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Sean T. Collins has written about comics and popular culture professionally since 2001 and on this very blog since 2003. He has written for Maxim, The Comics Journal, Stuff, Wizard, A&F Quarterly, Comic Book Resources, Giant, ToyFare, The Onion, The Comics Reporter and more. His comics have been published by Top Shelf, Partyka, and Family Style. He blogs here and at Robot 6.

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Murder

An anthology of comics written by Sean T. Collins
Art by Matt Wiegle, Matt Rota, and Josiah Leighton
Designed by Matt Wiegle


Elfworld

An indie fantasy anthology
Featuring a comic by Sean T. Collins & Matt Wiegle



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The Sean Collins Media Empire
Comics
Destructor Comes to Croc Town
story: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


1995 (NSFW)
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Raymond Suzuhara


Pornography
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


It Brought Me Some Peace of Mind
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota
edit: Brett Warnock


A Real Gentle Knife
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Josiah Leighton
lyrics: "Rippin Kittin" by Golden Boy & Miss Kittin


The Real Killers Are Still Out There
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


Destructor in: Prison Break
story: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


Cage Variations: Kitchen Sink
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota


Cage Variations: 1998 High Street
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota


Cage Variations: We Had No Idea
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota


The Side Effects of the Cocaine
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Isaac Moylan
(bibliography)


Cage Variations: No
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota



Best Of
The Amazing! Incredible! Uncanny Oral History of Marvel Comics

The Outbreak: An Autobiographical Horror Blog

Where the Monsters Go: A 31-Day Horrorblogging Marathon, October 2003

Blog of Blood: A Marathon Examination of Clive Barker's Books of Blood, October 2005

The Blogslinger: Blogging Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, October-November 2007

The Things That Should Not Be: The Monumental Horror-Image and Its Relation to the Contemporary Horror Film (introduction)
PDF

My 35 Favorite Horror Films of All Time (at the moment)

My David Bowie Sketchbook

The Manly Movie Mamajama

Presidential Milkshakes

Horror and Certainty I

Horror and Certainty II

En Garde--I'll Let You Try My New Dumb Avant Garde Style, Part I
Part II

Evil for Thee, Not Me

Phobophobia

The 7 Best Horror Movies of the Past 7 Years (give or take a few films)

Keep Horror NSFW, Part I
Part II

Meet the New Boss: The Politics of Killing, Part I
Part II

130 Things I Loved About The Sopranos

In Defense of "Torture Porn," Part I
Part II

At a Loss: Lost fandom and its discontents

I Got Dem Ol' Konfuzin' Event-Komik Blues Again, Mama

Losing My Edge (DFADDTF Comix Remix)

GusGus, the Universe, and Everything

"I'd Rather Die Than Give You Control" (or Adolf Hitler, Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, and Trent Reznor walk into a blog)

The 11 Most Awful Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks

The 11 Most Awesome Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks

11 More Awesome Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks

The 15 Greatest Science Fiction-Based Pop/Rock/Hip-Hop Songs

My Loch Ness Adventure

The Best Comics of 2003

The Best Albums of 2003

The Best Albums of 2004

The Best Comics of 2005

The Best Comics of 2006

The Best Comics, Films, Albums, Songs, and Television Programs of 2007

The Best Comics of 2008

The Best Comics of 2009

The Best Songs of 2009

80 Great Tracks from the 1990s


Interviews with Sean
Interviews by Sean
Movie Reviews
Avatar (Cameron, 2009)

Barton Fink (Coen, 1991)

Batman Begins (Nolan, 2005)

Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Alcala/Rose, 2007)

Battlestar Galactica: "Revelations" (Rymer, 2008)

Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 (Moore et al, 2009)

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (Olmos, 2009)

Beowulf (Zemeckis, 2007)

The Birds (Hitchcock, 1963)

The Blair Witch Project (Myrick & Sanchez, 1999)

The Bourne Identity (Liman, 2002)

The Bourne Supremacy (Greengrass, 2004)

The Bourne Ultimatum (Greengrass, 2007)

Casino Royale (Campbell, 2006)

Caprica: "Pilot" (Reiner, 2009)

Caprica S1 E1-6 (Moore et al, 2010)

Children of Men (Cuaron, 2006)

Cigarette Burns (Carpenter, 2005)

Clash of the Titans (Leterrier, 2010)

Cloverfield (Reeves, 2008), Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Crank: High Voltage (Neveldine/Taylor, 2009)

Daredevil (Johnson, 2003)

The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008)

Dawn of the Dead (Snyder, 2004)

Della'morte, Dell'amore [Cemetery Man] (Soavi, 1994)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl: The Play (Eckerling & Sunde, 2010)

District 9 (Blomkamp, 2009)

Doomsday (Marshall, 2008)

Dragon Wars [D-War] (Shim, 2007)

Eastern Promises (Cronenberg, 2007)

The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973)

The Expendables (Stallone, 2010)

Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick, 1999)

Eyes Wide Shut revisited, Part I
Part II
Part III

Garden State (Braff, 2004)

Gossip Girl Seasons 1-2 (Savage, Schwartz et al, 2007-08)

Gossip Girl Season Three (Savage, Schwartz et al, 2009-2010)

Grindhouse [Planet Terror/Death Proof] (Rodriguez & Tarantino, 2007)

Heavenly Creatures (Jackson, 1994)

Hellboy (Del Toro, 2004)

Hellraiser (Barker, 1987)

A History of Violence (Cronenberg, 2005), Part I
Part II

The Host (Bong, 2006)

Hostel (Roth, 2005)

Hostel: Part II (Roth, 2007)

Hulk (Lee, 2003)

The Hurt Locker (Bigelow, 2009)

I Am Legend (Lawrence, 2007)

The Incredible Hulk (Leterrier, 2008)

Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009)

Inside (Maury & Bustillo, 2007)

Iron Man (Favreau, 2008)

Iron Man II (Favreau, 2010)

It (Wallace, 1990)

Jeepers Creepers (Salva, 2001)

King Kong (Jackson, 2005), Part I
Part II
Part III

Land of the Dead (Romero, 2005)

Let the Right One In (Alfredson, 2008)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Jackson, 2003)

Lost: the first five episodes (Abrams, Lindelof et al, 2004)

Lost Season Five (Lindelof, Cuse, Bender et al, 2009)

Lost Season Six (Lindelof, Cuse, Bender et al, 2010)

Lost Highway (Lynch, 1997)

The Lovely Bones (Jackson, 2009)

Match Point (Allen, 2006)

The Matrix Revolutions (Wachowski, 2003)

Metropolis (Lang, 1927)

The Mist (Darabont, 2007), Part I
Part II

Moon (Jones, 2009)

Mulholland Drive (Lynch, 2001)

My Bloody Valentine 3D (Lussier, 2009)

The Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange #1 (various, 2010)

Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968)

Pan's Labyrinth (Del Toro, 2006)

Paperhouse (Rose, 1988)

Paranormal Activity (Peli, 2009)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Verbinski, 2007) Part I
Part II

Poltergeist (Hooper/Spielberg, 1982)

Quantum of Solace (Forster, 2008)

Rambo (Stallone, 2008)

[REC] (Balaguero & Plaza, 2007)

The Ring (Verbinski, 2002)

The Road (Hillcoat, 2009)

The Ruins (Smith, 2008)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Wright, 2010)

Secretary (Shainberg, 2002)

A Serious Man (Coen, 2009)

The Shining (Kubrick, 1980)

Shoot 'Em Up (Davis, 2007)

Shutter Island (Scorses, 2010)

The Silence of the Lambs (Demme, 1991)

The Sopranos (Chase et al, 1999-2007)

Speed Racer (Wachowski, 2008)

The Stand (Garris, 1994), Part I
Part II

The Terminator (Cameron, 1984) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1991)

Terminator Salvation (McG, 2009)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Hooper, 1974)

There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007)

The Thing (Carpenter, 1983)

300 (Snyder, 2007)

"Thriller" (Jackson & Landis, 1984)

28 Days Later (Boyle, 2002)

28 Weeks Later (Fresnadillo, 2007)Part I
Part II

Twilight (Hardwicke, 2008)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Slade, 2010)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Weitz, 2009)

Up in the Air (J. Reitman, 2009)

War of the Worlds (Spielberg, 2005)

Watchmen (Snyder, 2009) Part I
Part II

The Wicker Man (Hardy, 1973)

The Wire (Simon et al, 2002-2008)

Zombi 2 [Zombie] (Fulci, 1980)

Zombieland (Fleischer, 2009)


Book Reviews
Music Reviews
Comics Reviews
Abe Sapien: The Drowning (Mignola & Alexander, 2008)

Abstract Comics (various, 2009)

The ACME Novelty Library #18 (Ware, 2007)

The ACME Novelty Library #19 (Ware, 2008)

Across the Universe: The DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore (Moore et al, 2003)

Action Comics #870 (Johns & Frank, 2008)

The Adventures of Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls (Herge, 1975)

Afrodisiac (Rugg & Maruca, 2010)

Against Pain (Rege Jr., 2008)

Agents of Atlas #10 (Parker, Hardman, Rivoche, 2009)

The Airy Tales (Volozova, 2008)

Al Burian Goes to Hell (Burian, 1993)

Alan's War (Guibert, 2008)

Alex Robinson's Lower Regions (Robinson, 2007)

Aline and the Others (Delisle, 2006)

All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 (Miller & Lee, 2009)

All-Star Superman (Morrison & Quitely, 2008-2010)

American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar (Pekar et al, 2003)

An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories (Brunetti et al, 2006)

An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories Vol. 2 (Brunetti et al, 2008)

Aqua Leung Vol. 1 (Smith & Maybury, 2008)

Archaeology (McShane, 2009)

The Arrival (Tan, 2006)

Artichoke Tales (Kelso, 2010)

Asterios Polyp (Mazzucchelli, 2009)

The Aviary (Tanner, 2007)

The Awake Field (Rege Jr., 2006)

Axe Cop (Nicolle & Nicolle, 2009-2010)

Bacter-Area (Keith Jones, 2005)

Bald Knob (Hankiewicz, 2007)

Batman (Simmons, 2007)

Batman #664-669, 672-675 (Morrison et al, 2007-2008)

Batman #681 (Morrison & Daniel, 2008)

Batman and the Monster Men (Wagner, 2006)

Batman and Robin #1 (Morrison & Quitely, 2009)

Batman and Robin #9 (Morrison & Stewart, 2010)

Batman: Hush (Loeb & Lee, 2002-03)

Batman: Knightfall Part One: Broken Bat (Dixon, Moench, Aparo, Balent, Breyfogle, Nolan, 1993)

Batman R.I.P. (Morrison, Daniel, Garbett, 2010)

Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight (Cosentino, 2008)

Batman Year 100 (Pope, 2007)

Battlestack Galacti-crap (Chippendale, 2005)

The Beast Mother (Davis, 2006)

The Best American Comics 2006 (A.E. Moore, Pekar et al, 2006)

The Best of the Spirit (Eisner, 2005)

Between Four Walls/The Room (Mattotti, 2003)

Big Questions #10 (Nilsen, 2007)

Big Questions #11: Sweetness and Light (Nilsen, 2008)

Big Questions #12: A Young Crow's Guide to Hunting (Nilsen, 2009)

Big Questions #13: A House That Floats (Nilsen, 2009)

Big Questions #14: Title and Deed (Nilsen, 2010)

The Black Diamond Detective Agency (E. Campbell & Mitchell, 2007)

Black Ghost Apple Factory (Tinder, 2006)

Black Hole (Burns, 2005) Giant Magazine version

Black Hole (Burns, 2005) Savage Critics version, Part I
Part II

Blackest Night #0-2 (Johns & Reis, 2009)

Blankets (Thompson, 2003)

Blankets revisited

Blar (Weing, 2005)

Bone (Smith, 2005)

Bonus ? Comics (Huizenga, 2009)

The Book of Genesis Illustrated (Crumb, 2009)

Bottomless Bellybutton (Shaw, 2008)

Boy's Club (Furie, 2006)

Boy's Club 2 (Furie, 2008)

Boy's Club 3 (Furie, 2009)

B.P.R.D. Vol. 9: 1946 (Mignola, Dysart, Azaceta, 2008)

B.P.R.D.: War on Frogs #4 (Arcudi & Snejbjerg, 2009)

Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! (Spiegelman, 2008)

Brilliantly Ham-fisted (Neely, 2008)

Burma Chronicles (Delisle, 2008)

Capacity (Ellsworth, 2008)

Captain America (Brubaker, Epting, Perkins et al, 2004-2008)

Captain America #33-34 (Brubaker & Epting, 2007-08)

Captain America: Reborn #4 (Brubaker & Hitch, 2009)

Captain Britain & MI:13 #5 (Cornell & Oliffe, 2008)

Cartoon Dialectics Vol. 1 (Kaczynski, 2007)

Chance in Hell (G. Hernandez, 2007)

Chester 5000 XYV (Fink, 2008-2009)

Chrome Fetus Comics #7 (Rickheit, 2009)

City-Hunter Magazine #1 (C.F., 2009)

Clive Barker's Seduth (Barker, Monfette, Rodriguez, Zone, 2009)

Clive Barker's The Thief of Always (Oprisko & Hernandez, 2005)

Closed Caption Comics #8 (various, 2009)

Cockbone (Simmons, 2009)

Cold Heat #1 (BJ & Santoro, 2006)

Cold Heat #2 (BJ & Santoro, 2006)

Cold Heat #4 (BJ & Santoro, 2007)

Cold Heat #5/6 (BJ & Santoro, 2009)

Cold Heat #7/8 (BJ & Santoro, 2009)

Cold Heat Special #2: The Chunky Gnars (Cornwell, 2007)

Cold Heat Special #3 (Santoro & Shaw, 2008)

Cold Heat Special #5 (Santoro & Smith, 2008)

Cold Heat Special #6 (Cornwell, 2009)

Cold Heat Special #7 (DeForge, 2009)

Cold Heat Special #8 (Santoro & Milburn, 2008)

Cold Heat Special #9 (Santoro & Milburn, 2009)

Comics Are For Idiots!: Blecky Yuckerella Vol. 3 (Ryan, 2008)

The Complete Persepolis (Satrapi, 2007)

Core of Caligula (C.F., 2008)

Crossing the Empty Quarter and Other Stories (Swain, 2009)

Cry Yourself to Sleep (Tinder, 2006)

Curio Cabinet (Brodowski, 2010)

Cyclone Bill & the Tall Tales (Dougherty, 2006)

Daredevil #103-104 (Brubaker & Lark, 2007-08)

Daredevil #110 (Brubaker, Rucka, Lark, Gaudiano, 2008)

The Dark Knight Strikes Again (Miller & Varley, 2003)

Dark Reign: The List #7--Wolverine (Aaron & Ribic, 2009)

Daybreak Episode Three (Ralph, 2008)

DC Universe #0 (Morrison, Johns et al, 2008)

The Death of Superman (Jurgens et al, 1993)

Death Note Vol. 1 (Ohba & Obata, 2005)

Death Note Vol. 2 (Ohba & Obata, 2005)

Death Trap (Milburn, 2010)

Detective Comics #854-860 (Rucka & Williams III, 2009-2010)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Gloeckner, 2002)

Dirtbags, Mallchicks & Motorbikes (Kiersh, 2009)

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow (Nilsen & Weaver, 2006)

Doom Force #1 (Morrison et al, 1992)

Doomwar #1 (Maberry & Eaton, 2010)

Dr. Seuss Goes to War (Seuss/Minear, 2001)

Dragon Head Vols. 1-5 (Mochizuki, 2005-2007)

A Drifting Life (Tatsumi, 2009)

Driven by Lemons (Cotter, 2009)

Eightball #23 (Clowes, 2004)

Ex Machina Vols. 1-9 (Vaughan, Harris et al, 2005-2010)

Exit Wounds (Modan, 2007)

The Exterminators Vol. 1: Bug Brothers (Oliver & Moore, 2006)

Fallen Angel (Robel, 2006)

Fandancer (Grogan, 2010)

Fatal Faux-Pas (Gaskin, 2008)

FCHS (Delsante & Freire, 2010)

Feeble Minded Funnies/My Best Pet (Milburn/Freibert, 2009)

Fight or Run: Shadow of the Chopper (Huizenga, 2008)

Final Crisis #1 (Morrison & Jones, 2008)

Final Crisis #1-7 (Morrison, Jones, Pacheco, Rudy, Mahnke et al, 2008-2009)

Fires (Mattotti, 1991)

First Time (Sibylline et al, 2009)

Flash: Rebirth #4 (Johns & Van Sciver, 2009)

Follow Me (Moynihan, 2009)

Footnotes in Gaza (Sacco, 2009)

Forbidden Worlds #114: "A Little Fat Nothing Named Herbie!" (O'Shea [Hughes] & Whitney, 1963)

Forlorn Funnies #5 (Hornschemeier, 2004)

Forming (Moynihan, 2009-2010)

Fox Bunny Funny (Hartzell, 2007)

Funny Misshapen Body (Brown, 2009)

Gags (DeForge)

Galactikrap 2 (Chippendale, 2007)

Ganges #2 (Huizenga, 2008)

Ganges #3 (Huizenga, 2009)

Gangsta Rap Posse #1 (Marra, 2009)

The Gigantic Robot (Gauld, 2009)

Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life (Paley & Swain, 2009)

A God Somewhere (Arcudi & Snejbjerg, 2010)

Goddess Head (Shaw, 2006)

The Goddess of War, Vol. 1 (Weinstein, 2008)

GoGo Monster (Matsumoto, 2009)

The Goon Vols. 0-2 (Powell, 2003-2004)

Green Lantern #43-51 (Johns, Mahnke, Benes, 2009-2010)

Held Sinister (Stechschulte, 2009)

Hellboy Junior (Mignola, Wray et al, 2004)

Hellboy Vol. 8: Darkness Calls (Mignola & Fegredo, 2008)

Henry & Glenn Forever (Neely et al, 2010)

High Moon Vol. 1 (Gallaher & Ellis, 2009)

Ho! (Brunetti, 2009)

How We Sleep (Davis, 2006)

I Killed Adolf Hitler (Jason, 2007)

I Live Here (Kirshner, MacKinnon, Shoebridge, Simons et al, 2008)

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! (Hanks, Karasik, 2007)

Image United #1 (Kirkman, Liefeld et al, 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist #12 (Brubaker, Fraction, Aja, Kano, Pulido, 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist #21 (Swierczynski & Green, 2008)

Immortal Weapons #1 (Aaron, Swierczynski et al, 2009)

In a Land of Magic (Simmons, 2009)

In the Flesh: Stories (Shadmi, 2009)

Incanto (Santoro, 2006)

Incredible Change-Bots (Brown, 2007)

The Incredible Hercules #114-115 (Pak, Van Lente, Pham, 2008)

Inkweed (Wright, 2008)

Invincible Vols. 1-9 (Kirkman, Walker, Ottley, 2003-2008)

Invincible Iron Man #1-4 (Fraction & Larroca, 2008)

Invincible Iron Man #8 (Fraction & Larroca, 2008)

Invincible Iron Man #19 (Fraction & Larroca, 2009)

It Was the War of the Trenches (Tardi, 2010)

It's Sexy When People Know Your Name (Hannawalt, 2007)

Jessica Farm Vol. 1 (Simmons, 2008)

Jin & Jam #1 (Jo, 2009)

JLA Classified: Ultramarine Corps (Morrison & McGuinness, 2002)

Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer (Katchor, 1996)

Jumbly Junkery #8-9 (Nichols, 2009-2010)

Just a Man #1 (Mitchell & White, 2009)

Justice League: The New Frontier Special (Cooke, Bone, Bullock, 2008)

Keeping Two (Crane, 2001-)

Kick-Ass #1-4 (Millar & Romita Jr., 2008)

Kid Eternity (Morrison & Fegredo, 1991)

Kill Your Boyfriend (Morrison & Bond, 1995)

King-Cat Comics and Stories #69 (Porcellino, 2008)

Kramers Ergot 4 (Harkham et al, 2003)

Kramers Ergot 5 (Harkham et al, 2004)

Kramers Ergot 6 (Harkham et al, 2006)

Kramers Ergot 7 (Harkham et al, 2008)

The Lagoon (Carre, 2008)

The Last Call Vol. 1 (Lolos, 2007)

The Last Lonely Saturday (Crane, 2000)

The Last Musketeer (Jason, 2008)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier (Moore & O'Neill, 2007)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 3: Century #1: 1910 (Moore & O'Neill, 2009)

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga (Levitz, Giffen, Mahlstedt, Bruning, 1991)

Little Things (Brown, 2008)

Look Out!! Monsters #1 (Grogan, 2008)

Lose #1-2 (DeForge, 2009-2010)

Lost Kisses #9 & 10 (Mitchell, 2009)

Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 (Los Bros Hernandez, 2008)

Low Moon (Jason, 2009)

The Mage's Tower (Milburn, 2008)

Maggots (Chippendale, 2007)

The Man with the Getaway Face (Cooke, 2010)

Mattie & Dodi (Davis, 2006)

McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13 (Ware et al, 2004)

Mercury (Larson, 2010)

Mesmo Delivery (Grampa, 2008)

Micrographica (French, 2007)

Mister Wonderful (Clowes, 2007-2008)

Mome Vol. 4: Spring/Summer 2006 (various, 2006)

Mome Vol. 9: Fall 2007 (various, 2007)

Mome Vol. 10: Winter/Spring 2008 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 11: Summer 2008 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 12: Fall 2008 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 13: Winter 2009 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 14: Spring 2009 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 15: Summer 2009 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 16: Fall 2009 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 17: Winter 2010 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 18: Spring 2010 (various, 2010)

Mome Vol. 19: Summer 2010 (various, 2010)

Monkey & Spoon (Lia, 2004)

Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby (Nemoto, 2008)

Monsters (Dahl, 2009)

Monsters & Condiments (Wiegle, 2009)

Monstrosity Mini (Diaz, 2010)

Mother, Come Home (Hornschemeier, 2003)

The Mourning Star Vols. 1 & 2 (Strzepek, 2006 & 2009)

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 (Petersen, 2008)

Mr. Cellar's Attic (Freibert, 2010)

Multiforce (Brinkman, 2009)

Multiple Warheads #1 (Graham, 2007)

My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Heatley, 2008)

The Mystery of Woolverine Woo-Bait (Coleman, 2004)

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vols. 1-3 (Urasawa, 2006)

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vols. 4-5 (Urasawa, 2006)

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vols. 6-18 (Urasawa, 2006-2008)

Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vols. 1-3 (Urasawa, 2009)

Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vols. 4 & 5 (Urasawa, 2009)

Neely Covers Comics to Give You the Creeps! (Neely, 2010)

Neighbourhood Sacrifice (Davidson, DeForge, Gill, 2009)

Never Ending Summer (Cole, 2004)

Never Learn Anything from History (Beaton, 2009)

Neverland (Kiersh, 2008)

New Avengers #44 (Bendis & Tan, 2008)

New Construction #2 (Huizenga, May, Zettwoch, 2008)

New Engineering (Yokoyama, 2007)

New Painting and Drawing (Jones, 2008)

New X-Men Vol. 6: Planet X (Morrison & Jimenez, 2004)

New X-Men Vol. 7: Here Comes Tomorrow (Morrison & Silvestri, 2004)

Nicolas (Girard, 2008)

Night Business #1 & 2 (Marra, 2008 & 2009)

Night Business #3 (Marra, 2010)

Nil: A Land Beyond Belief (Turner, 2007)

Ninja (Chippendale, 2006)

Nocturnal Conspiracies (David B., 2008)

not simple (Ono, 2010)

The Numbers of the Beasts (Cheng, 2010)

Ojingogo (Forsythe, 2008)

Olde Tales Vol. II (Milburn, 2007)

One Model Nation (Taylor, Leitch, Rugg, Porter, 2009)

Or Else #5 (Huizenga, 2008)

The Other Side #1-2 (Aaron & Stewart, 2005)

Owly Vol. 4: A Time to Be Brave (Runton, 2007)

Owly Vol. 5: Tiny Tales (Runton, 2008)

Paper Blog Update Supplemental Postcard Set Sticker Pack (Nilsen, 2009)

Paradise Kiss Vols. 1-5 (Yazawa, 2002-2004)

The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack (Gurewitch, 2009)

Peter's Muscle (DeForge, 2010)

Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days (Columbia, 2009)

Pixu I (Ba, Cloonan, Lolos, Moon, 2008)

Pizzeria Kamikaze (Keret & A. Hanuka, 2006)

Plague Hero (Adebimpe, 2009)

Planetary Book 3: Leaving the 20th Century (Ellis & Cassaday, 2005)

Planetes Vols. 1-3 (Yukimura, 2003-2004)

The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Eisner, 2005)

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Vols. 1-3 (Urasawa, Nagasaki, Tezuka, 2009)

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Vols. 1-8 (Urasawa, Nagasaki, Tezuka, 2009-2010)

Pocket Full of Rain and Other Stories (Jason, 2008)

pood #1 (various, 2010)

Powr Mastrs Vol. 1 (C.F., 2007)

Powr Mastrs Vol. 2 (C.F., 2008)

Prison Pit: Book 1 (Ryan, 2009)

Prison Pit: Book 2 (Ryan, 2010)

Real Stuff (Eichhorn et al, 2004)

Red Riding Hood Redux (Krug, 2009)

Refresh, Refresh (Novgorodoff, Ponsoldt, Pierce, 2009)

Remake (Abrams, 2009)

Reykjavik (Rehr, 2009)

Ronin (Miller, 1984)

Rumbling Chapter Two (Huizenga, 2009)

The San Francisco Panorama Comics Section (various, 2010)

Scott Pilgrim Full-Colour Odds & Ends 2008 (O'Malley, 2008)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (O'Malley, 2007)

Scott Piglrim Vol. 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe (O'Malley, 2009)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour (O'Malley, 2010)

Second Thoughts (Asker, 2009)

Service Industry (Bak, 2007)

Set to Sea (Weing, 2010)

Seven Soldiers of Victory Vols. 1-4 (Morrison et al, 2004)

Shenzhen (Delisle, 2008)

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (Hickman & Weaver, 2010)

Shitbeams on the Loose #2 (various, 2010)

Show Off (Burrier, 2009)

Siege (Bendis & Coipel, 2010)

Siberia (Maslov, 2008)

Skim (Tamaki & Tamaki, 2008)

Skyscrapers of the Midwest (Cotter, 2008)

Skyscrapers of the Midwest #4 (Cotter, 2007)

Sleeper Car (Ellsworth, 2009)

Sloe Black (DeForge)

Slow Storm (Novgorodoff, 2008)

Snake 'n' Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret (Kupperman, 2000)

Snake Oil #5: Wolf (Forsman, 2009)

Snow Time (Krug, 2010)

Solanin (Asano, 2008)

Soldier X #1-8 (Macan & Kordey, 2002-2003)

Speak of the Devil (G. Hernandez, 2008)

Spider-Man: Fever #1 (McCarthy, 2010)

Split Lip Vol. 1 (Costello et al, 2009)

Squadron Supreme (Gruenwald et al, 1986)

The Squirrel Machine (Rickheit, 2009)

Stay Away from Other People (Hannawalt, 2008)

Storeyville (Santoro, 2007)

Strangeways: Murder Moon (Maxwell, Garagna, Gervasio, Jok, 2008)

Studio Visit (McShane, 2010)

Stuffed! (Eichler & Bertozzi, 2009)

Sulk Vol. 1: Bighead & Friends (J. Brown, 2009)

Sulk Vol. 2: Deadly Awesome (J. Brown, 2009)

Sulk Vol. 3: The Kind of Strength That Comes from Madness (Brown, 2009)

Superman #677-680 (Robinson & Guedes, 2008)

Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 (Sadowski et al, 2009)

Sweet Tooth #1 (Lemire, 2009)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4 (Kupperman, 2008)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5 (Kupperman, 2009)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6 (Kupperman, 2010)

Tales of Woodsman Pete (Carre, 2006)

Tekkon Kinkreet: Black and White (Matsumoto, 2007)

Teratoid Heights (Brinkman, 2003) ADDTF version

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They Moved My Bowl (Barsotti, 2007)

Thor: Ages of Thunder (Fraction, Zircher, Evans, 2008)

Three Shadows (Pedrosa, 2008)

Tokyo Tribes Vols. 1 & 2 (Inoue, 2005)

Top 10: The Forty-Niners (Moore & Ha, 2005)

Travel (Yokoyama, 2008)

Trigger #1 (Bertino, 2010)

The Troll King (Karlsson, 2010)

Two Eyes of the Beautiful (Smith, 2010)

Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 (Millar & Pacheco, 2009)

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 (Bendis & LaFuente, 2009)

Ultimate Spider-Man #131 (Bendis & Immonen, 2009)

The Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite (Way & Ba, 2008)

Uptight #3 (Crane, 2009)

Wally Gropius (Hensley, 2010)

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Water Baby (R. Campbell, 2008)

Weathercraft (Woodring, 2010)

Werewolves of Montpellier (Jason, 2010)

Wednesday Comics #1 (various, 2009)

West Coast Blues (Tardi & Manchette, 2009)

Wet Moon, Book 1: Feeble Wanderings (Campbell, 2004)

Wet Moon, Book 2: Unseen Feet (Campbell, 2006)

Weird Schmeird #2 (Smith, 2010)

What Had Happened Was... (Collardey, 2009)

Where Demented Wented (Hayes, 2008)

Where's Waldo? The Fantastic Journey (Handford, 2007)

Whiskey Jack & Kid Coyote Meet the King of Stink (Cheng, 2009)

Wiegle for Tarzan (Wiegle, 2010)

Wilson (Clowes, 2010)

The Winter Men (Lewis & Leon, 2010)

The Witness (Hob, 2008)

Wormdye (Espey, 2008)

Worms #4 (Mitchell & Traub, 2009)

Worn Tuff Elbow (Marc Bell, 2004)

The Would-Be Bridegrooms (Cheng, 2007)

XO #5 (Mitchell & Gardner, 2009)

You Are There (Forest & Tardi, 2009)

You'll Never Know Book One: A Good and Decent Man (Tyler, 2009)

Young Lions (Larmee, 2010)

Your Disease Spread Quick (Neely, 2008)

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KEEP COMICS EVIL


I CAN HAS COMIX?: Johnny Ryan (Attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat)

July 6, 2008

I CAN HAS COMIX?: Johnny Ryan

[Editor's note: This is part of a series of interviews I'll be posting that were rescued from WizardUniverse.com's now-defunct archives. Originally posted on August 3, 2007.]

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I CAN HAS COMIX?: JOHNNY RYAN
The most controversial man in humor comics talks his upcoming Marvel project, racism, boogers and what it's like to work for both 'Nickelodeon' and 'Hustler'

By Sean T. Collins

The first thing you need to know about Johnny Ryan is that his comics will make you laugh out loud. Hard. Embarrassingly. To the point of distraction for your co-workers. The second thing you need to know about Johnny Ryan is that his comics will make you gasp "Oh my God" and "Holy sh--!" just as loud, hard, embarrassingly and distractingly. The third thing you need to know about Johnny Ryan is that both of these things will probably happen at the same time.

In his signature series Angry Youth Comix, his gross-out humor strip Blecky Yuckerella and his no-holds-barred parody collection The Comic Book Holocaust, Ryan has conducted a one-man jihad against good taste and unfunny funnybooks the likes of which comics has rarely seen before. He combines a pottymouthed penchant for bodily fluids that would delight a 9-year-old with a willingness to violate social taboos about sex, violence, race, religion and gender that makes Dave Chappelle look like Bill Cosby, all drawn in a style reminiscent of something you'd find in Alfred E. Neuman's bookshelf (or bathroom). And ever since signing with Fantagraphics--publisher of Dan Clowes and Love and Rockets--he's been one of the most divisive figures in the alternative comics scene.

With the 13th issue of Angry Youth Comix and the third AYC collection, aptly titled Johnny Ryan's XXX Scumbag Party, hitting stores over the past two weeks, Ryan got up bright and early to dish on the secret inspiration for his craziest characters, the lines he'd never cross and the comics creators who just can't stand him.

WIZARD: First of all, thanks for getting up early in the morning to talk to me.

RYAN: That's okay. I'm up early in the morning every day anyway.

Judging by your comics, it seems like you'd be the type of guy recovering from a massive, massive hangover until about 4 in the afternoon every day.

RYAN: You'd be surprised. I have a pretty nerdy lifestyle. I'm not the party animal that I make myself out to be in the comic. [Laughs]

Yeah, we were wondering around the office what you'd be like: whether you would be reserved and it all comes out in your comics, or whether you were like Harvey Pekar and what you see is what you get.

RYAN: A year or two ago at the San Diego convention, Tom Spurgeon was saying that there were several people who had come up to him at the convention and said, "Do you know what was a really big surprise? It was how normal Johnny Ryan actually seems in person." They expected me to be sitting in my own sh-- and throwing toilet paper and bottles and things at people like I'm some kind of maniac.

Is comics pretty much your only outlet for that side of your personality, to the extent that you have it?

RYAN: I would assume so. I'm a pretty law-abiding citizen. [Laughs]

Speaking of San Diego, I first read your Angry Youth Comix collection Portajohnny there the year it came out. Up until then I'd pretty much thought that funny comic books were an urban myth; I really couldn't think of a time when I had laughed out loud at a comic. I picked up Portajohnny from the Fantagraphics table, sat down to eat lunch, started reading it, and I was just dying. I was laughing out loud, which was unheard of for me.

RYAN: Well, that's good to hear.

I've seen several other interviewers say much the same thing to you. What do you think it is that you're doing right that gets that response from people?

RYAN: Gosh, I don't know. I mean, I always approach my work trying to, I guess, make myself laugh. I'm trying to amuse myself and come up with crazy ideas that amuse me. As a writer of humor, I guess you want that. You want what makes you laugh to make other people laugh. That's the hope. It's just a roll of the dice, and hopefully it'll work.

I know that you're a big fan of Peter Bagge's Hate--when you first decided that this was something you wanted to do, what else was making you laugh at the time?

RYAN: That's a good question. When I first started out I wasn't really reading Hate very much, but probably the Robert Crumb stuff from like the late '60s, early '70s. I really think that nothing can top that as far as amazing, out-of-control humor, especially with the sketchbook stuff. I had picked up one of those German sketchbooks that I think was his work from 1967 to 1970 and it just blew me away how much fun and how crazy it was. When I saw that I was like, "This is what I want to do. I want to do comics that are like this." That was the inspiration.

Beyond comics, are there comedians or films that influenced you?

RYAN: Oh, sure. The Three Stooges. I'm a big fan of the Three Stooges. Those Hal Roach "Our Gang" shows are great. "The Benny Hill Show" was a big influence on me. [Laughs] That's some of them. I also used to read Mad Magazine a lot as a kid. I think that was a big influence as far as parodying and making fun of stuff, which doesn't really happen very much anymore, or at least in comics anyway.

I think that's maybe one of the reasons why Angry Youth Comix took me so much by surprise.

RYAN: I mean, the humor scene in comics is just rough. It's not really--I'm not just saying that because there's slim pickings as far as humor goes, but at least to me it doesn't seem like something that's really welcome anymore. The alternative comics scene seems as if it's concerned with being very literary and high-minded. They have these literary aspirations. They want to be regarded as a high art form, and I guess they…the overall feeling of the whole comics thing with humor, or at least the kind of humor that I'm doing, kinds of brings that down. I'm not going to get that interview on NPR or whatever.

I've definitely heard Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson crow fairly proudly that people will come to him and say, "I like everything that you guys do except Johnny Ryan."

RYAN: [Laughs] Yeah. The thing is, though, that I think it's sort of cooled off. When I first got picked up by them it was pretty overwhelming, the negative reception that I was receiving from comics--or at least from Fantagraphics--fans. It wasn't personal; I wasn't getting letters. But just the reviews and looking on message boards or whatever, the vibe I was getting was negative. I do have to say that I think it's slowly turning around. I feel like because of the time passing, people are a little bit more accepting that I'm a bit more of a staple in the comics scene than I was initially.

Judging simply from the back-cover blurbs on your books, it seems like even if the readers of art comics, or whatever you want to call them, were slow to embrace you, you made fans of the people who actually make those comics pretty quickly.

RYAN: Some of them. I mean, it's not an across-the-board statement, but there are some that are fans of mine and appreciate it. They see what I'm doing and appreciate it.

Do you know who likes you and who doesn't?

RYAN: Well, usually the people that I've communicated with over the years. Gary Panter--I'm a big fan of his and I know that he likes my stuff. Dan Clowes has already been very supportive. The Hernandez brothers. Peter Bagge, of course. I mean, I get the feeling that I'm not on the Top 10 list of Art Spiegelman or Chris Ware or Seth for that matter. Usually, though--and this is probably even true for me--if you don't like someone's stuff, you just don't pay attention to it or comment on it, because you just don't want to get into it. I can usually get the feeling [from people]. I actually asked Eric [Reynolds, Fantagraphics editor] to see if Seth would be interested in doing the introduction to XXX and he turned me down. I thought that it would be kind of funny to mix it up. I said that he could say whatever he wanted, but no.

You did that strip that parodies him.

RYAN: It was sort of inspired by his lifestyle, I guess. [Laughs] And I had heard that he does a slideshow where he shows my comic and talks about how people keep asking him about it and sending him the comic and wanting him to comment on it, and he continues to claim that he's never read it. I heard that after he shows the slide he throws the slide in the garbage. He has this whole thing. I was like, "Well, how about I let you do the introduction to my book? I think that would be kind of funny." It's sort of like when [Dave] Chappelle had Wayne Brady on. He just said, "No. It's not a right fit for me."

You've done a lot of parody work, from superheroes to classic strips to alternative comics. Have you had any other reactions like Seth's, or on the flipside, really positive reactions? How do you feel about that sort of thing? If you get the sense that someone doesn't like what you're doing, does that make you feel good or bad?

RYAN: Well, it depends, I guess. [To answer] the first part of your question there, I had only heard about the whole thing with Seth's slideshow and stuff second- and third-hand. I've never actually seen it and I don't know what, exactly, he says. As far as people approaching me who had a bad reaction, the only people who have reacted to what I've done as far as if I do a parody of them are people that I probably already knew previously and was friendly with, like Peter Bagge or Rick Altergott or Dan Clowes. Dan Clowes actually told me that he didn't think his was mean enough. [Laughs] So it's people that I either already knew or I was already friendly with. As far as people that I didn't know, I never got an unsolicited response from someone that I didn't know who just wrote, "Hey, I just saw your parody of me. You're an assh---" or "I loved it" or whatever. I was getting some people asking me, "Hey, will you parody me?" or "I was very disappointed to see that you didn't do me." So there was that.

And how do you feel when you hear or see someone's outrage about what you've done? Does that feel like a badge of honor or does it make you uncomfortable?

RYAN: It can vary from person to person. It depends. Like, if I was a big huge fan of someone and I find out that they hate me, I guess that my reaction will be, "That's kind of disappointing." But in a way, it kind of frees me up. In a way it's easier, if you don't know the person and aren't friendly with them, to totally slam them. [Laughs] So it's actually a little bit more difficult if I was somewhat friendly with them. If I do find out that someone doesn't like my work or what I'm doing, that almost encourages me to continue. If people make fun of you, you should just kind of wear it, and that way they'll stop.

I saw that Back in Bleck has negative back-cover blurbs.

RYAN: Yeah. I think that out of all of the stuff that I've done, that might be receiving the worst reviews, and for some reason I just thought that it was funny to put those on the back. It didn't just seem like they were bad reviews. It seemed like those people were enraged. [Laughs]

I'm surprised that you haven't gotten even more flack along those lines. I'm not just talking about Seth being upset at you making fun of how old-fashioned he is. A lot of your work is fairly transgressive humor, with racial elements and sexual elements…

RYAN: There've been little things here or there, but nothing that's been really crazy. I think that's just because I'm doing an underground comic, basically. If this was on TV or if this was on the radio I would probably be hearing a lot more negative comments, but this is comics. I only sell a couple thousand copies of it, and because of that I'm not really going to get the same kind of attention that those other mediums get.

Do you ever worry that there will be some sort of fluke situation like the Gordon Lee case, where a retailer accidentally gave a copy of a Nick Bertozzi comic to a kid and there was nudity in it and now he's been taken to court? Not so much that you have a national forum like Don Imus or something, but that maybe it'll get into the wrong hands and someone might choose to make an issue out of it?

RYAN: Well, I guess that's just a bridge that you'd have to cross when you come to it. I just see myself as an artist. I'm a cartoonist. I'm drawing what I think is funny and saying what I want to say in my comics. I'm just putting them out there, and as far as who gets them, I don't really have any control over that. I guess that I would feel bad, and I would hope that stores would realize that this is adult material. I'm not making it for kids.

A title like Johnny Ryan's XXX Scumbag Party will probably help out.

RYAN: Yeah. That's for the kids. They'll definitely be like, "I have to read this thing." [Laughs]

That's maybe the best comic book title that I've ever read.

RYAN: Oh, thanks. I initially wanted to call it Let's Be Assh---s, but Eric said that we would have distribution problems. I'm hoping that maybe within the next 10 years or so things will get a little bit more liberal and I'll be able to use that title.

I always find that sort of thing funny. When we run interviews with people who curse, we have a style as to how we abbreviate sh-- or f--- or whatever. It reminds me of how when you say "assh---" on television, they bleep out the word "hole," but you can say "ass." It's interesting to me that the actual "hole" is the offensive part.

RYAN: Depending on what channel you're watching and what show you're watching…I was watching that Kathy Griffin show last night and she was at the Gay Porn Awards, and I was amazed at what they were getting away with. It was like "up the ass" and "dick"...I thought, "Wow."

I guess it's about context. Speaking of which, I believe XXX Scumbag Party is the first big Johnny Ryan release in the post-Imus, post-Opie and Anthony era. Thinking about it in that light, there are some people who can do really edgy stuff and more or less get away with it-- Sarah Silverman, Dave Chappelle, "South Park"--and other people can't--Imus, O&A. I was wondering if you have any thoughts on why that is.

RYAN: I'm not really sure. I guess that it has a lot to do with whether or not people like you. [Laughs] Or if someone has a bug up their ass against you and is willing to fill out the forms and bring you down. But there's more to being funny than just cursing and using racism and all of that sort of thing. I think that you still have to be creative about it and come up with a funny joke about it and not just say "sh--" and "g--k" or whatever and think that people are going to laugh at it.

I think that's one of the things that's undersold about your work: There's all the dirty stuff, obviously, but it's also so weird. A strip will start in one way and then it'll end up being about something completely different. There's a fairly epic example of that in XXX Scumbag Party: the strip called "Dry Gulch Follies 2005," which starts with Sinus O'Gynus getting a babysitting job and ends with a gigantic robot prostitute giving the moon a sexually transmitted disease.

RYAN: I think that's one of the things that makes comics fun for me, and I guess it's also just a part of my sense of humor. It's that surreal element to my work. It's sort of nonsense that I find funny, where it starts somewhere and who knows where it's going to go and what kind of characters you're going to meet and what weirdness is going to happen?

The quality of the art in your stuff also doesn't get talked about enough. I went through the three Angry Youth Comix collections and the two Blecky Yuckerella books, I was just watching the progression of your line as it thickens and gets more and more lush and more self-assured. It's really lovely.

RYAN: Well, that's something that I'm actually pretty proud of, as far as where I began. If you look in the back of the Portajohnny book, there's a really early Loady McGee comic that I drew in 1992 or '93, and you look at how retarded it looks. It looks like I drew it with a pen in my ass or something. And how I moved from then to now--I'm always trying to improve and get better. I'm not always really sure exactly where I'm going; I just know that I want it to look clean and cartoony. I always feel like I'm practicing and trying to improve and get better all the time. I never really feel like, "Oh, this is exactly where I want to be."

If you had to pinpoint one person as an influence for your artistic style as opposed to your comedic style, who would it be?

RYAN: Gosh, one person for my style. I'm not really sure. I mean, I want to say a cartoony style like Ernie Bushmiller or Al Jaffee. For the most part I would say that. But as far as the actual content, that would be Robert Crumb.

I guess that style helps you bridge several different worlds, because you've obviously done clean, all-ages humor comics for Nickelodeon Magazine and things like that. How hard is shifting those gears in your head?

RYAN: It's not really hard at all. With my comics I'm doing exactly what I want to do with the stories that I want to tell and all of that, but for Nickelodeon, they're hiring me to do a job. When you're doing stuff for kids, they like that same kind of vibe that my comic has as far as the weirdness and the nonsense and the goofball aspects of it. That same sort of spirit I put into the comics for kids; it's just not sex or violence. It's like Christmas and pizza and boogers and barf. That's sort of what kids like, and I just bring that over into the kid world. Even when I do my comics for adults I think that there's still that same childish spirit that I bring to it, but instead of those things that kids are interested in, I do stuff that's more for the adults.

Have you been working long enough that you've had kids come up to you who started reading your things at Nickelodeon and then moved on to--

RYAN: No, I haven't. [Laughs] I haven't experienced that crossover yet with the Nickelodeon fans. I'm assuming that kids are enjoying what I'm doing in Nickelodeon Magazine. That's what I'm being told, but I've never received any comments from kids personally that say, "Hey, I've been reading your stuff in Nickelodeon and I love seeing your stuff in there." I haven't experienced that yet.

Are you looking forward to it?

RYAN: Oh, I mean, it's always nice to hear if someone likes your work or not, whoever it is, unless they're a total assh---. Then it's kind of depressing.

There doesn't seem to be any kind of self-censoring mechanism in your work. While that's true of several other cartoonists I can think of--Crumb is a good example, obviously, or someone like Joe Matt doing comics about his porn collection--for the most part they tend to be geared inward at themselves.

RYAN: Well, that's an interesting point that you bring up, because you're bringing up two autobio comics artists, for the most part. At least the later Crumb years are mostly autobio stuff, and that's a real prevalent genre right now. People are always talking about their lives, and it almost seems like a competition between all these autobio artists to reveal the most humiliating and degrading and embarrassing thing that they can in their life. It seems more about that than "Okay, I want to tell a story and make it compelling and interesting and funny." For me, I don't feel like I'm trying to do that same kind of confessional-type thing. I feel like I'm just trying to make people laugh. But I also don't want to do any self-censoring because there's things that make me laugh and that I think make other people laugh, but they're ashamed to let other people, or the majority of Americans, know about it. "If everyone knew the horrible, awful things that I laugh at, they'd be disgusted with me. I laughed at someone farting, so people will look at me like an idiot or a fool." Or whatever sort of transgressive or disturbing piece of humor. So I try not to censor myself in that way. That was the whole point of the Comic Book Holocaust book. I was going to put down whatever popped into my head, no matter how horrible it was. As long as I just thought that it was funny to me I was going to put it down, no matter how disturbing or horrible other people thought that it was. That was the whole point of that.

In some ways, it reminds of driving in your car and singing along to some horribly misogynistic and violent hip-hop song.

RYAN: True.

And you're dropping N-words and B-words and cussing left and right and talking about killing undercover policemen.

RYAN: Or the latest G.G. Allin record.

That's another good comparison. But at the same time you and I are both raised-Catholic, white, straight, American guys, and we have it pretty easy compared to a lot of the groups lampooned in your comics.

RYAN: Right. Well, the thing is that I see myself basically as a comedian making jokes. I don't have some sort of political agenda as far as, like, I'm making fun of black people because they're stupid and they shouldn't have the same rights as white people. I'm not standing on a soapbox here. I'm just making jokes and trying to elicit laughter. I think that people have the ability to laugh at horrible things and yet still not go out and murder people, not be influenced to kill and discriminate and be an awful person. I'm not going to cause people to be horrible, awful people. If they're already horrible and awful, it's not me that's going to inspire them.

So in your view, you're not a racist or misogynist or a homophobe or any of those things?

RYAN: I don't think so. I mean, those are usually terms that…I think if someone feels that I'm a racist or a misogynist, that's their right to think so. Personally, I don't think that I am.

You say that you don't have a reactionary political agenda, but on the flipside, would you also say that you don't have the agenda pointing that stuff out to make fun of it or lessen its power?

RYAN: No. I don't think that I have that agenda either, as far as "I'm going to use the word n----- over and over again until the word has no meaning" or something like that. I think that the word is always going to pretty much have some meaning. You can't get rid of it. It's always going to be there. That's sort of the point of using it, because it's so jarring. I like to incorporate that troublemaking aspect into my humor. For some reason it's exciting for me, when I'm drawing my comic, to think, "What can I do to really get people?" I try to use that shock element, I guess. Usually people use that as a derogatory term when dealing with movies or with any kind of art, but I think that it does have its place if used correctly.

There's something exciting about it.

RYAN: Sure. Growing up as a teenager and watching a lot of those exploitation movies from the '70s, I always thought those were really exciting and oftentimes more exciting than a lot of the mainstream stuff that they were showing. I wanted to use those kinds of elements in my work. It's fun. It's the same for the Surrealists from the early part of the last century. They were using a lot of that imagery just to really jar and shock people. For some reason it just makes the work exciting for me if I know that this is going to make people a little bit uneasy.

Do you feel like you've ever gone too far in that direction?

RYAN: If I have, I can't think of any point. There have been moments when my wife has gone, "I don't know about that." [Laughs] Sometimes I listen, and other times I'm like, "F--- it. I've got this gut feeling that I need to follow this through."

In terms of a politicized reaction to your stuff, have you gotten a harder time from conservatives or liberals, or is that anything you've even noticed?

RYAN: Maybe from liberals more. I don't know the statistics on this, but I think that's because most people that read alternative comics are more of the liberal outlook, so I'm mostly hearing a lot of stuff from liberals. The more liberal and literary bookworms they are, the more they dislike my stuff. And the racism and all of that stuff usually makes them uneasy. Sometimes I'll even get a positive review, like recently in The Comics Journal I got a pretty good review for The Comic Book Holocaust, but they were still mentioning how uneasy the racist stuff made them. I think that it's more the liberals who get more uneasy about it.

I think the first context in which I heard of your work before I'd read it was the reaction to the "Gaytroit" strip, where a gay Captain America-type character kills terrorists using his "AIDS Breath."

RYAN: Right. Well, that pretty much went nowhere. They were going on and on about how they were going to boycott Fantagraphics and they were going to picket, they were really going to go crazy and bring the whole company down until I was punished, and they were going to call GLAAD and all of this other stuff. It eventually just became nothing. They were pretty much calling me "the No. 1 Homophobe in Comics" or something like that, and I think that there's a lot worse examples than me. Like those Preacher comics. Have you ever read that thing? I was amazed. When I read it I was like, "Whoever wrote this is obviously gay." But it was written where all of the bad guys were gay and wanted to rape everything. It was sort of amazing that they were going to pick me over this guy. Gimme a break.

You've created several memorable characters. The first that come to mind are Sinus O'Gynus and Loady McGee, the stars of Angry Youth Comix. I've always wondered if they were your stab at like a "Beavis and Butt-Head" thing.

RYAN: No. When I came up with these characters it was little bit before "Beavis and Butt-Head." "Beavis and Butt-Head" came on and I was like, "Ah, sh--. They're stealing all of my jokes." I've since come to really like that cartoon, but I think that the dynamic is different. Mine is sort of the jerk and the wimp, whereas "Beavis and Butt-Head" is two jerks. [Laughs] Loady is a jerk and a bully and Sinus just kind of takes it. Plus, Beavis and Butt-Head are just stupid and they're always laughing and they seem to be having a good time. Loady is like always on a mission and is always in some kind of rage. And that's not to say that either me or "Beavis and Butt-Head" are the first to do the duo-type cartoons.

Were they based on anything, or were they conjured out of the ether of your brain?

RYAN: Everything comes from something, but I guess it's a sort of combination of different elements. Loady McGee came from a couple of different things. I guess it's a sort of combination of Butch from "The Little Rascals" and Vivian from "The Young Ones" and this kid that I went to high school with who had the worst acne that I've ever seen in my life. Sinus came from another kid that I went to high school with. I think that was just sort of my inner wimp too, or something--I don't know. [Laughs] The physical attributes of Sinus came from this kid that I went to high school with.

Next up is Blecky Yuckerella, who's your spoof of a "children's strip" character. You can see the roots of that with Little Lulu and Nancy and things like that.

RYAN: That actually came directly from this comic that I found at some comic stand in Seattle called The Little Monsters. I just picked it up and I saw this cover. It was some Gold Key comic, and the Little Monsters were these two boy and girl little Frankensteins. On the cover were these two little Frankenstein dudes, and in the back was a really mean-looking little girl. It was kind of like Blecky, with the curly blond hair and the little girl suit and the shoes and whatever, but she had a five o'clock shadow and a mono-brow. I was like, "Oh, my God, this looks like it could be the most amazing character that I've ever seen." So I bought the comic and I read it. I was kind of disappointed to find out that the story was about this midget mobster who wants to go into hiding, so he dresses up like a little girl and goes hide with the little monsters. I was like, "Oh, this isn't like some sort of transvestite-child type thing?" I thought I had to incorporate this into my work and do something with it, and create this transvestite monster child that actually has more of an upbeat attitude. That's kind of where it came from.

I can see how it not being a transvestite child would be an enormous disappointment.

RYAN: Yeah. I was sort of like, "Oh, my God. This is the most amazing character I've ever seen--and in a Gold Key comic!" So, yeah, I was sort of disappointed.

I guess she's mostly appeared in Vice Magazine, correct?

RYAN: Well, I initially started the script for the Portland Mercury. They asked me to come up with a strip, and I had this character and I thought, "Ah, I'll give it a shot." I was in the Portland Mercury with that strip for 4 years before they f---ing dropped me, pretty unceremoniously, for some new strip that is absolutely horrible, which added insult to injury. I would then color them and they would reprint them in Vice, but I've since stopped running them in Vice. I'm doing other projects for Vice. They have me do these full one-page things instead now.

How is your working relationship with them, as opposed to your working relationship with Mad or Nickelodeon or things like that?

RYAN: Well, Nickelodeon is definitely the best as far as working. [Nick's] Chris Duffy is the best editor. He's very easy to work with. I've worked with, like you said, Mad, and I've done stuff for Hustler and National Geographic Kids, but I feel like he gets my humor and he likes my humor and I have a real place in the magazine now. Vice is good too. They've always been pretty supportive of my stuff. But I have to say that our relationship is a little bit more contentious because we're always arguing about stuff.

About what? Content?

RYAN: God. It's retarded, the things that we're yelling at each other about. Well, they did that all-comics issue last year [which I guest-edited], and that was kind of a headache. It was just sort of like they wanted certain cartoonists in there, and I was like, "I don't want those people in there." It was just this back and forth. And a few years ago I was asked to do a one-page comic for the American Indian-themed issue. I asked the editor what the rules were and he said, "No penises and no Nazis." So I drew a comic called "Chief Sitting Bullsh-- vs. Nazi Penis." And they didn't run it. [Laughs] For the most part, though, they've always been good. Because they have Vice in the U.S. and they're spreading out and now each country has its own Vice, I've been doing comics for all of these other countries, for all the other Vice magazines. I think it started when there was a Vice France and they asked me to do a comic that totally insulted the French people, so I did a page of gags that were insulting to the French. All of a sudden it started this avalanche of all these other countries being like, "Oh, do us!" So I had to do one for Italy. I had to do one for Spain. Then I had Germany on the line, and they were like, "Ah, forget it." That would've been like the easiest one to hammer out.

Yeah. You kind of know exactly where to go with the Germans.

RYAN: I think there's stuff there that you can't make fun of. In the French one I was making of fun of them with stuff like them being f---ed in the ass by Hitler and things like that. That's okay in France. But I don't think that you can even show a picture of Hitler in Germany.

Angry Youth Comix #13 and XXX Scumbag Party just hit stores over the past two weeks. What's the next thing that you have coming out?

RYAN: Right now, today, I'm working on this thing--Marvel Comics is starting this Marvel Underground series, and I'm sure you know that they have underground artists doing their take on different Marvel characters. I did a couple of pages for that. I'm working on that right now.

That was probably going to be my last question, given our readership. Obviously, a lot of the stuff that eventually ended up in Comic Book Holocaust took aim at Marvel's material. I was wondering if you ever heard from Marvel about that.

RYAN: No, I didn't. Someone else recently interviewed me specifically about this underground Marvel thing, and I even mentioned The Comic Book Holocaust and how I'd done the parodies of the different characters, and I never heard anything. The editor of this particular series is Aubrey Sitterson, and he seems like a young guy who's just starting out there. He's a fan of mine, where I don't know how the old guard feels about that stuff. When I worked with him previous to this on that Stan Lee Meets thing--they did this whole series of tributes about Stan Lee and I did something for that. And he knew about the Mad Magazine where I had done a strip called "The Fantastic Four Has a Crap-Tastic Couple of Weeks" a while back. And even at that point he was saying, "Don't let the other guys see that you did that or send up any of that art, because they don't want to see that." I don't know if he's keeping that stuff from them or what, I don't know what's going on over there, but as far as he goes, he likes my stuff and he wants me to do some work, so that's fine with me.

Am I blowing your cover here, then?

RYAN: Who cares? [Laughs]

Comments (2)

Tom Spurgeon:

The exact same arc of 1) intense negative reaction, 2) grudging acceptance, 3) appreciation happened to Rick Altergott about 7-8 years earlier.


Except Johnny has more farts and boogers.


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