After founding The Comics Journal, a trade magazine known for its acerbic criticism, in 1976, publishers Gary Groth and Kim Thompson launched their own comics line with the Hernandez brothers’ Love & Rockets in 1981.
The Seattle-based company has not only acted as the link between “underground” and “alternative” comix, but also maintained the classic tradition, publishing snazzy reprints of such cartoon classics as Popeye, Little Nemo, and Prince Valiant along with the work of such modernists as Jules Feiffer, Vaughn Bode, Kim Deitch, and R. Crumb and of alternative stars Peter Bagge and Dan Clowes.
Since the early ’90s Fantagraphics has been bolstering its support of new comics talent like Roberta Gregory, Jim Woodring, Al Columbia, Chris Ware, Joe Sacco, and others with profits from its often innovative line of X-rated Eros comics.Number of View :342
Hapless hero of the wildly popular comic strip that bears his name; white-collar schmo who resembles Bart Simpson in a curiously erect necktie. In 1989, Scott Adams (b. 1957) started drawing cartoons about the rigors and inanities of modern corporate life to kill time during boring meetings at Pacific Bell.
The comics proved Adams’s ticket out of the boardroom and into unexpected stardom; his drawings and observations now appear in three best-selling books (including corporate survival guide, The Dilbert Principle), some 1,200 newspapers, and numberless fluorescent cubicles nationwide.
With keen fellow feeling, Adams riffs on office politics, management-speak, lamebrain bosses, and the generally demeaning experience of mid-level office dwellers. In Dilbert, corporate life is a sort of purgatory; hence the occasional appearance of Phil From Heck, the Prince of Insufficient Light, who takes care of business a little too insignificant for… Continue reading
The spiritual godfather of cyberpunk science fiction, Philip K. Dick wrote more than 40 novels and dozens of short stories that envisioned alternate worlds only barely held together by the plaster and greasepaint of quotidian reality.
A prolific master of ’50s pulp sci-fi, Dick’s first masterpiece was his award-winning alternative history of postwar America, The Man in the High Castle (1962). Propelled by scotch and speed, Dick’s ’60s work involved increasingly fantastic scenarios of looped time, nested hallucinations, unreliable memory, and paranoid despair.
In 1974 the burned-out author experienced a revelatory “divine invasion” sent courtesy of a Vast Active Living Intelligence System, or VALIS. Dick’s novels The Divine Invasions (1981), VALIS (1981), and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer (1982) represent his subsequent attempts to reconcile radical ontological doubt with ethics based on human empathy.
Some of Dick’s more influential works include his 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?… Continue reading
“Preeminent African-American intellectual of our time” according to Henry Louis Gates, Jr. , who joined forces with West at Harvard in 1994, a year after the publication of West’s best-selling Race Matters. The Gates-West union presented, in the words of the The Village Voice, “formidable opposition to Eurocentrists and Afrocentrists alike.”
A paradigmatic public intellectual, West, professor of Afro American studies and the philosophy of religion, has collaborated with bell hooks and Tikkun editor Michael Lerner; he is also honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.
West cuts a singular figure in public life with his Afro, three- piece suits, and desultory mix of impassioned class analysis and preacherly solicitations. Alternately calling himself a “prophetic pragmatist” and “prophetic Marxist” in Race Matters, West heavily criticized middle-class blacks as “decadent” and urged whites to stop “ignoring the psychic pain that racism has inflicted on the urban poor.
” West’s… Continue reading
Chicago cartoonist who debuted in 1986 with Lloyd Llewellyn, a willfully unrealistic comic that reveled in fabulous-’50s retrosnazz. Eightball, Clowes’s 1989 follow-up series, is a hodgepodge of exquisitely drafted stories reflecting his unremitting misanthropy.
“Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron” (from Eightball) was a sadomasochistic nightmare combining Pynchonesque paranoia with fast, furious, and elliptical scene changes. Clowes mocked the legit comics trade (as well as Raw’s coffee table chic) in stories about superhero hack artist Dan Pussey, and assaulted the world at large in such rants as “I Hate You Deeply.”
Along with Peter Bagge, Clowes is alternative comics’ angriest no-longer-young man. Crumb director Terry Zwigoff plans to film his adaptation of Clowes’ new story “Ghost World” later in 1997.Number of View :1054
Racial supremacist and convicted mass murderer championed for antiestablishment shock value by everyone from Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor to newslady Diane Sawyer. The towering figure in serial killer chic, Charles Manson is the subject of the all-time best-selling true-crime book Helter Skelter (1974).
A symbol of the curdled ’60s, Manson was the five-foot, two-inch ex-con founder and leader of the Family, an L.A. acid and orgy commune that ended when, the week of Woodstock in August 1969, a group of his white middle-class followers sneaked into director Roman Polanski’s home and fatally stabbed Sharon Tate, his eight-months-pregnant actress wife, and four of her guests.
The counterculture rhetoric of Manson and his youthful followers during the trial confirmed the country’s worse fears about hippies, with one defendant shouting “Your children will turn against you” as her guilty verdict was read.
Found guilty of ordering the murders (seven in all), Manson… Continue reading
New York comics artist and illustrator whose work first appeared in Fantagraphics Books’s porn line, Eros. After updating the “Tijuana bible” tradition (cheaply printed mid-century cartoon smut) in Atomic Age Truckstop Waitresses (1991), which parodied Twin Peaks and Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, Fingerman’s Skinheads in Love (1992) was a naturalistic and truly erotic punk-sex document.
Skinheads got inside a pair of politically correct skins with lives wallpapered by perfectly captured East Village anarchist graffiti and handbills for imaginary hardcore bands. Fingerman’s next major project was White Like She (Dark Horse, 1994).
In this grammatically corrected update of John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me, a black janitor’s brain is transplanted into a white postpunk female’s head. Fingerman wrote Screwy Squirrel (1995) for Dark Horse before completing his semiautobiographical Minimum Wage (1995).Number of View :2524
“Sourcebook of the Extremes of Information in Print,” which started as a mail-order operation in 1985, and then went retail in 1987 in L.A. Along with its stock of Burroughs, Bowles, and Bataille, Amok stocks intriguing tomes like The Sniper’s Handbook, The Color Atlas of Oral Cancers, and Physical Interrogation Techniques, plus videos ranging from autopsies to Hitler speeches–anything, in fact, to épater le bourgeoisie.
The store added to its notoriety in 1989 by organizing an exhibition of then-convicted serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s chillingly innocent “Pogo the Clown” paintings and Bob Flanagan’s “Nailed” show.
In the ’90s, the Amok aesthetic affected the mainstream book world, most notably Tower Books’ Tower Outpost, which boasts a somewhat similar inventory.
Books published by Amok Press include The Amok Sensurround Journal, an over-sized compendium of twisted treats including information about self-trepanned, mind control and cargo cults, My Sister and I (the alleged final… Continue reading
Moore set out to subvert the costume-hero mythology of his childhood in the Swamp Thing series, Miracleman (1985), V for Vendetta (1988-1989), and most effectively in his 1987 magnum opus, Watchmen.
Moore has largely shied away from superheroics since, collaborating with Bill Sienkiewicz on the Big Numbers series, and his sixteen-part, Eddie Campbell-illustrated take on Jack the Ripper, From Hell (1991).
Outside of the comics frame, Moore has published his unproduced script for From Hell, contributed to The Starry Wisdom, A Tribute to H.P. Lovecraft (which also included essays and stories for J.G. Ballard, William Burroughs and Grant Morrison) and written his own Lovecraft exegisis, Yuggoth Cultures.Number of View :5824
Radio reporter sentenced to death for the murder of a Philadelphia police officer in a 1981 shoot-out that, according to court testimony, occurred when the officer stopped and beat up Abu-Jamal’s brother, William Cook, for a traffic violation. The circumstances of the crime remain hazy, in part because neither Abu-Jamal nor Cook has yet given his version of events.
A former official in the local Black Panther chapter and an outspoken critic of the city’s prosecution of a radical black group called MOVE, Abu-Jamal was hired in 1994 by National Public Radio to do a series of monthly three-minute commentaries about life behind bars for the respected “All Things Considered” nightly news program.
The reports were not to discuss his case, a rallying issue for the left. When police groups and the slain officer’s widow protested, NPR withdrew the assignment (the same pressure later worked on a local Philadelphia station… Continue reading