It's called 'Tony's Theme'!
I can look at the sun
If you give me some bad sunglasses
I'm back on the road"
--The Pixies, "Tony's Theme"
Thanks for letting me take graduation week off, everyone. I had a lot of fun, got some good stuff done, and I've come back bearing treasures.
I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets is one of the most astounding comic books I've ever read. Not the best-- not by a long shot --but astounding in the literal sense. The fact that it was written, drawn, published, and collected staggers the mind; the comics within seem so strange and otherworldly that it's hard to believe they ever existed.
Fletcher Hanks was a drunk, a moonshiner, and a manic-depressive bastard who, despite having some decent artistic talent (the comic reproduces a nature sketch of some ducks that he did) turned his ambitions towards crude, insane superhero comics in the 1930's, at the dawn of the American comics industry. Like a lot of outsider artists-- Darger especially comes to mind, although Hanks's work is nowhere near as beautiful --there's this incredibly primal energy to his work, this pure drive by someone trying to tell stories and make up fantasies when they don't have the best grip on how the real world functions to begin with.
|Jesus, that comic looks the way that Black Sabbath sounds.|
|I'm sorry, did you think I was making that up?|
Seriously-- I cannot put into words how mad and beautiful this thing is. 50,000 panthers are unleashed on New York. Stardust turns his hand into an octopus so he can grab someone with it. 5 criminals are condensed into one man so that punishing them will be easier.
|Thank you, Stardust the Super Wizard. That makes perfect sense.|
For anyone who's into comics, or into weird, transgressive art, I can't recommend this anthology highly enough. It's a strange, shocking trip-- these are comics that unintentionally accomplish the ugly, shocking beauty that cartoonists like R. Crumb and Spiegelman's early work sought so hard to embody. They're magical and strange and every page is dripping with absurd wonderment and shock. They're incredibly fun, but also get pretty deeply unsettling at times. It's childish wonder and grown-up insanity, all condensed into one technicolor package.