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Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-In #27

Hey Comic Book Likers,How has your week been so far? Mine's going fine.
Nick Gazin
Κείμενο Nick Gazin
4.8.11

Hey Comic Book Likers,

How has your week been so far? Mine's going fine.

Fantagraphics recently announced that they will be reproducing books from EC's legendary horror comics archive. Each volume will feature the work of a specific artist. If you're a huge Wally Wood fan you can just stare at his slickness or at Jack Davis's wrinkles. Stare and stare and obsess and withdraw further from normal society…

Fantagraphics will also be releasing all the issues of ZAP Comix in a two volume slipcase deal. That is huge news. My eyeballs are drooling just thinking about it.

Everyone seems pretty psyched about this new Spider-Man movie, but I am suspect. In this new incarnation, Peter Parker is less of a typical nerd and more of an outcast. It seems to draw a lot of inspiration from the very successful but also unabashedly shitty Ultimate Spider-Man comic. For those unfamiliar with it, Ultimate Spider-Man was a corny, updated retelling of the Spider-Man story in which Peter Parker has this jagged haircut and smirks a lot while constantly referencing cell phones and the internet. When out of touch writers try to update shit they always reference technology and current chart-topping music acts. I don't think we need another Spider-Man movie so soon, but it'll probably be a hit.

Black Mass Five
Patrick Kyle
Mother Books

The last issue of Black Mass involved fairies possessing the body of the main character, Turdswallo Blackteef, and making him super punk. It ended with TB heading to the big punk off at Punk House. It was a real cliffhanger.

Patrick Kyle's comics take place in a dimension where everything is kind of puffy and everyone talks funny. Explaining the plot is a little pointless since the joy largely comes from the ridiculous dialogue and bizarre visual concepts that Kyle invents. Talking about punk points and treating punk like it's a defined competitive activity were some of my favorite things to do when I was neck deep in the scene.

I remember one time after a show at Tompkins a fairly tame riot broke out and some guy was talking shit about Hot Topic. I high-fived him, and as our two fives made contact I said, “Oh yeah, Hot Topic is the best." He looked all mad and said, “What?! No! Fuck that place!" I pointed at his Invader Zim shirt and said, “There's no way you didn't get this at Hot Topic." He got even more flustered and admitted it was true, but also that he bought it on sale. I told him, "Buying shit at Hot Topic loses you five punk points." He didn't like that. “Punk points!? There's no such thing as punk points!" I told him that questioning punk points lost him five more punk points. Fucking with humorless people is always the punkest thing you can do. It is punk amendment No. 04.

So Turdswallo's wandering the streets as a zombie drone controlled by two fairies. When he sees some other punk this floppy phallic syringe emerges from his mouth and jabs the guy, sucking up all his punk points.

We also see the occupants of Punk House arguing over dumb shit. For instance, it is revealed that one of them is drinking Coors, which is not at all punk, so they toss him in a big sack as he admits that he loves the taste of it. Meanwhile, Turdswallo's friend and roommate talk to Turdswallo Junior about punk like it's some secret order of wizards. The book climaxes with hordes of punks entering Punk House for the big punk off, to be concluded or, I hope, continued in the next issue. I was hoping so hard that I went straight to Patrick Kyle to ask him things.

VICE: I kind of thought we were going to see the punk off in this issue. You don't do any pre-planning for your comics, do you?
Patrick Kyle: I don't work from any preliminary material, and I've stopped penciling my pages for the most part. I like things to be immediate and not removed from something preconceived like a script or a storyboard. It's easier for me to look at one of the previous pages and sit down and draw aimlessly until I've come up with what happens next. This certainly affects the overall narrative. I've been struggling to keep everything together while trying to keeping my enjoyment level high. If I have too much of a preliminary idea, banging it all out starts to feel like a chore. It's becoming a little bit different now that I'm nearing the end of a story arc. I would feel bad if it ended up being anticlimactic, so I am trying to figure out an ending that will be fun for me and interesting to read.

Are we finally going to see the punk off in the next issue? Are you afraid it might not live up to people's expectations?
Yes, the punk off is in the next issue. It starts immediately. I had drawn about eight pages or so for Issue 6, and was reading through them when I realized that the punk off didn't live up to my expectations. I had to go back and draw this big spread of all these punks going crazy and hurling beer cans around. I'm still not sure whether it will live up to other people's expectations. As I said, I really just make it all up as I go, and the punk off ends kind of fast.

I think this is the best issue of Black Mass yet. How do you feel about it?
I like it. I think my favorite one is Issue 3 though.

Where do you see your career going? Do you foresee a paperback collection of your Turdswallo comics?
I'm not really sure where I'm headed right now. I have all of these roles I want to be filling—illustrator, fine artist, comic book artist, and publisher—but I can't really get my head around any of them right now.
Once I finish Issue 6 I am definitely planning to collect all the issues of Black Mass into one volume. I'm probably going to end up self-publishing it. I have a lot of ideas about how I'm going to do that and how it's going to look, so it's kind of affecting the production of the last issue. I need to be more focused and less negative.

Is Dingball human or some kind of duck thing?
I don't know what you're talking about. All of the characters in my comics are human.

Complex
Chris Kuzma
In some dystopian future or alternate universe there's a wormy little man who wants to go to some big sex party/club but doesn't have enough credits so he travels to the basement of the massive complex he exists in and meets some odd being who surrounds him and grants him powers before sending him out on a quest. It's great.

See you in a week, Internet Readers.

NICK GAZIN