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.
Comedian Gregg Turkington created the Neil Hamburger persona in the 1990s; a bespectacled, bilious nightclub performer with an impossibly greasy comb-over, a bowtie, and three cocktails tucked under his arm. I first saw him on the talk show Tom Green used to broadcast from his LA home, and it was obvious even then that Turkington was crafting a comedy image on par with Tony Clifton, or Otto & George.
Hamburger is not impressed with the neck and legs of Thora.
No, not Peter Bagge’s HATE. I mean that ’90s comic book you’ve never heard of.
A short-lived little funnybook called DROP DEAD, which any fool could see was inspired by Bagge’s neat stuff. Some kid who called himself Matty Boy Anderson was barely out of high school when he started cranking out copies, and timidly mailing them to review periodicals like Factsheet Five, and cartoonists he admired, such as Bagge, Roy (Trailer Trash) Tompkins, and Evan Dorkin.
It began in 1993, when self-publishing meant a trip to Kinko’s. The black & white interior was cheap to print (and fun to huff), but full-color covers were expensive. So typically an office color-copier was secretly abused for free, someplace prior. With a book stapler, you were all set to collate and fold your comix. This is the way it was done. Plus, not sinking your life savings into a print run left you more open to trading, which is also the way it was done. When you submitted your publication to Factsheet Five, you indicated whether trades were welcome. If you did, you found yourself with quite a “zine” collection, very rapidly.