdo

Also on show: a fulsome and fascinating background feature – complete with early illustrations – in Origins – an Explanation of the Characters in Neat Stuff, as well as a peachy keen sketch and Bagge Biography to slavishly enjoy in the concluding About the Author featurette…

Bagge has always been about skewering stupidity, spotlighting pomposity and generally exposing the day-to-day aggravations and institutionalized insanities of modern life, and these strips offer a beguiling peek into his formative process: a treat no cartoon-loving shibboleth-tipping rebel should miss…
© 1987 Peter Bagge. Introduction © 1987 R. Crumb. All rights reserved.

Peter Bagge’s Other Stuff

By Peter Bagge with R. Crumb, Alan Moore, Adrian Tomine, Dan Clowes, Johnny Ryan, Danny Hellman, Gilbert & Jaime Hernadez, Joanne Bagge & various (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 978-1-60699-622-5

You probably know Peter Bagge as the fiery, wise-mouthed, superbly acerbic cartoonist responsible for incredibly addictive, sharply satirical strips about American life that featured in such wonderful magazines as Neat Stuff and Hate, his superbly strident Buddy Bradley stories or even his forays into the more-or-less comics mainstream with such works as DC’s Yeah!

But the graphic ridiculist also has a commercial impetus, whimsical nature, politically active side (as cartoonist and societal commentator for the Libertarian publication Reason) and a secret life outside comics.

Thus this glorious compendium of seldom-seen strips from a variety of publications has been compiled by Fantagraphics, in a (mostly) full-colour softcover collection stuffed with deliciously fluid drawings and razor-sharp polemic, broadly comedic or surreal observations and, as ever, sharply incisive, highly rational and deeply intimate questioning quandaries and observations.

Bagge’s oeuvre is skewering stupidity, spotlighting pomposity and generally exposing the day-to-day aggravations and institutionalized insanities of modern urban life and these strips, from such diverse sources as his own Hate Annuals, Hate Jamboree, Weirdo, El Rios, newspapers such as The Stranger and LA Times as well as publications like Magnet Magazine, Spin, Razor, Discover, Details, Toro, Vice and software company Adobe’s website from the 1980s to the present, offer a fascinating insight into his world, working as they do under the constraints of a client’s prerequisites…

They’re still all outrageously hilarious and powerfully effective though, even when filtered through the lens of cartoon collaborators such as the sparkling pantheon featured here…

Following an extensive, detail-packed explanatory Introduction, the madness begins to unfold in a section collecting all the adventures of classy, racily moderne young broad Lovey (first seen in Hate Annual #1, 2, 4 and 5 and The Stranger from 2000-2004) beginning with ‘Gender-Bending Hyjinx’ progressing to the gloriously distasteful ‘The Gaggle and the Gimp!’ before revealing ‘The Real André’ and indulging in ‘A Party to Forget’

The music scene gets a wry shellacking in Rock ‘n’ Roll – covering material from 1995-2012 – which opens with a string of ‘Musical Urban Legends Presents’ single-pagers from Magnet including ‘Gnomes are Real’, ‘A Winning Formula’, ‘Dinner with Brian (Part One)’, ‘The Stuff of Genius’, ‘What Price Love?’, ‘Dinner with Brian (Wilson, that is) Part 2’, ‘Little Richard in “Ménage a Whah?!”’, ‘Kiss my Baby’ and ‘Start Spreadin’ the News’ whilst ‘Man with a Vision’ lampoons youthful ambition in a smart strip which originally debuted in Spin.

The chapter then closes with a trio of Beach Boys-themed bad vibrations as ‘Murry Wilson: Rock ‘n’ Roll Dad’ appals in ‘Turn Back the Hands of Time’ (co-created with Dana Gould), meets Charles Manson in ‘Helter Skelter, My Ass’ and treats his son ‘The Meal Ticket’ just as you always suspected he did…

The promised Collaborations cover the period 1996-2002 and mostly come from Hate, finding Bagge working in various roles such as scripter of ‘Me’ illustrated by Gilbert Hernandez, and illustrator of ‘Go Ask Alice’, written by Alice Cooper and appearing in Spin.

‘Shamrock Squid: Autobiographical Cartoonist!’ was drawn by Adrian Tomine, ‘The Hasty Smear of my Smile…’ exposing the sordid life of the Kool-Aid Man was written by Alan Moore & inked by Eric Reynolds, whilst ‘Life in these United States’ was rendered by Daniel Clowes and debuted in Weirdo.

Iconoclastic Johnny Ryan drew ‘Dildobert Joins the Al-Qaeda’, the autobiographical delight ‘What’s in a Name?’ was illustrated by Danny Hellman, sordid strip spoof ‘Caffy’ was drawn by R. Crumb, ‘Shamrock Squid in Up the Irish!’ was inked by Eric Reynolds and the hilarious ‘The Action Suits Story’ was illustrated by Jaime Hernandez.

There are a number of strips throughout the volume gleefully dissing long-time inker and collaborator Jim Blanchard in such cruel and revelatory epics as ‘Backyard Funnies’ written & pencilled by Reynolds, ‘Don’t Knock It If You Haven’t Tried It’ (written & drawn by Pat Moriarty), ‘Bleachy Blanchard’ written & drawn by Kevin Scalzo, and ‘Harassed Citizen’ written & drawn by Rick Altergott. There’s also the scathing solo effort ‘That Darn Blanchard’ in the introduction pages too…

“True” Facts covers educational (sort of) features such as biographies of scientists from Discover Magazine in 2009. These highlight Robert Brown in ‘I’ll Second That Motion’, Wallace “Gloomy Gus” Carothers in ‘It’s a Wonderful Legacy’, reveal what ‘Mendeleyev Predicts!’, heralds Joseph Priestly as ‘Phlogiston’s Last Champion!’, details Major Walter Reed’s ghastly experiments in ‘Yellow Fever Fever!’ and celebrates ancient Moslem savant Taqi al-Din in ‘Oh, What a Spin I’m In!’

From 1998 ‘So Much Comedy, So Little Time’ (from Details) exposes the festival circuit whilst the autobiographical ‘East Coast, West Coast, Blah, Blah, Blah…’ came from Road Strips in 2005 and ‘Partying with the “Dickster”’ revealed a truth about Vice President Cheney in a 2007 strip from the LA Times… as did radio expose ‘At the End of the Day…’

‘Stuff I Know about Belgium, by Some Dumb American’, which originated in El Rios in 2010, the savagely self-excoriating ‘What Was Wrong With Us?’ from 2002, the incisive ‘Game Day with the Quarterback’s Wife’ (Toro, 2004) and ‘The Expert’ (Vice, 2006) all explore humanity’s foible-besmirched mundanity, and this collection more or less concludes with a series originally shown as entertainment content on Adobe’s homepage in 2000 before being reprinted in Hate Annual #6.

Restored and re-coloured by Bagge’s most consistent collaborator – his wife Joanne -

The Shut-Ins follows the slow seduction and fall of computer illiterates Chet and Bunny in ‘Meet the Shut-Ins’, ‘Meet Santiago’, ‘Pretty Flowers’, ‘Make the World Go Away’, ‘The Great Indoors’, ‘Withdrawal Symptoms’, ‘Life Among the Earthlings’, ‘A Short-Lived Recovery’, ‘Our Babies’, ‘Irrigation Blues’, ‘The Funeral’, ‘No Good for the ‘Hood’’, ‘The Meg Ryan Factor’, ‘Oh, What a Night!’, ‘Taking Stock’, ‘Slowly He Turned’, ‘Rich, Rich, Rich!’, ‘Dot Com Casualties’ and ‘Can I Interest You in Some Fairy Dust?’

Even after all that the cartoon craziness goes on as the designers squeeze in two more lost classics -‘Crazy Exes’ from Spanish GQ in 2000 and, on the back cover, ‘Good Ol’ Posterity’ from Artforum

Challenging, hilarious, wonderfully shocking and always thought-provoking, Other Stuff in another superbly engaging and entertaining book from a brilliantly inspired social commentator and inquisitor; impassioned, deeply involved and never afraid to admit when he’s confused, angry or just plain wrong. This wonderful use of heart, smarts and ink is one more reason why cartooning is the most potent mode of expression we possess.
© 2013 Peter Bagge, except as noted on the strips themselves. All rights reserved.

Complete Crumb Comics volume 2: Some More Early Years of Bitter Struggle – New Edition

By Robert Crumb & Charles Crumb, edited by Gary Groth with Robert Fiore (Fantagraphics Books)
ISBN: 978-0-93019-362-1

This book contains controversially clever ideas, outrageously rude drawings, intemperate language, positive drug references and allusions, godless questioning of authority and brilliantly witty, culture-reshaping, personal accounts and opinions.

If you – or those legally responsible for you – might have problems with any of that, please skip this review and don’t buy the book. I’m sure we’ll all know better next time…

Robert Crumb is a unique creative force in the world of cartooning with as many detractors as devotees. His uncompromising, excoriating, neurotically obsessive introspections, pictorial rants and invectives unceasingly picked away at society’s scabs and forever peeked behind forbidden curtains – and all apparently for his own benefit – but he has always happily invited us to share his unwholesome discoveries with anybody with the time and temperament to look…

Way back in 1987 Fantagraphics Books began the nigh-impossible task of collating, collecting and publishing the chronological totality of the tireless artist’s vast output and now, after far too long out-of-print, those engrossing cartoon compendia are being reissued. The earliest volumes have been constantly described as the least commercial but now, with Crumb at last an acknowledged global art-treasure, those volumes are back for your perusal…

The son of a career soldier, Robert Dennis Crumb was born in Philadelphia in 1943 into a functionally broken family. He was one of five kids who all found different ways to escape their parents’ shattering problems, and comics were always paramount amongst them.

As had his older brother Charles, Robert immersed himself in the strips and cartoons of the day; not simply reading but also feverishly, compulsively creating his own. Harvey Kurtzman, Carl Barks and John Stanley were particularly influential, as were newspaper artists like E.C. Segar, Gene Ahern, Rube Goldberg, Bud Fisher, Billy De Beck, George (Sad Sack) Baker and Sidney Smith as well as “straight” illustrators like C.E. Brock and the wildly imaginative, frantically surreal 1930’s Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies animated shorts.

Defensive and introspective, the young Robert pursued art and torturous self-control through religion with equal desperation. His early spiritual repression and flagrant, hubristic celibacy constantly warred with his body’s urgently growing base needs and desires…

Escaping his stormy family, Crumb married young and began working in-house at the American Greeting Cards Company. He also found like minds in the growing hippie and counterculture movements where he discovered LSD. In 1967 he upped sticks to California to become an early star of the burgeoning Underground Commix scene. As such he found plenty of willing “hippie-chicks” eager to assuage his fevered mind and hormonal body whilst he gradually reinvented the very nature of cartooning with such creations as Mr. Natural, Fritz the Cat, Devil Girl and a host of others.

The rest is history – or perhaps, sociology…

The tortured formative years provided meat for the first collection (The Early Years of Bitter Struggle) and those revelations resume right here, right now as the second volume continues the odyssey to acceptance after ‘The Best Location in the Nation…’; a comprehensive reminiscence and introduction from lifelong confidante Marty Pahls who describes the swiftly maturing and deeply unsatisfied Crumb’s jump from unhappy home to the depressing, dispiriting world of work.

‘Little Billy Bean’ (April 1962) reprises the hapless, loveless nebbish of yore whilst ‘Fun with Jim and Mabel’ revisits Crumb’s first bulky, morally-challenged domestic amazon, after which the focus shifts to her diminutive and feeble companion ‘Jim’. Next, an almost fully-realised ‘Fritz the Cat’ finally gets it on in a triptych of saucy soft-core escapades from R. Crumb’s self-generated Arcade mini-comic project.

From this point onwards, the varied and exponentially impressive breadth of Crumb’s output becomes increasingly riddled with his often hard-to-embrace themes and declamatory, potentially offensive visual vocabulary as his strips grope towards the creator’s long-sought personal artistic apotheosis.

His most intimate and disturbing idiosyncrasies regarding sex, women, ethnicity, personal worth and self-expression all start to surface here…

Working in the production department of a vast greetings card company gave the insular Crumb access to new toys and new inspiration as seen in the collection of ‘Roberta Smith, Office Girl’ gag strips from American Greetings Corporation Late News Bulletins (November 1963-April 1964), followed here by another Fritz exploit enigmatically entitled ‘R. Crumb Comics and Stories’ which includes just a soupçon of raunchy cartoon incest, so keep the smelling salts handy…

A beautiful 10-page selection of sketchbook pages comes next and then a burst of black-&-white and full-colour covers: the satirical 1960 election duel of Kennedy and Nixon, an Arcade gag, 13 letters to Pahls and Mike Britt disguised as ‘Farb’ and ‘Note’ front images as well as a brace of Arcade covers and the portentously evocative front for R. Crumb’s Comics and Stories #1 from April 1964.

The rest of this pivotal collection is given over to 31 more superb pages culled from Crumb’s sketchbooks; a vast and varied compilation that ably displays the artist’s incredible virtuosity and proves that – if he had been able to suppress his creative questing – he could easily have settled for a lucrative career in any one of a number of graphic disciplines from illustrator to animator to jobbing comic book hack.

Crumb’s subtle mastery of his art-form and overwhelming drive to expose and reveal his most hidden depths and every perceived defect – in himself and the world around him – has always been an unquenchable fire of challenging comedy and riotous rumination, and this evocative tome is crucial to understand the creative causes, if not the artistic affectations, of this unique craftsman and auteur.

This superb series, charting the perplexing pen-and-ink pilgrim’s progress, is the perfect vehicle to introduce any (over 18) newcomers to the world of grown up comics, and if you need a way in yourself, seek out this and all the other books in this incomparable sequence as soon as conceivably possible…

Art and stories © 1969, 1974, 1988, 1996, 2013 Robert Crumb. All rights reserved. Introduction © 1988 Marty Pahls.

Agent Gates and the Secret Adventures of Devonton Abbey (a Parody)

By Camaren Subhiyah & Kyle Hilton (Andrews McMeel Publishing)
ISBN: 978-1-4494-3434-2

Parody has been a major staple of the comics and cartooning world ever since the days of Hogarth and Cruickshank, so it’s marvellous to see that our colonial cousins are keeping the home fires burning in this sublimely over the top tribute to blockbuster British Television export Downton Abbey, which mingles devastatingly wry observation with outrageously surreal exaggeration to top-hole effect.

I’m not actually a follower or fan of the source material but I know great art and witty writing when I see it, and this supremely daft delight certainly rings both those bells…

The aristocratic Crawhill family has occupied stately Devonton Abbey for centuries and now – in April 1914 – the current Earl Richard is master of a house that consists of his unfortunately American wife Cora, wilful daughters Margaret, Cynthia and Flora. Also firmly in residence is his formidable mother the Dowager Countess Viola; an acid-tongued basilisk who knows all the family’s secrets and is the true ruler of the richly furnished and well-upholstered roost.

Below stairs, although head butler Mr. Larson runs the estate’s affairs, lamed valet and under-butler Jack Gates is also privy to much that goes on and is far more important that most realise…

With the winds of a Great War mustering on the idyllic horizon, unscrupulous German Foreign Minister Gottlieb von Jagow pays a formal visit. The filthy Boche spy and warmonger is well aware that Devonton and its façade of foppish, old-world primness and decadence conceals the clandestine HQ of the British Empire’s Secret Intelligence Service and their exotic super-powered operatives, but has not reckoned on the sheer pluck and determination of the bionic Agent Gates, nor his mysterious handler Agent Hera

Still, all does not goes as anybody planned and the mad Hun expires before disclosing any useful intelligence. The covert operatives continue blithely on preparing for the visit of Austro-Hungarian Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand, unaware that traitors and agents of the Kaiser have penetrated into the very heart of the household.

Lord Richard and Lady Cora are far more concerned with prestige, aristocratic rivalries, maintaining the proper niceties regarding their property and their deucedly useless daughters – all far too wrapped up in their silly “causes” such as animal husbandry, parties, any husbandry, marrying cousins, the estate Petting Zoo, Trousers For Women and such déclassé tosh and taradiddle – to concentrate on the things that truly matter.

Happily above and below stairs Lady Viola and Gates are on the case, ensuring the succession of Devonton and safety of the nation by bringing in new if not actually blue blood…

A touch of Bullshot Crummond, a dash of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and just a hint of Blackadder, not to mention heaping helpings of Richard Hannay and his illustrious True Brit ilk, all served up with lashings of superbly silly hijinx inform this brilliant bash at the award-winning show, with Steampunk plotlines working in perfect tandem with deliriously funny and absurdist stabs and japes involving the perfectly rendered cast of that most proper of serials.

If you love the show enough to see it successfully spoofed or just love outstanding comedy adventure this is a pictorial billet doux to a bygone era that you won’t want to miss…
© 2013 Kyle Hilton and Camaren Subhiyah. All rights reserved.