Dear Graphix Enthusiasts,
When I was little I sought happiness in beautiful objects like comic books because I couldn't relate to the people around me. In my teens I found people with shared interests and philosophies. Looking back, maybe I should have just stuck with with books and art. What is a creative product but the very best parts of a person distilled into an object? It's like a hologram of your soul or something less fruity. I invite all of you VICE readers to make friends with some good books this week and ditch your human relationships. Become a weirdo loner like the one I am transforming into. I have been making a little fort out of blankets and the stacks of books I'm supposed to review. You don't have to make a fort out of comics like I have, but if you do, try not to fall asleep in it or you risk being buried alive.
Moebius's death is still fucking up everybody's ability to be happy, or it should be. We lost one of the greatest artists of our time and instead of passing into obscurity he became more relevant every day.
Here's a fan letter that Fellini wrote to Moebius.
I posted a link to some drawings done in honor of his passing last week but there are more over here at BD Fugue.
Also, here's a neat comic that Wally Wood did in which he drew what Peanuts would be like if the characters acted like real children.
Also also, this week we have a contest in which two people will win movie posters drawn by Johnny Ryan. The poster is pictured above and there were only 100 printed. You can buy them here if you want one and don't care about contests.
If you want to be one of the winners draw an X-rated version of Hell, post it to Flickr and and leave a link to it in the comments of this column. I'll post the best ones next week in this column and pick two winners from that. This is not an official contest sanctioned by VICE. I, Nick Gazin, am doing this on my own volition with no support whatsoever. Other than that, there are no rules to this contest.
In lesser news, I would like to buy a copy of All Star Comics #2 for under $1,000. Would you like to sell this comic to me? Please leave your price and email in the comments.
MoCCA Fest 2012 is fast approaching. This is the tenth anniversary. I've gone every year since its inception. I think back to being 18 at this thing and how awesome and exciting everything seemed. I was so fucking stoked just to meet James Kochalka and Farel Dalrymple. Now I wouldn't piss on those guys if they were on fire in a toilet. I'm so disaffected. Still love MoCCA though, now and forever.
My final piece of comics gossip is that Gary Panter and Devin Flynn are doing light shows in Detroit. Be on the lookout for these.
Garbage Pail Kids
I received this book as I was on my way out to get a sandwich. So, I brought it with me to the deli. The girl at the deli who takes sandwich orders is named Ina. She's a short lady who came to America from Bangladesh in 1994. I asked her if she'd heard of the Garbage Pail Kids before and showed her the book. While flipping through it she said,"These were popular with children in the 80s? That's funny because those kids all grew up to look like these cards."
We were all the kid on the wrappers of GPK cards with the mushroom cloud coming out of his brain, because every time we'd opened these things up, the images inside would blow our mind. GPK offered horribly mutilated and grotesque children, but they were cute and smiling. They enjoyed being gross, being eaten, being tortured, being killed. The original card is a parody of a Cabbage Patch Kid and the side of the made-up doll's packaging has a garbage man tossing a GP Kid into the back of a garbage truck as it cries out "Mama!"
It's upsetting that the Garbage Pail Kids are gruesome and it's made even more upsetting that they have happy and compliant dispositions. The third thing that's upsetting about these cards is a little less obvious and might just be something that upsets me. Most of the cards don't have detailed backgrounds. The background will be a color and there'll be an accent color that makes them appear to be radiating light. It makes them more like dreams, figures stepping out of darkness into view, existing in a void. The glowing effect and airbrush gradient is surprisingly disturbing by itself.
This book is great. It could potentially contain more information about the story of their creation, popularity, and controversial nature, but I guess that can be saved for a book about the complete history of Topps non-sports trading cards and weird novelty candy.
This book presents the painted images from the front of every Garbage Pail Kid in the first five series, which were released in 1985 and 1986. There's also a prologue by Art Spiegelman who was involved in the creation of the cards and at the back of the book is an epilogue by John Pound, who painted all the cards that appear in this book. Art's intro tells a summarized explanation of the creation of the cards, Pound does the same. Neither really get into the weird or interesting stuff I want to know, like when Mark Newgarden went to the premier of the GPK movie in Times Square and homeless people were sleeping in the theater. I would have liked to see Mark Newgarden contribute some of his memories to this book. He was a vital player in the Garbage Pail game.
If you haven't seen it before, here's an interview I did with Mark years ago for VICE. It's mostly about his awesome collection of things.
The design on this book is exactly right. The dust jacket is the same thin waxy paper the cards were packaged in and underneath the actual cover there's a photo of that sharp, brittle gum that could cut your cheeks. On the back there's a photo of a shattered piece of gum. Trading cards are so unpopular/expensive these days and food packaging is so much more careful that it's funny to think of a time where you would put something into your mouth that had been resting against cheap newsprint cardboard for God knows how long.
The cards are all printed about three times their original size on pretty, glossy paper and in the inside back cover has four GPK stickers for you to take and stick on things. The book's a good size, has a nice heft but isn't heavy. The weight and feel of a book are an important quality that some reviewers don't go into but your physical relationship to a book as an object is an important. Garbage Pail Kids cards weren't just images, they were one of the few items that very young kids could own and carry around. What the fuck do you own when you're four or five? Not much. But in the 80s you could feel the joy of property ownership with comics or cards because they were so cheap your parents wouldn't care if you lost them. I enjoyed taking it to the deli and showing it off to the Muslim girl who takes my sandwich orders and refuses to dance with me. Maybe you can use it to impress the women who you interact with too, or maybe just terrify some four year olds.
Well that's this week's "Comic Book Love-In" column. See you next week unless I get run over or have amnesia!
Previously – Comic Book Love-In #52