Regis Francis Xavier Philbin, elfin television presenter and former sidekick of Rat Packer Joey Bishop, exited the closed set of our world on July 24th at the tender age of 88. Regis was unique in that he was genuinely beloved by a broad range of people, and was an ebullient, welcome presence on the small screen for literally decades.
I am now in the unique position of confessing that in 1996, I secretly attempted to form a cult around him.
Set the Wayback Machine for 1998. I was at Kinko’s, in the middle of the night, running off copies of Mike The Pod Comix #4 (the blue one).
Those aren’t fonts. I didn’t have a computer. They’re typefaces copied from a book of antique alphabets, then literally cut and pasted. The rest is my own lettering.
The fourth issue was a transitional one. Drop Dead, my “90’s comic book“, concluded in its pages, in lieu of a seventh issue. I reprinted the Liquid Paper Pirates and Squeeky Wheel Gets The Grease strips from FINK, as well as For Whom The Beef Jerks.
Oh, and for the first time ever, I did full frontal, stark raving nudity. (NSFW!!!)
In 1997, electronica duo The Chemical Brothers released their second album, Dig Your Own Hole. It went on to be an extremely popular example of “big beat” music, and is included in numerous “Best Albums of All-Time” lists. I had a copy of the CD in my old car for so long the case turned into shardy shit.
In college, I split-majored, in both graphic design and illustration. I’m a cartoonist, but when I graduated high school, that wasn’t a common part of art-school curriculum. In illustration, I learned the most important aspect of rendering;figure studies. After all, there will never come a time when human anatomical knowledge is unnecessary. The skill to draw any part of the body you inhabit will never hold you back.
However, I was naive in my choice of studies. I was so eager to learn all that I could, I didn’t grasp that graphic design requires the left (analytical) side of the brain, and illustration (creative) requires the right. For a green teen, it was too much; I burned out and then dropped out. I couldn’t jockey back and forth across the hippocampus day after day. While trying to ink the sewer grate for the cover of the second Mike The Pod Comix, I had a psychotic episode and hurled my sketchbook down the dorm hallway.