Alright I did another one, alright?! I’m so damn committed to this idea I squeaked out another one!!!
Now I know how Michael Bay felt after wrapping Transformers 5. Like me, he probably leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head, and sighed “holy shit, now I’ve done that five times.”
Readers who enjoyed the previous four issues of Bands I Useta Like are sure to enjoy this one; it’s the fifth. The word “fifth” looks kinda like “filth”. Speaking of filth; the story of washed-up comedian Tony Fabuloso continues in a five-page story of which I am particularly proud.
This was one of three features that gobbled up the majority of the time “budgeted” for the issue. For some reason Tony’s installments work nicely at five pages. Five pages, five issues, five bucks. No wonder I go off the rails every time I commit to a major project.
As teased on social media, aging newspaper cartoonist Shelly Softballz is making his long-awaited reappearance. Older men are often more interesting to draw and write for. That’s my excuse for the preponderance of bitter old dudes in my comics. Old guys can be brazenly and unapologetically ugly, which is fun to draw.
Sometime in 2017, I decided to confront my anxieties by rendering them as full-page illustrations that depict the sensation to the best of my abilities. I found that when I did this, I gained power over the anxiety in a small but potent way. This became a series, which I titled “Ugly In The Morning”. In keeping with magazine tradition, you get a big wad of it in this issue, then maybe there’ll be more down the road (see also my jail serial, “Sick On The Inside”, from #1).
If you like vomit, there are numerous drawings of it within this volume, in a tale from my childhood about seasickness in the Florida Keys. If you don’t like vomit, at least appreciate how well I drew it.
I studied old copies of CRAZY magazine to get the look of the book just right. Mike Carlin’s “Spurious George” was an excellent example of how to draw a book in 2-D, on a comic page. It was perfect for “Phrases That Confused Me As A Child”:
You can’t see it as clearly in these images, but this is the magazine for which I ordered the DELETER tone sheets from Japan. On the printed page, it looks amazing, like a humor magazine should. In their heyday, humor magazines like MAD used Zipatone sheets. It printed more evenly than a gray wash, which was typically the other method of establishing gradients. Many artists came from advertising agencies in the 1970s, and brought with them snazzier tools of the trade than simple inks and brushes. I assure you, the issue is nowhere near this crushingly boring.
I mean, there’s a sort of Animal Farm for teeth.
That’s exciting, right? Dental allegory?
Well, just in case it isn’t, there’s plenty of other stuff in #5, too. There’s a barbarian fantasy from the faraway dimension of 1998, fast food in army fatigues with automatic weapons, and the most recent year of the comic strip, too. On the back cover is a teaser for something that didn’t make press time, but will undoubtedly bow in a future issue. Like #6, for example.
If you’re in or near Atlanta on May 5th, I’ll be appearing at Criminal Records in Little 5 Points for Free Comic Book Day. J.P. Kittens, author of the Select Your Destiny© novels, will be there too, and we’ll have a sneak preview of a game you won’t want to stop playing. Seriously, I got to test it and I wanted to keep going after we were done. We have Meddler Squad stickers and bookmarks for lucky fans, plus the new Dantheist Cookbook.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.